Impressions of Washington DC

Impressions of Washington DC

Hey! I’m back to blogging now after a bit of a break. To be honest, I lost a lot of the momentum needed for blogging regularly, and I haven’t been travelling that much lately so didn’t have much to say. It was nice to take a break actually, and in that time I decided that I want to try and make this blog more personal, and only blog when I really have something I want to write about and share, and not just post every week because…habit? Anyway, so I recently got back to Europe from a short trip to the United States – in fact the second this year. First stop was Washington DC. Here are some thoughts.

I can’t say I was especially excited about visiting the US capital. Zab and I flew in there to attend a family wedding in nearby Maryland, and gave ourselves a couple of days in the city to get over jet lag and see what we found. I didn’t have any expectations of the city really, and I suppose most of my images of it were entirely shaped by watching The West Wing obsessively some years ago!

What I found in Washington DC though, surprised me. In just two days, I didn’t get to see so much of the city, but I was pleasantly surprised by several aspects.

You can get around without a car

I have this (probably inaccurate) image that the United States is somewhere that is not pedestrian-friendly and has terrible public transport. The capital proved me wrong on both accounts, as even from where I stayed with Airbnb, I could walk to the downtown area in around 30 minutes on uncrowded pavements. Perhaps locals wouldn’t do this, and would think that a 30 minute walk is crazy far (indeed that’s probably why the streets were so quiet!), but the fact that it’s possible was nice to see.

I only used the metro (and yes, it’s called the metro, not subway here!) twice, but it’s clearly a modern and easy to use system with connectivity, services and prices comparable to any European city of a similar size. So, overall, no car needed…which is a good thing because I can’t drive!

There are loads of free museums

This is one thing I knew vaguely before coming to DC, but I guess I didn’t register just how many there were, and the scope of topics covered by the city’s impressive museums. All of the museums belonging to the Smithsonian Institute have totally free entry, of which there are many! Some of the most popular are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American Art and the National Museum of American American History and Culture.

With only limited time in the city, and while still getting over jet lag (I didn’t want to be indoors with artificial light when the sun was up too long!) I only visited a couple, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden which has some really cool and very sci-fi architecture!

It has some excellent vegan food

By this, I am mainly referring to the breakfasts at Fare Well on hip H Street. I went here twice, and after a transatlantic flight and not enough sleep, their breakfast tacos with tofu scramble were exactly what I was craving! They also had pancakes with seitan sausage, mushroom bacon and maple syrup which was the perfect carb bomb that I wanted the second day! And their cakes and pastries were to die for!

Another place I tried was Soupergirl, serving a nice range of all vegan (you guessed it) soup. The soups were good, but the lack of seating at their downtown branch was a little annoying. I also had my first experience of American Whole Foods while in DC, which was in equal measures overwhelming, horrifying and fascinating. I did discover Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, possibly my new favourite vegan sweet snack!

Have you ever been to Washington DC? What did you think of the city?