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Trip Washington DC Washington DC   All of my visits to Washington DC since 2016. Walter C (US)

Washington DC


All of my visits to Washington DC since 2016.

  • 14Jul 2016

    1 Returning to DC 07/14/2016 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    It has been a long time since I have been to Washington DC, more commonly known as either Nation's Capital, or simply DC. I have been there a bunch of times, but not since 2008. Back when I first used a digital camera, joined TB, and the start of the baseball quest, though I did not get to visit Nationals Park. Instead, I made a day trip to Baltimore to visit Camden Yards.

    It has been some time since I traveled anywhere, as I had to work as much as possible, since my job would eventually end a week ago. In other words, I was out of work, and would be for some time. So for the time being, I would do some traveling.

    Getting up really early, I packed up to the last minute. Then took the train to 30th Street station, where I would have to wait about 90 minutes, to get on a Megabus, which would take me to Washington DC. The ride went well for the most part, and it did arrive very close to on-time, at Union Station. Unlike the Philly stop, the one in DC was inside a parking garage, which at least, protected from the elements and the sun. But still, very hot!

    I went into Union Station, and to the Metro, where I would learn about the SmarTrip, which is the updated card system that replaced the old white card. And it was a tap instead of inserting the card at one spot, and coming out at the other side. I would ride the Metro to the current location of the Washington Convention Center. Then walk to the Duo Housing DC hostel, through the intense heat.

    I went inside, and checked in. Then to the room downstairs, where I got settled. Looked around for a bit, and had to put on some sunscreen on myself. Then headed out, walking to a Subway restaurant first, to get some lunch. After that, I stopped by a T-Mobile store, to try to solve this problem with my cell phone, as images were not showing up. But I was told that they could not do anything, since my phone was very old, and instead, recommended me to buy a more updated one. I just left, and headed towards the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site.

    I went in there, to pick up a free, timed ticket. So I had about an hour to kill, and went to the nearby National Portrait Gallery. I did get to visit this place before in 2008, but did not get to spend enough time in it. I would focus only on 1 section, which is America's Presidents. Lately, I did have this interest in visiting the Presidents sites, and hope to visit them all. Hence, the interest in this part of the gallery.

    I would only have time to see the portraits, from George Washington (1st President) to Abraham Lincoln (16th). In the photos, I would post the order that they became President, and their years as President. Ending at Lincoln, this was a fitting end. That was because my timed entry coming up, to Ford's Theatre. So I left, and headed back there. Then entered the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, which consists of 4 parts.

    The first 2 parts was one side of the street, consisting of the museum and Ford's Theatre itself. That was where the assassination of Abraham Lincoln took place, on April 14, 1865. Then he was taken to the Peterson House across the street, which is what I would visit afterwards, the 3rd part. This was where Lincoln was taken to, after being shot. And later died. And the last part was Center for Education and Leadership, which is a museum on the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination. It all ended with a tower of books, all of which, are books about Abe Lincoln.

    After seeing all 4 parts, I had to make sure that I got the NPS stamps. And undecided what to do next, as there were multiple museums open late. I decided to go to the National Museum of Natural History. Getting there was not fun, as I passed by some government buildings. I entered the museum from the back side, and had about 90 minutes to see this place.

    Of course, I would not be able to see the entire museum, so I had to be selective on what to see, and what to cut out. I remember taking day trips to DC when I was really young, and would spend entire days in this museum. And even back then, I could not see it within the entire day. Probably would take me a week to see it all. It has been a long time since I have seen this place, and could see that it has changed a lot. The only part that looked familiar, was the Rotunda with the giant elephant statue.

    I would go through the Hall of Mammals, reminding me of wanting to visit the zoo. And seeing the Hope Diamond, a bunch of skeletons of animals, Egyptian burial artifacts and the Korea Gallery. I would seem through some others, which also looked interesting as well.

    I would end the visit by touring through 2 of the photo galleries, which are temporary exhibitions. Both of them are about wildlife, but to a different theme. One of them was called "Into Africa", which has photos taken by Frans Lanting, on African wildlife. The other was "Nature's Best Photography Presents: Best of the Best", consisting of nature photos from the last 20 years for the Windland Smith Rice International Awards program. This was organized into different categories, from all over the world. They were just really amazing to look, and wished I had more time for it.

    Time ran out, as the museum closed, and I had to leave. I decided to walk back instead of taking the Metro, and would make a quick stop at the Grand Hyatt. I did have memories of this hotel, and wished I could stay here again! But just not willing to spend all that money for one night.

    I went to the same Subway from earlier, for my dinner. Then went back to the hostel, where I took a very much-needed shower. Then relaxed and used the computer. Glad to see some places still have regular computers.

    I would go to bed early, I did feel stuffy in the room. I told the hostel staff, who just tell me that there is only 1 AC that cools the entire building. And I would get to meet some of the roommates, who came from all over the world. Interesting to talk to them, as we are trying to go to sleep. Not sure how long it went, but I did had to get some sleep, as I would get up early the next morning.

    Photos & Videos


  • 15Jul 2016

    2 A Hot and Monumental Day 07/15/2016 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    I would get an early start, getting up before any of the other roommates. And decided to walk to the Washington Monument instead of taking the Metro, thinking it would be a short distance away. As soon as I went outside, I started to sweat immediately.

    Turned out it was farther away than I thought. I was told by the front desk at the hostel, it was 20 minutes away. It turned out to be 35 minutes, even if I ran sometimes. I would arrive there, as I planned to meet May (cotton_foam) there. But I did not find her there. When calling her, it turned out that she was at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. But she would wait for me there, as I would start making my way there.

