Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Washington DC – the solemn and ridiculous

Last time I went to Washington was 1999. Back then, it was just a short 2 or 3-day layover to see a friend on my way to Mexico City from Beijing, and I really didn't get to see much. This time, it was rather similar, as the point of the trip was work – which went extraordinarily well –, with little time left for exploring. Plus, I was exhausted from a very intense workweek. Plus I fell a bit ill. Plus it was rainy day-in day-out. Plus it was cold. All in all a very bad setting for enjoying the city. But I did what I could...

Like, of course, getting rain-soaked in order to visit some of the most important monuments, like the Lincoln Memorial. It is an impressive building. And it is an impressive reminder of these most foundational ideas of the modern American psyche – the abolition of slavery and the Gettysburg Address, declaring the nation as "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal".




A walk along the long reflecting pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument revealed a cherry-blossom covered surface. I would not get to see cherry trees in bloom, but the image of the water, in foul wet weather, adorned with the dead flowers was oddly romantic...



Another great symbol for the nation, and probably one of its most iconic and internationally recognized, the obelisk that is the Washington Monument, the monument to the first president of the nation, one of the "founding fathers", personally opposed to slavery...



And then... then, the White House. After visiting monuments to Washington and Lincoln, to come to the building in which Trump discovers with surprise that a president's job is harder than a reality show host's was almost shocking. I don't need to say more, because just being alive and tuning in to the news gives you a pretty clear idea of who this person is and what he is doing.



I did walk a lot around the city. Like a real lot. But it was just almost impossible to take photos of so many gorgeous buildings, with the rain and grey skies. So here are just two small samples of the beautiful architecture in this northern city.




And finally, the subway, the underground world. It's not the most impressive subway system I've ever seen. But the arched vault, the darkness, coupled with the grim weather... it gave it a very special atmosphere. Or maybe it was just my mood...

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