Lancaster County via Gettysburg to Washington DC
We got up several hours after the locals, but early enough for check out, and went from Bird-in-hand and further towards “downtown” Lancaster. The weather was beautiful - as usual. We stopped at a super marked and stocked up, and had a rather healthy, but not so exciting, breakfast in the parking lot. We had hoped to see some more Amish buggies and farmers, but it was Sunday, probably a day when they’re not out and about much. We also hoped to cross one of the (supposedly) many covered bridges in the area, but didn’t see a single one.
Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg
Todays first destination was Gettysburg, the scene of one of the most important battles of the American Civil War - and where Lincoln held his famous Gettysburg address. We parked right next to the Evergreen cemetery and walked onto the Cemetery Hill. There are several replica canons placed around the hill, and you can watch out onto what used to be the battlefield. There are also several statues to honor the different military divisions and commanders that took part in the battle. The Gettysburg National Cemetery is located right next to the hill, and buried here are soldiers from all the wars that the US have taken part in. We decided against doing any shopping in Gettysburg, and aimed our car for the US capital, Washington D.C.
Canon at Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg
We had told Kitty to take us to the White House, and we drove into downtown DC around 4:30. Sunday meant no typical rush hour traffic, but we were far from alone on the road. We drove along the Mall of America for a while, and finally managed to find a parking spot with a three hour limit (some others didn’t allow parking for more than one or two hours, and we planned to walk around a bit). We still hadn’t found a place to stay for the night, and were a bit anxcious about that. So we decided to bring the Mac, and if possible, log on from a restaurant or so to find a hotel.
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
We parked fairly close to the Capitol Hill, so naturally we headed there first. It’s a beautiful building, and the great weather made for a splendid Sunday at the Mall. We strolled around, taking photographs and looking at locals and other tourists hanging out in the park. We started the long walk down to the Lincoln Monument, in the other end of the Mall. It’s “only” 2 miles (3km) from one end to the other, but it was really hot and we had to get back to the car in time. Selma was really pleased to be carrying the Powerbook in her bag, and had to turn to Louis the Strong for help on parts of the walk.
The Washington Monument in DC - with the sun in our face (and lens)
Halfway down we passed the Washington Monument, which was a loooot taller than we’d imagined. From there, we got our first look at the White House as well, and realized we wouldn’t have time to walk down there that night. Instead, we walked down to the Lincoln Monument, snapping a bunch of shots of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool on the way.
The Lincoln Memorial was crowded with other tourists, so we almost had to take turns shooting pictures of Abe in his chair. But it was really something to be there and see the well known monument ourselves. But the clock was ticking, and we had to start on the (almost) two mile walk back to the car. We didn’t really bother to check for wi-fi connection at any of the monuments, so we still hadn’t booked beds for the night (hurrah! for carrying the Mac around!)
The Washington Monument and the Reflecting pool, as seen from Lincoln Memorial
By now it was 7:30 pm, and we were ready for some food. We drove a couple of miles out of the city and down to Alexandria. We passed a Days Inn that we had read about online (before we lost contact with the world), and decided to drive back there after getting dinner down at the old town of Alexandria. This turned out to be a really idyllic haven, with cobblestone streets and lovely restaurants, just a few minutes out of downtown DC! We had great dinner at a really nice restaurant and walked around in the atmospherical streets for a while. Selma needed some cigarettes, so we walked into a tobacco store - and Louis figured he’d fuel up his lighter (seen dangling around his neck on several of our photos). The guy behind the counter accidentally made a part of it fall off, and felt really, really bad about it. He tried fixing it, without luck, and ended up giving him a new lighter instead. He was a really nice fellow, and gave us some tips for our upcoming visit to Savannah.
Alexandria by night
Then we drove up to the Days Inn, and luckily we got a room without much trouble. As usual, Selma tried to get online as soon as we got in, but again: No connection. The hotel had advertised their free high-speed wi-fi internet connection, so Selma went down to ask at the front desk. And, it turned out their internet had been down for a couple of days. Just our luck. But then there was not much to do but to crawl under the covers and try to get some sleep!