    Leaving the Washington Monument, which I would skip again, passing by the John Paul Jones Memorial, to the Floral Library. I continued on, walking around the Tidal Basin. I remember doing this walk back in 1997 on a Sunday morning, but forgotten how long it took. As it turned out, it felt like forever. I would arrive at the Jefferson Memorial, where I would meet up with May. We went inside, as I did take a look around the place. This was a memorial to the 3rd President.

    This was our 2nd time meeting, with the first time in 2012 in Los Angeles. That time was very short, and did not get to hang out long enough. We sat inside the Jefferson Memorial for a bit. And she was very nice enough to give me some breakfast food, as I have not eaten anything yet. I ate some, and save others later, some for dinner. Then we left, and started to walk around Tidal Basin, visiting some of the monuments along the way. They would include the following...

    George Mason Memorial
    Frank Delano Roosevelt Memorial
    Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
    Korean War Veterans Memorial
    Lincoln Memorial
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    National World War II Memorial

    Along the way, we would take a little break, to hang out and rest up for a bit. It was just unbelievably hot and humid. Not sure how I keep putting up with it. Then resumed seeing more. After seeing parts of the National World War II Memorial, I would have to leave, hoping to get to make it to the tour for the US Capitol. So we had to part ways, but we would meet up again the next day. Still, I was glad to do this walk, though tough to enjoy in this intense humidity.

    I walked by the Washington Monument, and considered walking all the way to the US Capitol building. But my feet hurt so much, that I hopped on the DC Circulator. This was a separate bus line, taking people to tourist sites along way, and only $1. Whether that was a mistake or not, hard to say. On the one hand, it would go around Tidal Basin before getting stuck in traffic at the National Mall. But on the other hand, a good way to relax my sore feet and cool off for a bit. Still, when getting off at the stop nearest to the Capitol, it was still a long way off. With short time left, I gave up, and would try to book another time later on. Then got on another DC Circulator, deciding to go to the National Museum of American History.

    I have been to this museum before, and enjoyed it very much before. But it has been a while, so I decided to visit it again. Also, I decided to get lunch at the downstairs cafe, which I remember going to in past visits. Well, going there was probably not a good idea, as I knew it was obviously overpriced. But still, a good place to relax, and do some people-watching. And planning what to see in this museum.

    I would definitely see "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" and the "First Ladies of America". When touring the First Ladies part, I could not help but think how scary it will be, who will be next First Lady. I mean, how did we get from Martha Washington to either Bill Clinton or Melania Trump? I would also see a couple more exhibitions, "Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000" and "America on the Move".

    I had to cut my visit short, so I can go back to the hostel, mainly to shower and rest up for the upcoming baseball game. Since I decided to go to only 1 game per stadium visit, I wanted to make sure I get this right. I would take a short nap. After waking up, I headed back out, and rode the Metro, going to Nationals Park.

    I would come to a beer garden along the way, from the Metro station to the ballpark. Then walked to the other side of it, to see the little open-air museum in front of the home plate entrance. After seeing that, I entered the stadium, and saw the Baseball Americana. Then went to ask where the Ring of Honor was, but none of the ushers I asked, knew where or even what it was. But I would eventually find it on my own.

    I was feeling hot and sore, and annoyed that I had to go up the ramps instead of regular steps or elevator. But rather than waste time looking for those, I just went up the ramp, being able to see the Navy Yard area and the Anacostia River. Then reached the top level, and to my seat.

    I was finally at Nationals Park, which I missed the last time I was in DC. The Nationals (or Nats) used to be the Montreal Expos, before relocating after the 2004 season. And would play in RFK Stadium until 2008, when they move into Nationals Park. The Nats are currently battling it out in the NL East, with the Mets and Marlins. Since moving to DC, they have only had 2 playoff appearances, both ending in disappointment by getting eliminated in the 1st round. The Nats would have a Presidents Race, which is a mascot race between the different Presidents, in the 4th inning.

    The Washington Nationals took on the Pittsburgh Pirates, to start the 2nd half of the regular season. I did notice quite a few Pirates fans at the game. Stephen Strasburg started for the Nats. He started out 12-0 this season, which is really impressive. And in this game, lived up to the record, as he did not allow a hit until the 5th inning. That was when each team traded a run. Then the Nats blew it wide open in the 7th, scoring 4 runs, including a 2-run home run. And the Nationals defeated the Pirates, 5-1. A good start to their second half of the season.

    After the game, the lights were quickly turned off. It was if they were telling everyone to "get out now!" So I would head on my way out, and exited the stadium. Then to the Metro station, where I would see how crowded it was. In fact, entries to the platform was closed off for a little while, until it was cleared. Never really seen anything like this before.

    Strangely enough, the wait was not too long. And I would get on the Metro, that was not filled to capacity. So I was able to sit down. I rode back, and to the hostel. After showering, I would make another reservation for a tour at the US Capitol. Glad to see that there were open times.

    Back in the dorm room, the door was closed, which made the room more stuffy, as it would block out some of the AC. But I managed to sleep, as I finally visited Nationals Park.


  • 16Jul 2016

    3 Seeing Capitol Hill 07/16/2016 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Getting up and ready, I did get to eat the pancake breakfast, and it was really good. I ended up eating a bunch of them. I had to put on the sunscreen, as I was dreading to go outside into the hot weather. So I would be taking my time.

    Heading out, I rode the Metro to the Capitol Hill area, as I headed for the United States Capitol building. I had reserved a tour, and this time, I would not miss it. I would have to go through security, just like at an airport. Then entered the US Capitol Visitor Center, and felt instant relief from the air-conditioner.

    I headed to the ticket desk, to pick up the tour ticket, which was 30 minutes away. Then looked around the visitor center, as there were a bunch of statues. In fact, the visitor center itself, could be a separate attraction in itself.

