Thursday, February 24, 2011

HI D.C. Hostel

Most of the amazing adventures I had the pleasure to enjoy in my life. Would not of been possible without the support of Hostelling International. These low cost accommodations gives the young, and the young at heart the opportunity to venture out into this big and amazing planet that we get to call home.

The (HI) Hostel International Hostel located right downtown Washington D.C. Gave me a very enjoyable week to enjoy all of the sites in D.C. The hostel is so well situated. It is a 10 minute walk from the MetroRail station located at the Metro Center. Located at 1009 11th Street N.W. It is easy to walk to the "National Mall" to enjoy the; memorials, monuments, and the Smithsonian museums. Also public transit was also readily available when needed.

I would like to thank all for the friendly and informative staff working at the HI D.C Hostel. The friendly and helpful staff is another great advantage for staying at a Hostelling International Hostel.

I have included some great pictures of the hostel.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

O Canada

Here is a picture of our Canadian Embassy located in Washington D.C. It is the most impressive foreign embassy that I witnessed during my visit to Washington. It is located a the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 4th St.

Here is a link to our National Anthem "O Canada".

I was told by a friend. If a Canadian based NHL team is playing the Washington Capitals. You can go to our embassy and they will give you free tickets to the game. Just show them proof of Canadian citizenship.

Ford's Theatre

On the last day of my Washington D.C. experience. This has been a very good trip. I went to visit the Ford's Theatre where on April 14, 1865 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. I believe it is a must see when you come to visit the American Capital City. Like a lot of the impressive attractions located here in Washington D.C. The admission is free to take a self guided walking tour to see the this historic theatre.

The American Civil War had ended. But famous actor John Wilkes Booth. Who was a racist and was bitter because the South had lost the Civil War. Killed President Lincoln as an act of revenge. "Our American Cousin" was the play that was on the night of the shooting. John Fredrick Parker a Washington Police officer was assigned to guard The Presidential Party attending the play. But was not at his post when John Wilkes Booth entered the Presidential Box at 10:15PM shooting President Lincoln in the back of head, from point blank range. The weapon used was a one shot Deringer. President Abraham Lincoln died the following morning on April 15th, 1865.

The Ford's Theatre has been restored to the way the it looked at the time the assassination took place.
The murder weapon is on display. Located in the museum in basement of the Theatre.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Georgetown Steps

Went on a night tour of the famous very wealthy neighbored of Georgetown. Located in the city of Washington D.C. Georgetown is famous for it's old and prestigious university, for being the place where the elite that work in Washington live. There is a lot overly overpriced real estate here!!! It is also the place where the famous horror movie The Exorcist" was filmed in 1973. Great friend and fellow traveler Al. Advised me to take some pictures of the famous steps. That were used for making this movie. Here are my night shots of the steps!! If you do come to Georgetown and visit the steps. Make sure not to fall. There are 75 steps from the top to the bottom.

Thanks to our tour guide Mark for doing a great job.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mt. Vernon- The Washington Estate

Going out to visit the George Washington Estate was one of the highlights of my trip to Washington. The estate located in Mt. Vernon has been very well preserved. It is a good insight to the life of the first American President. Who contributed a lot to try and establish. A good standard of life for all people living in a democracy. George Washington was also famous for his accomplishments in life. As a Commander of the armed forces, a politician, and was also a talented farmer. Enjoy the photos.

MetroRail, the better way?

It has been a monumental day spent here in the Washington D.C. area. I journeyed out to visit the George Washington estate located in a place named Mt. Vernon. Which is located in the state of Virginia. About 15 miles away from downtown D.C.

The rapid transit train system located here in the Washington D.C. area is named "MetroRail". I thought I would do a post because I am fascinated by urban rail systems. I have had the luxury of riding on some of the best systems in the world. There are good and bad points reviewing all of them.

