I never gave a thought to visiting Washington D.C., thinking it would be way too nationalistic a destination and that I’d seen everything I needed to see on The West Wing.
In actual fact D.C. took me totally by surprise. From the moment I got off the Amtrak (another surprisingly positive experience) I was having a good time. Of the mostly central parts we visited it was clean, green and positively blooming with water fountains and ‘trash’ receptacles. Despite having no representation in Congress, this is clearly a city that sees a lot of funding. But then again, I did not venture anywhere near what might be described as the ghetto.
Be prepared to walk here. On the first day we walked the whole Mall, walked up to Eastern Market, toured the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and then back up to Dupont Circle via Georgetown. After four years of living in France and thinking it was a hoax, I finally experienced what the French call ‘heavy legs‘. Too tired to even go out for dinner I crawled into bed and passed out. Luckily the excellent Vietnamese sandwich from Ba Bay had more than supplied my dietary needs for the day.
The next day we squeezed in a tour of Congress (you can book one online) and visited both the Senate and House galleries although it appeared to be a day off as both wings were empty. Slackers.
We also attended a lecture at the Supreme court which was interesting and it was a beautiful building to visit. Just don’t eat at the cafeteria. A final push for the obligatory White House photo-op (our good friend Obazza was in NYC otherwise I’m sure he’d have invited us in) and a brief look in the Air&Space museum and we crumpled into a cab home.
Again too (literally) sick and tired to go out we camped out at the B&B. Damn jet lag. Damn lungs. Damn thermometer.
Luckily we’d managed to squeeze in one night out in the Adams Morgan area of D.C. on the day we arrived. We started with cocktails on the roof deck at Local 16, a fun bar mainly populated with young professionals but where flipflops and casualwear were mingling easily with the suited and booted. Next we trolled the length of 18th street which has plenty to offer in terms of eateries and drinkeries.
Our next drink was at Grand Central which looked fun from the outside but was clearly a bit too studenty for us. We were surrounded by young ‘uns all wearing the same kickball tournament T-shirt so we necked our plastic pints of Bud Light and moved on to dinner at Meze. A solid recommendation from a friend, it did not disappoint. The menu takes a while to decipher but we were soon surrounded by plates of succulent kofte meatballs, moreish roasted pepper and hummus dips and crispy filo cigars filled with warm, melting feta cheese.
For a digestif we hopped a few doors down to Bourbon where you get your liquor not in shots but “flights”. After my tasting “flight” of Agave, Corn and Rye bourbons I think I may have had a crash landing and Stack said he knew it was time to take me home as I’d put my “meerkat” face on. Thus ended our first and, for now, last night out in D.C.
Our final morning in D.C. was spent brunching in the sun with Hank and Georgia of Midnight Train to D.C., a must-read for feminists, Washingtonians or those who appreciate a good dose of dry British humour with their eggs in the morning.