    The United States Capitol, also called the Capitol Building, is the seat of the US Congress, which is the legislative branch of the government. This branch consists of 2 houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. In a nutshell, this is where bills get proposed, and when passed, become laws of the US. Obviously, there is a lot more to it, and you can read more about it on Wikipedia and other sites.

    When the time for the tour came, I had to get in line. Then entered the theater, to see the intro film about the Capitol. Then the tour of the building itself. I have done this tour back in 2008, but ended up losing most of my photos that I took of the Capitol. So I wanted to take it again, and take more photos. But much to my disappointment, there was restoration work being done. There is a lot of scaffolding, which obscured the art work on the walls. As for the tour itself, it was still very much worth it.

    After the tour, I would stop by the gift shop, then would see more statues in the visitor center. Then went inside Exhibition Hall, which is a small museum. Definitely worth visiting, while waiting for your next Capitol tour. And if needing to do something indoors, as in my case, to escape the oppressive heat.

    After seeing Exhibition Hall, I would go to the cafe to get some lunch. I knew that I would be overpaying for food, but I had no desire to go back outside. Besides, it would be a waste of time as well. And I needed to rest my sore feet. So I sat around for over an hour, probably a lot more, as I tried to plan out the rest of the day, before meeting up with TBers later on.

    Getting back on my (sore) feet, I would see some more statues. Then left, and went through the tunnel, which took me to the Library of Congress. So glad that there is one! Once there, I started to look around, following the tour from a brochure that I picked up. Looked around the architecture of the place, and seeing the Main Reading Room. I remember it from the movie, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”.

    I did see one of a bunch of temporary exhibitions in this place, called "Exploring the Early Americas". This had artifacts and displays on the history of the Americas, like that of the Mayas and Aztecs. Starting with the time before the arrival of Europeans, and ending with the impact after their arrival into the New World. Very interesting to see. After seeing this part, I walked around the Great Hall, I would go outside.

    I headed to the Folger Shakespeare Library. I had only 30 minutes to see this place, but since it was free, why not? The guard suggested the 2 things to see, before the extensive temporary exhibition. After going through the place quickly, as I would end up skipping the exhibition, I thought that I would come back at another time.

    Opened in 1932, the Folger Shakespeare Library was established by Henry Clay Folger. But he did not live see it open, as he died in 1930. He had collected a bunch of Shakespeare’s works over his lifetime, as this library was all about the playwright.

    I left, and rode the Metro, heading back to the National Portrait Gallery. As it was opened late, I figure to kill some time there, before meeting up with TBers. I would finish up seeing the portraits of the rest of the US Presidents, from Andrew Johnson to George W. Bush. I guess that means this part only has that of former Presidents, hence why I did not see a portrait of Barack Obama. After finishing this part, I considered seeing more, but decided against it. So I headed out.

    Going outside, I saw that it was raining hard. So back inside, and sat in the atrium area. I remember being there in 2008, as this was the last part of that trip. After that, I would not come back to DC until now. I waited for a bit, hoping it would stop raining. But it did not, and I did not want to be late. So I headed back out, to a short walk to the Metro station. Then rode it, leaving DC, and into Virginia.

    Photos & Videos


  • 17Jul 2016

    4 Panda-monium at the Zoo 07/17/2016 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Getting up early enough, main for the pancake breakfast, and try to get an early start for the zoo. I would take a towel that the hostel provides, as I gotten ready for another very hot day. As usual, I would leave later than planned, as there always seem to be something that I forget.

    I rode the Metro, then walked to the entrance of the National Zoological Park. More commonly known as the National Zoo, which I have visited back in 2005, with my sister. Mainly to see the pandas, as it was one of the few zoos in the US, to have them. But this one would be the only one that was free.

    As I entered the zoo, I would see a sculpture of a marlin, made of junk that washed up onto a beach. And would see a bunch more of these sculptures throughout the zoo, as they were part of the "Washed Ashore" exhibit. Seeing them, it is hard to believe of some of the things that get washed onto beaches, like batteries and bottle caps. And other things that I have forgotten. A good way of recycling, and cleaning up the beaches in the process.

    I made a stop at the Visitor Center, to get a zoo map. It would cost $5, which would go towards conservation. I certainly hope so, as I did pay for a map. I do like to collect zoo maps, as souvenirs.

    I would see a few animals, before getting to main attraction of this zoo, the giant pandas. And already, there was a little crowd. But I did get to see the pandas in 2 different enclosures, with one of them having a baby. I would go around part of the Asia Trail, seeing a few other animals, before entering the building, the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. This was where I would get a closer look at pandas at their indoor enclosures. Needless to say, it was just amazing to see these rare animals.

    After a while, it was time to move on. I would walk on one side of the zoo, going down the Elephant Trails, to see the Asian elephants. Then continued onto the American Trail, which has North American animals, like seals and bald eagles. Then went inside the Amazonia building, which was a little aquarium of different fish and frogs of the Amazon River. It was one of the few times where I felt relief from the humidity.

    But I went back out, to the Kids' Farm, which has farm animals. Then reached one end of the zoo. Then I would start heading back to the other side. I would stop by a place to get some lunch. And the perfect time to relax my sore feet, as I did put my feet on a chair.

    After lunch, I went to the Great Cats area, but would only see the lions. And came to a lemur island, but saw none. As the day went on, this seemed to be the common theme, as I would see some empty enclosures. But I can understand them trying to hide from the summer heat. A part of me wanted to do exactly that myself.

