On Tuesday we headed out of Philly to go on a day trip to Washington DC. We hopped on a Megabus at 9:15am and had arrived ready to explore by midday. Washington was a bit of a mixed bag for me - on one hand it was really cool to see all these monuments that are on TV and in films all the time but on the other hand none of them really wowed me - I wasn't wandering around in total awe like I was in Rome...although that might be because none of these landmarks are more than a few centuries old!
Most of the tourist attractions are located in one specific area so we found it quite easy to wander around them - first stop off the bus was the Capitol or as Sean put it...the House of Cards building. From there we headed to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, there are a heap of museums and galleries in Washington so we had to pick a favourite as we had nowhere near enough time to go to all of them! It was interesting but not really my sort of thing - Sean was loving all the models of various planes and rockets though.
Next on our list was the Washington Monument which looked very impressive from a distance and somehow much less impressive close up - I think a big part of what makes it special is its place in the landscape (the best glimpse of it was across the Reflecting Pool). The World War Two memorial is quite awe inspiring although there were a lot of tourists taking selfies in it...not quite the point!
Next up were our favourite and least favourite landmarks respectively, the Abraham Lincoln memorial was amazing...despite being absolutely heaving with tourists it feels really calm and peaceful and it really feels like there is a connection with the history behind it. The White House was a bit of a let down - we didn't realise the closest you could get to it was behind some railings a million miles from the building, though I suppose it does make sense!
We had some time to kill before getting some dinner so we picked our next stop at random from our map and this turned out to be the best decision ever - the International Spy Museum. We weren't expecting all that much but we ended up spending about two and a half hours in here - there's tons of interesting information on things like female spies through history, Cold War spies on both sides and celebrity spies. There's lots of interactive activities as well - Sean spent a minute hanging from a pole suspended in the air whilst air was blown at him to see if he would make a good James Bond! Speaking of James Bond there's now a huge 007 exhibition right at the end which was a big source of excitement for us, Bond nerds as we are. The only disappointing aspect was that we arrived half an hour too late for the last Operation Spy tour - how cool does it sound?!
We finished off our day in the Capital at an 'authentic Tex-Mex restaurant' called the Austin Grill. We weren't expecting all that much from the decor but ended up being pleasantly surprised, my BBQ brisket taco plate was beyond delicious and I couldn't say no to a Strawberry Margarita and some deep friend ice-cream to finish off! I swear I'll have put on about fifty pounds by the time I come home...