A trip down memory lane and beyond - Washington DC


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


3rd June 2021

By Elle Summers


Upon arriving in Washington DC, my first challenge was to try and locate my parents in the huge expanse of the airport. Having been away for over two weeks now, and with my parents having not been in the States since their honeymoon 23 years prior, I underestimated how long it would take them to adjust to their new surroundings. Having finally located them with the help of a kind member of the airport staff, I ordered us a Lyft to get us to our hotel. This took me a couple of attempts, as without my friend to rely on, I mucked up and ordered the wrong size, much to the annoyance of the first driver who arrived, as there was no way his car would fit all four of our large suitcases in!


By the time we arrived to our hotel, settled in and had dinner, it was getting quite late, and so we went on a short wander in the dark to work out our surroundings and find some of the more famous landmarks in the city to make our exploring the following day more efficient. This led to some lovely photos of the Capitol Building, which is lit up at night, shining a light across the city!


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


As per my itinerary so far on this journey around the US and in Canada, our days were packed full of sightseeing! The following morning, we headed to the Smithsonian where my brother and I followed a tour round to see how much we could learn about the different items on display. Having grown up in part of a family that loves a museum, especially one consisting of some type of transport, (I have many a happy childhood memory spent at Duxford Airfield), my brother and I are veterans of this kind of experience. Therefore, we looked at a few things we were interested in, read a little of the information, and then wandered off to find somewhere to sit until our parents were ready to leave!


From here, our next stop was the Washington Monument. To get here we wandered through some lovely parkland, enjoying the blossom on the trees for some very Instagram-worthy photos! We walked past the fountains on the way to the obelisk, passing many different war monuments, including one for those lost at Pearl Harbour. At the other end of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, sits the great statue of Abraham Lincoln, which we also had the pleasure of visiting. It was interesting to take in all the different aspects of history during this one walk.


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


To continue our sightseeing tour of all the major Washington DC landmarks, the next place we headed over to was the Whitehouse. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it stands so far away from the road, it didn’t seem very impressive to me! Whilst here, we saw Donald Trump drive past in a convoy – it was surprisingly small considering he was still the President at the time! After dinner down the harbourside, and enjoying an ice-cream whilst sitting on swing-seats overlooking the water, it was time to head back to our hotel to rest up for the next fun filled day.


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


Having tried and tested the hop-on hop-off bus in Toronto, we decided to use the same service to get about the following day, travelling around the streets and learning some different facts about different parts of the city via the pre-recorded guide. The bus took us past the Pentagon out towards the edge of the city, as we went to visit Arlington National Cemetery, which was established during the American Civil War. The site was very humbling, yet peaceful, with gravestones stretching for as far as the eye could see, commemorating the fallen soldiers. We even went to see JFK’s grave. I remember the day being incredibly hot, and I had the sunburn to prove it. Although maybe a little morbid, I’m glad we went to appreciate the site.


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


One little thing I enjoyed about America was the fact that there seemed to be water fountains everywhere! I’m not the best with the heat, but there seemed to be a water fountain at every turn, keeping us refreshed! Another odd thing I noted on my trip, was that I clearly must have a face that screams ‘ask me to take your photo’, as everywhere we went, no matter who I was with, I was seemingly always taking stranger’s photographs for them!


(Image courtesy of Elle Summers)


The rest of our trip was spent walking around the city, eating at some different locations and catching up for the two weeks I hadn’t been with my family! From Washington DC, we would be travelling up the East Coast by train towards New York, with a short detour for me. So, my next location? Lawrenceville, New Jersey!