    I would come to the Think Tank building, which has some primates, and a display of different brains of different animals. And next door, was the Reptile Discovery Center, which has reptiles, along with some amphibians. I would see a variety of snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles and more. I would get annoyed along the way, when seeing people tapping on the glass. As if that would get the animal's attention. Plus I would get to see a docent hold a snake.

    Afterwards, it was to the Great Ape House, which has a family of western lowland gorillas, as well as orangutans. Then to the Small Mammal House, which has a bunch of small animals. That included golden lion tamarin, meerkats, Fennec fox, and more. This part was really extensive, and a photo gallery of the small animals.

    I would reach towards the end to the side of the zoo where I entered, getting to the Cheetah Conservation Center. But did not see any cheetahs, but did see zebras, dama gazelles, and others. This was a separate loop, which I went around it. Then backtracked, to the Asia Trail, as there was still more to see there.

    I would come to the Bird House, which is an aviary. A collection of birds, both indoors and outdoors, arranged by region and/or habitat. One of the birds included a Baltimore oriole. Yes, it is an actual bird, and not just a logo of a certain baseball team. First, I went inside to look around. Then went around the building outside.

    Leaving the Bird House, I finished up the Asia Trail. And finished with this zoo, as closing time approached.

    Walked to a Metro stop, as I headed back to the hostel. I was not tired, but my feet was so sore. Plus the camera battery ran out. Once at the hostel, I would eat some dinner, take a shower, and re-charge some of my devices. Then back out, to the monuments, as the sun was setting.

    I would take the Metro to get there, then walk to the National World War II Memorial. After looking around, I walked all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. Both of these places were lit up. And surprisingly, kind of crowded, as there were a lot of people. I sat and just people-watched for a bit. Then had to walk all the way back to the National Mall.

    I came to the Smithsonian Metro stop, and it was closed. Not something I wanted to see, due to my sore feet and being late in a deserted area. So I walked a couple blocks to the next Metro stop, which was open. Then rode the Metro, taking me back to the hostel.

    Taking another shower, and tried to pack up for a bit. Then just relaxed and getting some much-needed sleep.

    Photos & Videos


  • 18Jul 2016

    5 Seeing Some Originals, and Returning 07/18/2016 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    This was my last day in DC, as I started the morning with the pancake breakfast. Then back to the room, where I had to pack up and put on sunscreen. I was not sure what to do, as I had a bunch of attractions in mind.

    After packing up, I would leave my backpack there. Then headed back out into the hot weather. I got on the Metro, still not sure what to do. Then came upon the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop. That was when I decided to get off, to visit the National Archives.

    I passed by the equestrian statue of Winfield Scott Hancock, and saw the National Archives building. And it was nice to look at, with its Greek Revival architecture. I would have to enter to the side of the steps, and go through security. Then was able to enter inside, much to my relief from this heat.

    The main reason to see this place was to see original copies of the important documents that helped establish the United States of America. They would include the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and the Bill or Rights. Located in the Rotunda of the place, there were already crowds, making it difficult to see the items. Even worse, was that there was no line to see it, making it very chaotic. I would have to cut in front of people, to read the descriptions and see the displays. And could not take any photographs. But still, it was really something that was actually touched by the Founding Fathers themselves.

    After seeing this part, I would go through a few other exhibitions. One of them would be one of the few remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, from 1291, in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery. This also shows how women and blacks achieved equality, with the passing of Amendments and laws. Plus in another gallery, a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. But being short of time, I would have to skim through the ones that I visited. More about this place in the review here.

    Leaving the National Archives, I was not sure what to do with the little remaining time left. I walked to the National Mall, and then to the National World War II Memorial, to snap some more daytime photos. Then walked all the way back to the Metro stop at the museum area of the National Mall.

    Photos & Videos


  • 23Aug 2017

    6 TB on Capitol Hill, Then National Mall 08/23/2017 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Started the day with the hostel breakfast, which included pancakes. I had to make them, then ate a few. Then back to the room for a little while, as I was not too much of a hurry. I had to pack up and get ready. Stayed until it was time to check out. But I will return to the hostel in 2 days.

    Leaving the hostel, the weather felt a lot more tolerable, as it was not humid. But still hot. I walked to the nearby bus stop, to catch the the Charm City Circulator, which was a free bus. A short wait, and short ride to Penn Station. Once there, I hurried to the ticket counter, to buy a ticket for a MARC train, to Washington DC. Turns out, there was one leaving in a few minutes. I got the ticket, and ran to the platform. I did make it onto the train, which left shortly after.

    When I arrived at Union Station, I walked to the Metro, when I realized that I forgotten to bring the Smartrip Card from my last trip. So I had to pay $2 more to get another, plus the possible fare amount. Then rode the Metro to the convention center. I went to a nearby Subway, but decided to check in at the same hostel from before, Duo Housing Hostel.

    I checked in, and left my backpack there. Then back out, and stopped by a 7-Eleven, to get a cheap lunch. I ate the lunch, which was only a hot dog. Then to the Metro, which I took to get to Capitol Hill, where I would meet up with a TBer.

    Arrived, I walked to one of the buildings there, where I would finally meet up with Andrew (Andy99). We went inside it, where he worked. Then to a cafe, where we hung out for a little while. We parted ways, when he had to go back to work.

    I left this building, and stopped by another, to pick up a map, and figure out where to go next. Then back out, walking to the National Mall, as I decided to visit the museums there. I would get on the Circulator, to save some time and energy, towards the National Museum of American History. Then went inside, to see more of it.

    I did visit in 2016, as well as in previous visits to DC. But I wanted to see more, as there are still a lot more to see. Starting with the updated parts of the "First Ladies" and "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden", with both Donald and Melania Trimp being added. Looking at the photo of Donald Trump, I could see some people laugh and point out on how he looks like a curmudgeon.

