After paying homage to the mighty ‘Go Pens’, I’m off to the Nations Capitol – Washington DC, steeped in history and politics. Well it is the home of the Donald after all. I have had this film title in mind for a wee while having seen it a couple of weeks back. As soon as I seen it was on, I made the point of watching, having enjoyed it first time I watched it. Jimmy Stewart, now there’s a guy, a true underdog. The good news is however, is I will be splitting my 3 day adventure over 3 posts, not to dump everything I’ve done at once.
The train journey is a doozy, with Luscious loch’s and rambling rivers. Hilltops, beautiful trees, scenery and wildlife, all on their tootsies watching the choo choo whizz by. I’m writing this down on my phone as a I go alone, supping on some wine, noting some beautiful houses and farms on the way. Not one the same, all unique in design and colour, yet in stark contrast some very basic, run down and derelict properties align the route. Chapels, graves, barns, scrapyards, car lots and town to town, all trackside. The most interesting from an lover of charity shops and all things antique catch the eye. All the ‘junk’ some have in yards, beaten up barns, all visible. Old shops and eateries with cool old signage. Some towns have maybe died, but some of the history has not, thankfully.
The train tracks snake alongside the river, full of life with ducks, birds and beavers. I’m yearning to get a lodge by the river and simply unplug for 2 weeks. I’m not fussed if it’s sunny or not. A bit of fishing maybe, woodland wanders and your standard deliverance experience if it came to it. As we leave harpers town then is the main river, but in between that and the train tracks there is a lade, with a very thick green covering on top, the result of all the algae, plant life and trees. One thing about the journey is how green the countryside was! Anyway, my eyes are caught by what looked to be a trio of turtles. Next significant log and again 2-3 wild turtles looking magnificent, so many, free and enjoying their small stretch of life, looking up at the sky, so peaceful baby.
Washington is costly, so I’m in the cheapeast hostel and I got my money’s worth. I get the metro, walk about 20 blocks and I’m at the gaff. There are free beers on the go tonight and a possible BBQ on Sunday, which sounds promising. What I did not know and did not come up in my research, was the legalisation of cannabis back in January. On Saturday night they will have some on site to be bought at a reduced price if I’m into that sort of thing. The tone has been set. I lump down to the room, go have a shower and unpack my case. At that point Irene comes in and goes to bed, there is a bit of chat, maybe flirting, but that’s another story. 2 x 2 bunk beds and 2 single beds. 3 of us in the room, Irene and a proper hairy redneck boy, cant remember his name, but as with most Americans, he knows everything. Like, Vegas Knights will play the Pens in the Stanley Cup Finals, but as I write this, the Pens just got knocked out. Anyway, he talks about Iraq and the likes, but the pair of them don’t seem to go out. They get up, get stoned, go to bed, eat a little. Dope-Rest-Munch-Repeat.
It’s Saturday and I’m off sharpish. Got a day planned sight seeing, but free sight seeing. I’m no paying a penny to get in anywhere if I can avoid it. First stop is Harry’s diner for some Clam Chowder and battered fish on a roll, which is how they do it here. A nice vanilla milk shake to wash it down. First stop – The White House, home of the Donald and a classic snapshot of not only the building itself, but also the West Gate. Many may not know I am a massive fan of the West Wing. Many of a scene has been shot at the West Gate, so the big boy has to get a snapshot baby. The excellent thing about Washington is that everything is laid out, monument to monument, museum to museum, all in an order where you can casually walk from one to another over a couple of days. I must add that the street sellers, food trucks, cheap touristy tat and the likes, are all in order as well to be fair. $$$$
I wander round the big white house and down to the towering Washington Monument. Most of these places are accessible to a point, then you have to be on a paying tour. A wander round and I come to a truly inspiring WW II memorial, which sits at one end of the Reflecting Pond that was in the Forrest Gump movie, when Jenny wanders through it. This leads up to the Lincoln Memorial, but it looks mega busy and far away, so I stick with the WW II fountains, the stone architecture and bronze statues are all designed to honour those who had fallen and celebrate the victories of not just America. I will finish off this blog with a snippet taken from the memorial website, so you get an idea of what the photo’s hopefully show. What I will say is there were veteran’s their, being taken around and each individual veteran had a personal guide to push their wheelchair, help them around and talk about the memorial. This is something the Yanks do very well, looking after their Armed Forces Personnel, current and past!
“Twenty-four bronze bas-relief panels flank the ceremonial entrance. To many, these panels stir memories as they tell the story of America’s experience in the war. Granite columns representing each U.S. state and territory at the time of World War II ring an impressive pool with water shooting high into the air. Quotes, references to theaters, campaigns, and battles, and two massive victory pavilions chronicle the efforts Americans undertook to win the war. A wall of 4,048 gold stars reminds all of the price over 400,000 Americans paid to win that victory.”
Ps. One of the video’s is of 3 official choppers flying overhead and towards the White House. I was reliably told was the Donald in Marine Force One.