Archive for July, 2015


The second day of the excursion to DC was taken up with a look at the Jefferson Memorial and a moving visit to Arlington Cemetery. On this day – 28th April, the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was on a state visit to the US. Security was high, of course.

After checking out of the hotel, and arranging to store the luggage and the car for a couple of hours while we did some further sightseeing, we went and had a closer look around the Jefferson Memorial. It was even better on the inside, in my opinion, than the external view promised. Here are some of the photos from there.

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I couldn’t resist a shot over the water of the Martin Luther King memorial – different again in daylight

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We also took a stop off at Union Station as I wanted to get these pictures of the statue of Columbus and the bell:

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After going back to the hotel and having lunch there, we picked up the luggage and the car and started out to see Arlington Cemetery. Such amazing grounds where war heroes famous and not so famous are buried with honour. The highlights for me, though, had to be John F Kennedy’s grave and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. We watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the laying of the wreath.

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We drove around doing a bit more sight seeing before heading back to Philadelphia. Sights included the First and Second World War memorials, the White House, the Kennedy Center and the infamous ‘Watergate’ Hotel.

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So, with a little sadness, we made our way back to Frankie’s home in Philadelphia. This was my last weekend in the States and the last trip away from Philly.

It had been a fantastic trip and I think it strengthened me for what would be happening when I arrived home. Of course, I owe so many thanks to the lady who I visited as my girlfriend, and left as my faincée, Frankie.

I have been home for more than 2 months now, so this update is long overdue. The reason for the delay is that I came home to minor disaster, which had me feeling for a few weeks as if the whole trip had been no more than a vivid dream. Thankfully, I have photos and my engagement ring to remind me of the reality of those better times. I won’t dwell on the minor disaster here, rather share the photos and some of the awesome experience of the last weekend excursion – the one to Washington DC.

For our last weekend together for this trip, we had to decide between a return visit to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, or a visit to Washington DC. It was a tough call, but as I didn’t get to see DC last time, we decided on that. In spite of the huge and obvious difference between the two places, I am glad we made this decision.

We were there for one night and left quite late on the second evening, giving us more or less a day and a half to see the sights.

After checking in to the hotel and experiencing a pretty amazing brunch buffet, complete with Bloody Marys and Mimosas (or Buck’s Fizz – Champagne and Orange Juice), we headed out to do one of the trolley tours.

For me, the highlight of this part of the visit was the Washington National Cathedral. It was with a little sadness that we didn’t have time to either get off the bus and look around there and then, or to return there the following day.

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When we’d done this one, we got off and had a snack and a drink at the Hard Rock Café, before getting on to another trolley for the ‘Monuments by Moonlight’ tour. We were so lucky with the weather for this. If we had opted to do it the following night, it would have been overcast and rainy. As it was, it was a lovely, balmy, clear evening and it made the tour rather magical.

The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument are somewhat ‘iconic’ for me, but discovering the Jefferson and Martin Luther King Memorials was an amazing experience too. We decided that we would have to visit the Jefferson the following day in daylight.

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The final stop on that tour was the Iwo Jima Memorial – very fascinating and moving:

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After that we were all ‘toured out’ for the day and went back to the hotel.

Next up was Day 2. As I said, we went to look at the Jefferson Memorial. We also went to Arlington Cemetery and got a glimpse of the White House. Photos to follow in the next post.