    Plus there was a display of Martha Washington's dress, which was in the main showcase this time. Then went to see a few more exhibitions, which were the following... "The Value of Money", "American Enterprise" and "Many Voices, One Nation". Plus the display of the Woolworth lunch counter from the Greensboro sit-ins in 1960.

    This museum was closing up, so time to head out. And to the only museum that was open late. But first, I was craving for some ice cream. I went inside the museum first, but the cafe was closed. So back out, at one of those stalls, getting an ice cream sandwich. After enjoying that, back inside the museum, which was the National Air and Space Museum.

    I am not sure if I ever been to this one before. As with the others, I had to pick and choose which exhibitions to see. Starting with "Looking at Earth", where I would spend some time, resting my sore feet. Once I resumed, I would see the "Space Race", followed by "Explore the Universe". Then to "Moving Beyond Earth". After that, I went to the second floor, where I would see "Time and Navigation". And finally, the one on the Wright Brothers.

    As I was walking through the Wright Brothers exhibition, it occurred to me, that I owe it to these 2 guys, for traveling to be more possible. So who are the Wright Brothers? They are Wilbur and Orville Wright, 2 brothers who invented a flying machine that allowed a person to fly possible. Basically, the very first airplane. From there, it would only get bigger and better. And what a legacy that they left, which is continously felt to this day. With me, the possibility of traveling and seeing the world.

    Closing time came, and I went back down, to head out. I would see a few more things along the way, near the entrance. Then exited, walking to the Metro. I hopped on the wrong side, which took me to the Virginia side. So I had to turn around, and back to DC. Then back to the hostel.

    As I got to the hostel, and to my room, there was a little mixup with the assigned beds. The girl on staff, was able to straighten it out. Then unpacked some more, and got a cheap pizza from the grocery store next door. It was a very cheap dinner. Then used the computer, as I tried to figure out what to do the next day.

    After showering, and making sure that my phone was charged, I went to sleep.

    Photos & Videos


  • 25Aug 2017

    7 Seeing the White House 08/25/2017 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    I started the day with the pancake breakfast at the hostel. Then had to get ready and pack up, as I would be leaving DC later on. And did get to meet a guy from Iowa, as well as a bunch of people from Europe. After packing up, I got only the necessary things, and put my backpack in storage. Then headed out.

    I wanted to visit one more attraction before leaving DC. Leaving the hostel, I walked to Lafayette Square, which has a bunch of statues. After going through it, I came upon the White House. The White House is the official home and workplace of the US President and their family.

    This was not my first time seeing it, as I have seen it in past trips. But this time, the street directly in front of it, was closed off. So I could only see it from across the street. And I would not go inside it, since that required advanced reservations, which I did not have.

    Afterwards, I walked to the nearby White House Visitor Center, which is a visitor center and museum on the White House. I went inside, and looked around. Not a substitute for visiting the White House itself. It has a bunch of displays, of items that have been used over the years in the history of the place. And descriptions on the history and what it is like living in the White House. And the different things that happen within the White House. Worth a look, to give a good idea of what it is like inside.

    After seeing this place, I walked towards back to the hostel, stopping by a couple places along the way. Once I got back to the hostel, I packed up the rest of my things into my backpack. Then headed back out, to the Metro. Then rode it to Union Station.

    At the station, I tried to buy 2 different tickets. The first being the MARC train ticket, which I did buy, to go back to Baltimore. The second would have been a Greyhound ticket, to return home in Philly. But it was not possible to buy a ticket from Baltimore to Philly at that station, since I am in DC. Either I would have to be in Baltimore, or buy it online. Oh well, I was hoping, just to get it out of the way.

    After all this, I went to the MARC train, and hopped on it. And with just enough time, as the train would leave Union Station a short time after. Leaving Washington DC, I was heading back to Baltimore.

    Photos & Videos


  • 29Dec 2018

    8 Embassies, President and Christmas 12/29/2018

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington


    It has been an annual tradition to see Christmas in NYC and NYC, but now, I will visit a different place for a change. And decided to visit Washington DC, since it was last minute, and close by.

    I have been to the Nation's Capital a bunch of times, and now, visited 3 years in a row. This is the first time ever in the winter season.

    I had to get up very early in the morning, at 4 AM. I got ready and took care of preparations. Then took the train into Philly, to catch the Megabus there. I got on the bus, which left Philly, and headed to DC. Not a fun ride, but it is what it is. Luckily, there was a stopover near Baltimore, where I got off to catch some air.

    The bus arrived at Union Station in DC. I was relieved to get off, and headed to the main lobby area, where there was a Christmas tree and a model train set. I took a quick look, then went to the Metro. I had a couple Metro cards from past 2 trips, or SmarTrip. Turned out, I had only 50 cents or less on both of them. So I added value to one of them, then to platform to catch the Metro.

    Rode it to the Convention Center, then walked to Duo Housing DC Hostel. The very same one as before, with the front desk guy being someone who I knew of. I did check-in, then back out to walk towards Dupont Circle.

    I decided to tour part of Embassy Row, which is a bunch of embassies along the same street. Walking along Massachusetts Avenue, I won't be listing them here, as they are numerous. As I saw each embassy, I took photos of it, and if possible, the seal of the building. Or whatever it is. The photos will show the ones that I saw.

    I stopped part of the way, and walk to The President Woodrow Wilson House. I got there early enough, so I can rest my feet before the next guided tour.

    The tour started with a short film on the 28th President, mostly known for getting the US into World War I. Then we were shown the different rooms in the home. All of the furniture are original, from Wilson's time. He lived in this home, mainly after he left office in 1921. The rooms are really nice to see, and the tour guide was really good. I enjoyed seeing this place, and worth going out of my way to see it.