Here is the Good and the Bad about Metro Rail.
The Good; The cars are big and usually clean. They don't allowing any eating on the trains, all the employees that I met were friendly, there is a lot of overlapping in the lines. Meaning that you may be able to take two different routes to get to the same destination, they have a modern way to pay to get on and off of Metro Rail, the system can't get ripped off by forgery tickets or tokens, and you pay by the distance, not the ride.

The Bad; All the underground stations look identical, they are poorly marked, and it is too dark down there, there are numerous escalators outages, also there is not enough stations in the places where they should be located, in downtown D.C.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

D.C. by Night!

After my very enjoyable salad dinner. I completed what has become a Washington D.C. ritual. By tourists and locals alike. Enjoying the monuments located in "The National Mall" at night time.

Check out my shots of D.C. by night.

Salad Anyone?

Last Saturday night. I discovered a great place to eat here in Washington. The eatery is named "Chop'T". If you are a vegetarian. Or just like eating healthy. Then you will enjoy the salads and food they chop for you at "Chop'T". I have become addicted to eating these salads. To the point I don't really even care. That they are good for you. Because they just taste so great!!! In the out of proportion prices and times that they we now are living in. Chop'T slads are great value. Enjoying a dinner eating out for under $10. Were can you find that these days. Oh, your right. You can still eat cheap at Mickie "D's".

So far you can only find "Chop'T" restaurants in New York City, and Washington D.C. But maybe there will be a location coming to Toronto in the near future. After all I did say I am addicted!!!

On this night I enjoyed;
Cobb Salad
Grilled chicken, avocado, smoked bacon, crumbled egg, crumbled blue cheese and tomato chop’t with iceberg and romaine lettuce with dijon vinaigrette

The Library of Congress

One of my favorite parts of visiting Washington D.C. Is my visit to the world famous "Library of Congress". It is an extraordinary building. I am taking about the original building. Which is named after Thomas Jefferson. The collection of book, documents, publications, videos, etc. Over time has grown so large. That the entire collection is now housed in 4 buildings.

Collection Size
21,814,555 cataloged books in the Library of Congress classification system 5,600 incunabula (books printed before 1500), monographs and serials, music, bound newspapers, pamphlets, technical reports, and other printed material, and 109,029,796 items in the nonclassified (special) collections
142,544,498 total Items

The rarest books that are housed in the Jefferson Building is the only know copy of Giant Bible of Mainz, which is priceless, and one of the best existing copy of the Gutenberg Bible which is valued at $25 to $35 million.

The top 3 pictures I did not take. As the library prohibits pictures being taken of; The Gutenberg Bible, The Bible of Mainz and the main reading room in the Jefferson Building.

Have, to Have Hope!!!

My next visit was back to visit the Natural Science Museum. After several attempts. I finally got a clear image of the one of a kind "Hope Diamond"

The Hope Diamond (previously "Le bleu de France") is a large, 45.52 carats (9.10 g), deep-blue diamond, housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but it exhibits red phosphorescence after exposure to ultraviolet light. It is classified as a Type IIb diamond, and is famous for supposedly being cursed. It received its newest setting on November 18th, 2010. The Hope Diamond is valued at $200 to $250 million.

The Historic Willard

I went on another self guided tour of Washington today. My first stop was at the historic Willard Hotel, which is located at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14 Street. Here is the history of the Hotel, and one very good picture of the exterior which I took today.

A most celebrated historic Washington DC hotel, the Willard InterContinental Washington, has been the focal point for elegant dinners, meetings, and gala social events for more than 150 years. An institution, this grand Washington DC historic hotel has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce in 1853. On August 28, 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King finished his famous “I Have A Dream” speech while a guest at the Willard. Other notable guests have included Charles Dickens, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, Lord and Lady Napper, and countless others. Walt Whitman mentioned the hotel in his works; and Mark Twain penned two books here in the early 1900s. Throughout the ages, no phrase has raised eyebrows like “I’m staying at the Willard.”