The little market opposite provided us with yummy food for lunch today. We bought it all on our way into town this morning, starting with a problem in the Metro. You see, you buy a SmartCard for this Metro and recharge it when it runs out of credit. But when we tried to put $5 on each card at Van Ness station, the machine ate my 10 bucks and recharged nothing. So we complained to the station master who offered us a number to call. When I told him we were from Scotland and he was having a laugh if he thought I would make that call, he wrote us out a travel pass, let us through and wished us a nice day. So we got down to Union Station after all. The temperature outside was 10C, a huge improvement on the situation earlier in Toronto.

Lady Burton had decided we were to do the City Tourist Bus thing today and knew exactly where to go in the station to buy the tickets for the red and purple lines. We needed to sprint but we caught the 10 o’clock bus on the red line and were treated to the monuments of Washington over the following 2 hours. We were upstairs open-topped and, I have to say, it was freezing, no, really freezing, so having woolly hats, scarves and gloves with us proved a shrewd move, so we were only a bit uncomfortable when the bus turned into the wind.

The bus took us from one great site to the next. We noted what we were seeing so we’d be able to return to specific places later today or tomorrow for a closer look. Capitol Hill, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the White House and several of the Smithsonian museums came and went during the hours before lunch which we took back in the eateries of Union Station. Mary updated her Mum on how Uncle Eddie’s memorial service had gone in Toronto and we decided to buy our train tickets for Boston next Saturday. Lunch taken, we returned to the tourist bus terminus and persuaded the official to extend our ticket to tomorrow so we didn’t have to rush through the purple line.

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She had a dream!

We therefore retraced the route on the red bus until stop 6 at the Lincoln Memorial then got off to do the whole area on foot. When we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial, so famous it’s ridiculous, he was still seated nobly in his high arm chair and the impression his statue created was high up on the “Wow!” Scale.

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Comfy, sir?

And when we turned to view the waterway that led back to the Washington Monument, I told Mary this was an Eiffel Tower moment. I was referring to the first time she saw Paris’ gem for real the day before I proposed to her. We alighted from the Metro at Trocadero station, came up to street level then turned round beyond the station plaza to be confronted by the Eiffel Tower beyond the Palais de Chaillot and on the other side of the Seine.

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Classic!

So seeing that scene over to the Washington Monument had the same effect on both of us, a jaw-dropping vista, unique but so familiar from television and movies. Yes, this was a vindication of the hassle of travel, a reward for putting up with airports, flights, queues, trains, crowded underground travel and the chaos of systems we are not used to. With appropriate photos taken, we moved off up the Mall, stopping to admire the statues in the Korean War Memorial garden before crossing the road to spend half-an-hour at the beautiful Martin Luther King (MLK) Memorial whose highlight wasn’t the wonderful stone carving of the man himself, but the many deeply important quotes from his political history.

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The Lorean War Memorial

From there we crossed back to the 2nd WW memorial in front of the Washington Monument (closed for repair to the lift) and then turned left to cross the Ellipse in order to get those archetypical snaps in front of the White House. We tingled with excitement here and I know some of you may be a bit blasé about world-famous sites, but this was one that pushed our buttons just like Niagara Falls did the first time we saw it. One of theguards told us Donald was on his way back from Asia and would be arriving later on this evening (he’s just got back!) but I told him I’d have to leave so tell him not to be too disappointed!

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Playing my Trump card!

Our next target was inside for once, the Space Museum! This place covered the history of flight from the Lindberghs up to space travel. We spent about 3 hours in there, including a 30 minute film in a Planetarium about Dark Space which was beautifully presented but turned our brains to mince!

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The Spirit of St. Louis

The market opposite the hotel became our dinner place tonight and while I had tacos and beer Lady Burton stayed sensible with salmon and yoghurt. This place is a local project, combining supermarket with pub with restaurant and provided us with a great meal at a reasonable price. Speaking of which, Washington is not cheap we must confess, but nor is it ridiculously expensive and if you’re careful it is clearly possible to live here without breaking the bank. I had my dinner plus 2 pints of IPA for $20 tonight so no reason to grumble to be fair.

Tomorrow should be equally busy I think but things are cool to be honest and I get the feeling Washington isn’t going to end up on our “places to avoid” list. I’ll leave you tonight with yet one more selfie. It’s pretty good though!

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