    After the tour, I would see more embassies. Then around 3:30pm, I would walk towards the National Zoo. On the way, I stopped by a Baskin Robbins, to get ice cream. And rest again, from all that walking. Then walked to the zoo, with the sun still out.

    I was mainly at the zoo, for ZooLights. This was Christmas lights at the zoo, which were not as good to see, with daylight left. So I waited until I got tired of it, even after sunset. So I decided to walk to the other end of the zoo, going downhill. Having seen this zoo in 2016, I was not disappointed that I did not see any animals.

    I could see the lights coming on, as it got really dark outside. And this was when they really truly shined, looking a lot more impressive to see. Reaching the other entrance, I backtracked to the first entrance. And take photos along the way. Not easy to do, with huge crowds. There were Christmas lights in different shapes, mainly of animals. I did make a detour to the Gingerbread House, posing with Gingerbread boy. Then walked uphill to the entrance/exit.

    Spending about 2 hours at this zoo, this was very much worth it. The lights were very nice. Leaving the zoo, I took the Metro, then to the hostel. I was shown to my room, then hung out in the lounge, as there was a little pizza party for someone's birthday. I got to eat 3 slices of pizza, as a way to get a free dinner. So it worked out for me to come to hostel at this time.

    I left again, this time heading to the White House area. Along the way, I stopped by Macy's, seeing the display windows. They were similar to the ones in Philly. Continuing on, I got to the Ellipse, to see the National Christmas Tree.

    Been around since 1923, and lit by the President since FDR, to mark the start of Christmas. It was fenced off, as it looked like it was made of lights. Surrounding it, were a bunch of model train sets. And a group of 56 smaller trees, representing the individual states and territories. Of course, I went to look for the Pennsylvania one.

    Not easy to take photos of both tree and sign, as one of them turns out blurry. So I decided to make a daytime visit the next day. After looking around, and seeing the nativity display, I started to head back. And seemed to have gone a shorter way back, taking less time. Hard to explain.

    Arrived back at hostel. Then took shower, and just stayed in room. Then to sleep, capping off a really good day!

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  • 30Dec 2018

    9 Some Christmas on National Mall 12/30/2018 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Started the morning with the pancake breakfast, which was included in the hostel. And I got to enjoy them once again, as I have in past visits. Then went to the room, to just rest some more. When approaching check out time, I would get ready, then pack up. By then, housekeeping started to clean up the room.

    There was no formal checkout process. I sat for a bit, then headed to the National Mall by Metro. Once there, I was not sure what to do. Then I wanted something to drink, so I went inside the National Museum of American History.

    I had to go through security to enter the museum. Then went downstairs to the cafe, where I hung out, and got a Navajo taco as my lunch. Very filling, as I did have to pay high prices. Having been here a bunch of times over the years, it was kind of a DC tradition for me. But the high prices makes it hard to maintain it.

    After a while, I walked around the museum, looking at a few things. One of them was a display of superhero items. They would include the Batmobile from Batman '89, as well as Wolverine's claws and Captain America's shield. Yes, the ones actually used in the movies. Then to the top floor, for the First Ladies exhibition. This time, to see the inaugural gown, belonging to current First Lady, Melania Trump. Then I went to see what else was on the floor. When seeing how extensive a nearby exhibition was, I decided to save it for another time.

    So I left this museum, and walked to the National Air and Space Museum. When entering through security, I could hear the 2 guards talking football, the game between the Eagles and the hometown Redskins. I would get in the conversation for a bit. Then went to use the bathroom, which was my only reason for stopping by. After that, I did take a quick look at a few things. Then went back out, knowing that I will return to see more of that museum.

    I walked to the United States Botanic Garden, for the Christmas train display. When arriving there, I saw that there was a long and separate line for the train set. And the lady there, told me that it would be at least an hour wait in line. With the limited time that I had, I decided to skip this. And just see one train set, with Thomas the Tank Engine. And went inside the building, and got a little glimpse of the main train set. Not much to see.

    Instead, I would see the main part of this place. And saw miniature versions of DC landmarks, made of plant materials. As it turned out, this was also a Christmas tradition. So not a total loss.

    After walking around, I went to the conservatory, starting with the Tropics part. I went to walk on the elevated walkway, then on ground level. Then to seeing half of the gardens, including the World Deserts, Hawaii and Garden Primeval parts. By then, I was worned out, but do plan to see the rest on another visit.

    Exiting the place, I saw that the line was a lot shorter. But closing time was approaching. I considered trying my luck, but with my bus being a short time away, I better not try. Don't want to drive myself crazy, trying to squeeze everything in. So I just skipped it completely, and started to walk towards Union Station.

    I would make a quick visit at the Christmas tree by the Capitol building. Then walked to Union Station. Not as long as I thought. Once I got there, I just sat until it was time to get in line for the Megabus. I would enter the line, for a bus that would also go all the way to Toronto. And I was able to get on board, with a row all to myself.

    The bus would leave Washington DC, and head back to Philly, making a stop along the way. Strangely, the bus would arrive into Philly earlier than expected. And I did not feel as sick as I did before. Getting off, and just waited for the next train back home.

    When that train came, I hopped on and headed home. And this end of this very short trip.

    I was glad to finally visit a different place to see Christmas. And I am sure that I will return to DC again, as there is still more to see again. And thus, the end of my Christmas travels for 2018.

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  • 13Aug 2019

    10 Wonder to DC Museums 08/13/2019 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    This was an unplanned trip to Washington DC, as a result of changing my bus ticket from my previous trip (to Pittsburgh). Though, I have been meaning to take a quick trip there before the end of summer. It was just for a couple days, and one night.

