I bought an old Kodak digital "Instamatic camera" off a clearance shelf, buried under all the opened/retaped boxes of who knows what crap, for $20.00.
Why would I do that when I just bought a brand new Nikon with all the bells and whistles?
To tuck into what I call my "tourist bag" which is a slightly larger, over the shoulder, nicer looking fanny pack.
It takes surprisingly good pictures and has become my GO TO where ever we GO GO.
So now I travel with an android phone, an iPad mini, a camera and my laptop.
No, the laptop stays in the room but I do carry the other three. Oh, and two eyeglass cases, a bottle of water and various other sundries required for a full day of sight-seeing.
Anyways, back to the camera. While the pictures are pretty darn good, it can not go everywhere. So I give up getting all the details of our day to day excursions. Mostly the food (which has been pretty good to OK so far).
Our first full Mall day started out with the Smithsonian Metro stop. This castle last year was covered with scaffolding, as was the Washington Monument, so that was No.1 on our list.
For those of us interested in the Smithsonian story, this is a good place to start.
Seems a wealthy British chap was so enamored with our fight for independence and the building of our capital city, he bequeathed quite a substantial amount of money to the United States with instructions it be used to build museums, all dedicated to the history of our land and country.
Last year we did about 95% of the museums so we wanted to wrap up the last of that list, this year, or so we thought.
We have to come back for the last chapter as soon as the last two museums are completed.
If you wish to actually go to the top of the Washington Monument, you should think about buying your tickets on-line because it was closed after the earthquake and now everyone wants to visit, so advanced ticket purchases are a MUST and call weeks in advance. Each day they only allot 300 tickets for walk-ins and they open at 8am. I would highly recommend spending the $3.50 to call and reserve them so that you can go anytime on that day.
We took a walk down the Mall to try to get lucky but we were not. Our only chance will be to get up at dawn to hopefully get two of those 300 tickets or wait till next visit.
Looking back from the Washington Monument is the Capital covered with scaffolding. Seems each time we are here there is scaffolding all around. Most monies allocated for restoration work are usually from wealthy endowments given by those family names we all know (Rockefeller, Gates, Carnegie,etc) but I have seen expansion everywhere. Thruways have added additional lanes and full blocks have been torn down and apartment housing created. Something is going on and it will be interesting to see this town in the next few years.
The Capital building is the beginning of the National Mall, the Washington Monument the middle, and right next door is the new WWII memorial.
We were there last year but The Nudge wanted to spend more time there, and no tickets to the Washington Monument made it possible to do just that.
If you have one trip to make, do the Mall. The rest can wait till another time.
Moving on down the Mall, is the entrance to the WWII Memorial.
In the warmer months there are fountains everywhere and it really is a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance of those family members who served in what was called The War to End All Wars or The Greatest War. I am still not sure why it took an actor to get it done, but I am so happy it did.
I would say that this is the best of the best.
The whole memorial is a circle, symbolizing the world and broken into the Pacific and Atlantic campaigns. Each semi-circle starts and end with a large stone column with quotes engraved pertaining to each campaign. For better information and history of all the Monuments and Memorials, I found this site to be an excellent source.
While most of these photos were taken with that Kodak digital camera, I have found that my mini iPad produced better versions were there were shadows, so you will notice different colors in the marble.
Finally there is the reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial. this year I am assuming that the amount of tourists tripled from last year at this time is due to the low cost of gas, allowing people to load up the car and drive in. The amount of small children was staggering, even knowing that they will not remember anything they have seen.
On the North side of the Mall, is the Ellipse, where the National Tree and Menorah are displayed, and of course the White House.
I would highly recommend doing the Monuments and Memorials by Night tour, everything is lit and spectacular at night.
This was our National Mall crawl for 2014. By the end of our visit we will have crossed off everything there is to see and explore in DC - DONE!!
I have plenty of pictures and as soon as I get home I will finish with the American Indian, Botanical Garden and a side trip to Manassas (the first battle site of the Civil War).
Happy New Year everyone, we are on our way home to ring in the bell.
See you in 2015!!!!