East Coast USA Day 2
08.11.2010 - 08.11.2010 15 °C
Was a little sad after leaving New York so soon, though also excited to be going to see Washington DC and the other places on the tour. The next stop was Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, the "Independence State" in the US, since it was where the declaration of independence was signed, as well as where a lot of the organisation behind it went on. Our hotel was pretty nice- another 4 star stay at the Hyatt this time, right on the Delaware River. Not much could be seen on the night we arrived so I headed off pretty much straight to bed. In the morning I woke up to views of the river, as well as a few old navy ships and some small views of downtown Philadelphia. Our tour stops in this city included the Independence Hall, which was the first house of government within the United States, and also the Liberty Bell, which was said to have been rung to tell the townspeople that the US was to revolt to become a republic. After seeing these we all had a little time for breakfast, and so what better way to immerse ourselves in American food culture than go to a breakfast buffet? :P - I think I overloaded a bit on this one, going for a donut, french toast, pancakes, etc etc, but hey, when in Rome..
The view from the hotel of the Delaware RiverThe USS OlympiaIndependence Hall
After this the tour's next stop was in Washington DC. The drive down was beautiful!- seeing all these green, red, and gold leaves with Autumn/Fall in full display. Washington DC itself was also great, though reminded me somewhat of Canberra- small and seemingly empty of people (or maybe this was because it was on the weekend). Unexpectedly, our first stop was the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum, which was a welcome surprise!- we all ended up being able to see remarkable things like Apollo 11, the Wright Brothers' plane, the Spirit of St Louis and other unique sights. I'd definitely recommend making a stop to this museum if you're ever in DC (the museum also had its own McDonalds which I thought was pretty funny, and again something you’d only ever see in America :P). After this we all made our way over to Capitol Hill, which has the famous dome and is where Congress is now held. We were all told that this place was mistakenly referred to as the White House (myself included), though the White House was actually a much smaller house where the President lives, not where congress is held. One of the scary parts of this was just seeing the guns that the guards here had- they were massive! You wouldn't dream of getting too close heh. Though we were able to stand in front and take some photos, just below the steps- you can see some photos of Shaun, David, Dad and I being all American and doing the salute :P
In front of Apollo 11 at the SmithsonianThe Wright Brother's "Flying Machine" at the SmithsonianGiving the salute in front of the US CapitolUlysses S Grant Memorial at the foot of Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill also had amazing views down to the Washington monument, the Jefferson memorial and other buildings closeby, again kind of reminding me of our Parliament House in Canberra, with being able to see down to the Anzac memorial, etc. The tourbus then continued through DC downtown, passing by various departmental buildings (and making snide remarks about the IRS :P). We eventually came to stop at a Madame Tassauds, which was pretty cool and my first time in this famous wax museum chain. Here we all got to have photos with Obama, various former presidents (including good ol' George W hehe) as well as movie stars, sporting legends, etc.
Being interrogated by J Edgar HooverDad with George W Bush :PMeeting with the Obama familyBusiness as usual..David wearing Abe Lincoln's hatShaun in the 100 dollar bill
Next stop was the Jefferson Memorial, which was huge! This building was dedicated to the memory of Thomas Jefferson, a collaborator who was part of the formation of the declaration of independence, and was very highly respected by President Roosevelt who organised the building of the memorial. Everything in DC seemed huge, white and Roman/gothic looking, but very beautiful nonetheless. It was interesting reading the various extracts of the declaration of independence in the memorial, and how ideal and pure the first intentions of setting up the US was- something they can surely look back at now and use to cross-examine some of their current situations. After this was another memorial- the Lincoln Memorial, and this had the famous statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln. Around here we also visited the various war memorials dedicated to those who served during the Vietnam and Korean wars, as well as World Wars I and II. Last on the list of places to visit in DC was the White House, which was very well guarded and protected let me assure you. We were able to stand behind a road, which was behind fences and a field in front of the place, though fortunately we could still see glimpses of the house (though no Obama ).
The Jefferson MemorialHolding the Washington Monument :PThe Lincoln MemorialThe Vietnam War Memorial
So all up, DC was an interesting city to visit, very much like our own capital, and it was cool being able to see those monuments always shown on TV which now seemed so much more real.