    Started the day by packing light, and deciding not to put my cat in boarding. Then went drove to the train station, and parked my car there for next 2 days. Took the train to 30th Street station, where I basically waited until boarding time.

    When I got on the bus, I did have the whole row to myself. But the problem was the strong chemical strong, which made me feel sick. It did not help that I have this habit of looking at my phone, causing motion sickness. Plus no caffeine so far, and hardly ate anything. I did keep looking on how far we were along, as this was digital equivalent of "are we there yet?".

    Well, we were finally there, as the bus arrived into DC, and to Union Station. I could not get off the bus fast enough, to get away from that chemical smell. Walked around Union Station, and looked at option at the food court. But none appealed to me. I came to a Sbarro's, for a quick lunch. And finally, some caffeine in Pepsi. After lunch, I went outside, to the DC Circulator stop.

    This time, this bus was free. So I rode it to the National Mall, getting off near the National Museum of American History. I went inside the museum, to see one thing that I had to see first. And get it out of the way, which was the Wonder Woman costume from the 70's TV show. This was not on display the last time I was there. There was one other display that changed.

    After looking at this, I went to see a few more things in the museum. They included a couple items from "The Wizard of Ox", the Good Witch's wand and Dorothy's ruby slippers. Then went to see the Star-Spangled Banner flag, from the War of 1812. This was at the Battle of Baltimore, when the Americans held off the British during this war. No photography was allowed at this part.

    Afterwards, I was undecided where to go next. And used a coin to help me decide between seeing more of the National Museum of Natural History or National Air and Space Museum. It was decided that the Natural History one would be next. So I left and walked to the place.

    After entering into the familiar Rotunda, I went through the stuffed animals, which I have seen before. And came to the exhibition on narwhal, some type of whale with a long tusk, living in the Arctic. Then saw more skeletons and a variety of skulls from different time periods. I went to the Ocean Hall, and saw a show on the history of the oceans on a rotating globe. And finally, the fossils of dinosaurs, as I was running out of time. I looked at some, until it was closing time. So I left this museum, and went to another place that I have visited before.

    Back at the National Portrait Gallery, I went to see the Presidents again, which included Barack Obama this time. Then went to see portraits on "American Justice", which was about civil rights in the US. After that, it was "American Origins", on the colonial period and more. Tried to see as much as I can, as closing time of this place was approaching. The photos will tell the majority of the ones that I saw.

    After the place closed, I walked to the hostel, as I did not need to take the Metro. Arriving at the same one as before, I checked in and went to the assigned room. Then unpacked a little, and back out to get some dinner. I decided to go to Popeye's, as I love eating their chicken. However, their soda was horrible, as I did try different ones. Something was wrong with their machine.

    After eating dinner, I went back to the hostel. Took a much needed shower, and just relaxed for the rest of the night. This trip was really short, as I would return home the next day.

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  • 14Aug 2019

    11 Short Museum Visit Before Home 08/14/2019 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Getting up early enough, I was able to enjoy the pancake breakfast at this hostel. Something that I did look forward to. And it was good. Then back to the room, where I just relaxed a bit, and had to start packing up. Once I took care of some things, and decided which attraction to visit before my bus ride home, I checked out and walked towards the National Mall.

    I wanted to see if I could manage without taking the Metro once. I stopped by a 7-Eleven, to get some soda. Then walked to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was a little past the National Mall.

    I had to go through security, to enter the museum. And get a timed entry ticket. Then into an elevator with an ID card of a prisoner, to get to the permanent exhibition, which was on multiple floors. I have been to this place in the past, but I never saw this part ever before.

    The permanent exhibition told the entire story of the Holocaust, and the entire Jewish experience during World War II. From the rising of the Nazi party to the end of the war, there were some artifacts on display. I did have to deal with crowds, as it got bigger as time went on, making it hard to read some of the descriptions with people getting in the way sometimes. And to take photos of the few of the items on display.

    With so much to see and limited time, I was not able to finish seeing it all. I underestimated how extensive, as I wanted to see for myself the whole thing, to really evaluate this place. From what I have seen so far, I think it was worth the time to see it, as it does try to cover all aspects of it, in a mostly, chronological order. But I have to come back at another time, to truly get a complete picture.

    Leaving the museum, I walked to the DC Circulator stop, and had to run to catch one. Luckily, I was able to, as I was really cutting it close. And always worried about missing my bus back home. The DC Circulator took me to Union Station, where I walked to the bus parking lot.

    The boarding on Megabus has already started, and I thought that I would have to share a row with someone. But much to my surprise, I was able to get one for myself for the entire trip. The bus left DC, and headed back to Philly.

    And I think it made it back on time. I know that would have not been the case with Greyhound. Took the train to get back home, ending this trip. It was a fun short trip, and I do plan to return to DC during the Christmas season.

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  • 18Dec 2019

    12 Finishing Up and Zoo Lights 12/18/2019 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    The Christmas trip to Washington has come, as this was my second year in a row for it. And it will be for 2 days as before. I had to take care of some things before my mom gave me ride to the nearest train station. Then I took the train to 30th Street station, where the main stop of Megabus was.

    Got there with enough time, and got in line in the very cold weather. I got on the bus, having the row to myself. But it ended getting to Washington DC late, by one hour. Probably due to the traffic leading into the city. But oh man, once in the city, I really felt the motion sickness, and could not wait to get off, which did feel like forever.

    The bus did arrive in Union Station, and I got off quickly. I went to the lobby, seeing the Christmas tree and model train set there. Then went to the DC Circulator stop, where I did get on the bus. I thought they were free, like in the summer. But then, I was told that the fare was $1. I paid cash by mistake, when I should have used my Smartrip card, from a previous trip. Then rode it to the National Mall.

