We had some friends in town over the weekend. Being the ever-gracious hosts (or at least that's what my wife tells me we're SUPPOSED to be...), we took them on the Old Town Trolley Tour through DC. Contrary to what the name implies, the tour never gets down to Alexandria, instead winding its way by all of the major sights and monuments in DC.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I have NOT taken the time to properly tour DC prior to this. The trip ended up being as interesting for me as it was for our guests. We emerged from the Metro at Union Station - certainly one of the more impressive train stations I've seen in the U.S.
Matter of fact, the view from outside the station was as impressive (if not more so) than the view from inside. We particularly liked the large American flags, billowing in the breeze as they hung from the front of the building:
Something about the interior of the trolley reminded us of our trolley rides in Hong Kong (although the ride in DC certainly cost more than the 50 or so cents we spent on the Hong Kong version).
And Hong Kong: The DC trolley tour is hop-on and hop-off. What does that mean? For us, it meant we never got in the rhythm of our tour guide/drivers (all of whom seemed knowledgable and capable of entertaining their passengers). When Mel's mom was here, she liked the tour guide so much, she never got off. We, however, jumped off at the first stop (the Capitol building).
There are also some interesting Civil War statues around the Capitol.
And, of course, a great view toward the Washington Monument. After investigating the outside of the Capitol building, we began wandering down the Mall, stopping in for quick looks at the Air and Space Museum, the Hirshhorn outdoor artwork, and some great signs scattered along the Mall that graphically demonstrate the distance between planets of the Solar System (courtesy of the Air and Space Museum, of course).
It's a short walk from the Jefferson Memorial to the FDR Memorial so we hoof it on over. I'll be honest...I didn't even realize there WAS an FDR Memorial. And I CERTAINLY didn't realize how elaborate it was. I guess that's what a man gets for serving four terms as president, huh?
We jump back on the Trolley for the short trip over the the Lincoln Memorial, with its spectacular views down the Mall. From here, it's also a short walk to both the Vietnam Memorial and the newly commissioned WWII Memorial. We check out all of them. We all decide it's time for lunch. After passing quickly by the front of the White House, we head for the Old Post Office Pavilion, grab a quick lunch, and head up top for another photo opportunity. With time running out (and a dinner reservation to make), we jump back on the Trolley, return to Union Station, and head home - after stopping off for a quick pint at Capitol City Brewing Company. Overall, a highly successful day of touring.