Wow okay, so I drove myself in a hired car from Pittsburgh International Airport to Washington, D.C. Thankfully I decided to rent a GPS with the car. Why? It’s better than trying to read a map or directions or google maps on your phone while driving. Also if you miss a turn or an exit, the GPS will re-route you. It took me awhile to leave the airport as I was testing the GPS, the unit I was given didn’t want to come on even though it was connected to the power. I had to go back in and get a different unit.
The roads were busy! There were a lot of trucks. It was exciting to be road-tripping to another city. I found other drivers on the road to be much politer than in SA. I stopped halfway through my roadtrip at Breeze (similar to a Shell Utracity here in SA) to use the loo and have some lunch.
I figured it would be a good idea to go straight to the hotel when I arrived in DC and drop off my luggage before going to return the car at Ronald Regan International airport, maybe even drive around the city if there was enough time. It turned out to be a good decision to go to the hotel first because the hotel did not have my reservation on their system! For some reason the Bookings.Com site did not synch to the hotel system. They didn’t have any rooms available for that night. Ahmed, at reception was good enough to find me accommodation at One Washington Circle hotel at the same rate. This was a few km away, and I was glad for the car. The room at One Washington Circle was huge! It was older than the hotel I had booked at, but it was much closer to the touristy bits of the city.
I was glad for the mobile phone that Arti loaned me as I could call Arti, Corrie, Des and Verna every so often. I was glad that even though I did not have voice call roaming on my iphone, that Googlemaps worked. It saved me from having to carry a large tourist map around, I could use the GPS on the phone to see the direction I was walking in and Gmaps helped me get my bearings very quickly.
Driving on the ‘other side’ of the road wasn’t difficult. After an hr or two you forget its the ‘wrong’ side of the road. DC is a beautiful city, not what I expected. Lots of green spaces which I love. There is a lot of buzz and people around and many interesting characters.
Corrie looked up some well rated places on Tripadvisor for me to have dinner. Decided to try Dukem an Ethiopian restaurant on U Street. I took the metro train from the airport directly to U Street station. There was still daylight when I walked out of the station at 8:10pm.
It was my first time eating Ethiopian food, I was looking forward to it as many people have been raving about Ethiopian food. I didn’t really like the flavour. The concept of the meal is good but nope not a fan. I did enjoy the injera bread though. The service at Dukem was not great either. The waitresses were not very helpful in explaining what the different dishes were. The lamb dish that I ordered tasted very much like overcooked beef.
It was about 9pm when I left the restaurant, there was a nice buzz out, people were out and about and the weather was warm , I decided to walk back to the hotel. It took me about 2 hours to arrive at the hotel. Stopped at a store to buy a chocolate for dessert – Snickers Almond bar. Much better than the peanut bar. I liked exploring the different neighbourhoods. At first the plan was to walk past the White House at night to get some night photos, but my feet were so exhausted from the walking and exhausted from the long drive…
Day 2 dc
I did a lot of walking on this day. It was about 37 degrees celcius and very humid/muggy. I returned some headphones I bought from RadioShack at the Breeze halfway stop.
Did I say it was hot out?. Burning hot! Should have used my umbrella as shade. The Asian tourists walking around dc with their umbrellas for shade were smart! I didn’t really have summer clothing, just some gym shorts – so that is what I wore.
Headed towards Lincoln memorial and on the way there past by the reflection pool. It was very busy with many tour bus-loads of people. Had lunch at a whole foods market near Foggy Bottom. The food was fresh but not very flavoursome. However I did enjoy the free-wifi in the store. Afterwards I stopped for waffles at Brasserie Beck, mostly to get out of the heat and sit in a cool place. I sat at the bar because I felt a bit under-dressed for the place. The bartender was friendly and provided excellent service. After stuffing my belly with peanut butter belgian waffles and ice-cream, I walked towards the National Mall, passed the fbi building to the Smithsonian. I am not a fan of museums. Next time I think I will spend less time at museums.
In the afternoon I took the metro back to the hotel for a short break. I took bus to George Town, walked around the high streets and the side streets admiring the beautiful buildings that people lived in, the trendy stores and overall just the lovely atmosphere.
I bought my first corn cob pipe from a tobacco store in George Town. I love how friendly the people were in the store, smoking their pipes and cigars. The pipe I bought was the cheapest at $10. Prob won’t last very long but the others were from $40-$200.
Had a burger at Five Guys burger place. Nothing to write home about. The air-conditioning in the store was out, and it was boiling in that place!
Discovered that the metro cards didn’t work on the buses and the bus trips were $1.80 per ride. After Georgetown I took a bus towards the White House. When I arrived at the White House at around 8pm, I found it to be quire unimpressive… could have just skipped it. It is much smaller than it looks on tv. Bleh.
Think I loaded $15 onto my metro fare card at the airport after i dropped off the car and that was enough for the one day around dc and back to the airport.
I didn’t eat any memorable food in dc even though it looked like there were loads of lovely places to eat. Just didn’t have enough time.
I enjoyed my stay in DC, and I wish that I had planned a few more days there. It isn’t what I expected and I liked it more than I thought I would.