    Getting off at the other end, near the American History Museum, I considered stopping by somewhere to get something to drink for cheap. But the walk would have taken too much time, so I just bought one from a stall, which was overpriced. Then walked to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Once I got there, I had to go through security, and entered into the place. Then to the permanent exhibition, where I would pick up where I left off from my last visit a few months back. It was a lot less crowded this time around, as I went to resume seeing this place.

    I would see the rest of the history of the Holocaust, including the end of the war and the rescue attempts. And how Jews from different countries fared during the war, as well as the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. But some of the really noteworthy parts included the exhibition on the White Rose, the only German group of students to oppose the Nazis publicly, as well as the model of Auschwitz gas chamber and crematorium. And the permanent exhibition ended with the Hall of Remembrance, a memorial to the Holocaust victims.

    But there was more to see in this place, but I would only see 2 of them. One was a temporary exhibition, "Syria: Please Don't Forget Us", on the refugees crisis and the causes of it. Very short but touching to see. Then went to the lobby, and considered going to another museum, for one section. But considering the time, it would have been a waste of time.

    I went to see "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story", the last part that I would see. At first, I written off as a kiddie attraction. But then, I had to remember where I was, and decided to check it out. And glad that I did, because it does give a child's point of view of the Holocaust, which I think, does make it more personal.

    It should be followed in a certain order, but there are no signs to indicate that. The first part is Daniel's house, on how life was before Holocaust. Then the second part, when the Nazis took over the town. And the last part, being sent to concentration camp and how life was there. There were diary entries throughout the place, telling a child's view of events, which is just sad to read. Did Daniel and his family survive the Holocaust? Visit this place to find out!

    Afterwards, I was finished seeing this place. And went outside, where it was already dark. I walked to the Duo Housing Hostel, passing by a Christmas tree. When arriving at the hostel. I checked in, and got led to another building next door. I did not know that the hostel had multiple buildings. I got to my room, and dropped my things off. A short time later, I went back out.

    Stopped by a Popeye's to eat dinner there. Then took the Metro to the National Zoo, to see the ZooLights. I assumed it would be the same lights as before. But turned out, there were some different lights, with lamp of animals on display. Less crowded this time, as I walked back and forth. It was a nice walk, despite the cold weather.

    Leaving the zoo, I went to a Baskin Robbins, for some ice cream. Then took the DC Circulator, as I was going to visit the National Christmas tree. But with the time of the lights being turned off, I had to skip it this time. And just got off at a stop, then walked back to the hostel.

    When back in the room, I did get to meet and talk with some of the roommates. They have been doing quite a bit of traveling lately, outside of the US. After a while, I took care of things, before trying to sleep on the top bunk.

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  • 19Dec 2019

    13 Daytime Christmas Gardens and Tree 12/19/2019 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA


    Started the day with the pancake breakfast, which I expected when staying at this hostel. As before, I ate so much. It did take a little longer, as the guy who made the pancakes, had to take care of something. After breakfast, I went back to the room, to sleep off the food coma. I did feel a little tired from so much pancakes.

    When waking up, I had to pack up and check out. Turned out, I was almost 1 hour past checkout time. But I was not charged for it. Just had to remove the bed sheets and pillow case, as the checkout process. After that, I was back out, walking to a 7-Eleven, for a soda. Then got on the Metro, going to the National Mall.

    I walked to the United States Botanic Garden, to see the model train exhibit. This time, the line was very small, and I was able to get in, to see it. This year's theme was "America's Gardens", with models of buildings in botanical gardens from around the US. And made of plant materials.

    I looked at each one, taking photos of them. And seeing the trains passing by. It was fun to see the different models of structures, and seeing where they came from. Seeing the locations, making me think, I will be going there someday. I listed the names, which gardens they came from, and the locations in the photos below.

    After looking at every one, I went out, to the other side. There was a huge Christmas tree, with the model of the Biltmore House, from North Carolina. Very big, as I looked at all sides.

    I went back out, to the DC Circulator stop. Then took it, to get as close to the White House as possible. I was fortunate, that there was a guy who convinced the driver to allow us to get off at a place that was not a stop. After getting off, I walked to the National Christmas tree. Yes, I would be seeing it in the daytime, which won't look as good. But I did not want to miss it completely. So I got there, and glad that I did. Walked around the tree, seeing the different little trees, and the White House.

    After seeing the tree, I walked to a DC Circulator stop, as I thought about making a short stop at the National Air and Space Museum for 1 hour. But when the bus passed the museum, getting to a spot far from it, I decided to skip it, and just go to Union Station. I had to play it safe.

    So I got to Union Station, and I went to the food court to get something to eat. I ate some Chinese food as my lunch. Then just waited around, until it was 30 minutes til my bus. That was when I went to wait in line. When the boarding started, I got on the bus.

    The bus left Union Station, leaving DC. When it made a stop near Baltimore, I did go outside to get some air. When going back in, this was when the bus ride got bad. There was a woman, who was drunk and noisy. And would not shut up, as she really smelled of alcohol. I did tune out the sound, listening to my phone. But I could not tune out the smell.

    When arriving in Philly, me and some other people looked at each other, and I just knew we were all thinking the same thing about the woman. And that we were relieved that this ride was finally over. I could not wait to get off.

    After getting off, I waited in 30th Street station, getting a sandwich as my dinner. But I would eat it later at home. When my train came, I got on, to head back home. And the trip was over.

    While it did not go as exactly as planned, I got to do what I wanted to do. Not sure if going to DC will be an annual thing for me during the Christmas season.

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