Well, when you’re on a coach tour, you certainly can’t complain about not maximising the limited time available!
Yesterday, we managed to squeeze pretty much every memorial in DC (Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, WW2, Korean, Vietnam, Holocaust) plus the White House, Capitol, popped across the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetary & the JFK Arts centre. Oh, and then we had dinner at the very glamorous Georgetown waterfront. Phew!
Our guide Michelle was excellent, albeit residing on at one end of the patriotic scale with a father, husband & kids who’d all served in the forces. Perhaps that explains all the memorials, anyway we learned a lot and had our first exposure to the ‘follow the brolley’ nature of coach tours, always prefaced by her command call of ‘and we’re walking’!
As you might expect from the centre of the federal government, DC is seriously impressive. The downtown area is spotless. There’s zero rubbish or graffiti, every building looks like it’s been steam cleaned daily and the number of free attractions is mind boggling, there are 18 Smithsonian Museums in DC alone. I suspect you don’t have to go far from the centre to hit grinding poverty on a massive scale, but the part that diplomats and tourists see is imposing.
The great thing about DC is that all the things you want to see are basically located all in one manageably walkable area The National Air & Space Museum on the Mall was looking tired but still amazing and their newish overspill hangar – the ‘Steven F Udvar Hazy Center’ located near Dulles International airport is fantastic, it contains the SR-71 Blackbird, an Air France Concorde and the Space Shuttle Discovery. The American History Museum is a ‘must’ and the ‘Newseum’, an interactive museum of news and journalism isn’t free, but well worth a visit.
See the itinerary for my Globus Coach tour – Great Cities of The East Coast, here.