Independence Day at Washington DC
The rest of the long drive was uneventful. When it was my turn to drive I felt myself getting more comfortable with the car and the unfamiliar driving. No problems with directions and I put the cruise control to good use. We napped for a while at a nice rest area, and was energetic enough to continue.
Texas gave way to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and finally Virginia before hitting DC. We had our fair share of thunderstorms but nothing like Saturday. Arrived in good shape despite the long hours on the road.
Our hotel for the next 4 nights would be the Helix, which was pretty centrally located. It was also advertised as a boutique hotel, and it was decorated lavishly. It was part of the Kimpton group and one of their biggest selling points was free wifi in all areas of the hotel — it took me a long time to connect and the connection was slow, but it was free. Yes I was grumpy when it didn’t connect but I got over it. Hee.
When we arrived, we drove through town and saw a lot of people milling about. Plus there was a heavy police presence and I thought they were having a security lockdown. The hotel told us that earlier the Mall was cleared … not because of security but because of thunder and tornado threat (!!!). When we got to our room we checked on the TV and again with the front desk and they confirmed that the July 4th events would go ahead as planned.
So we walked towards the Mall, together with a few hundred people. It was a good mile at least but very pleasant and lots to see. There was a bag check into the grass area around the Washington Monument but it was done with efficiency. We found a spot with a good view of the monument and shortly after the fireworks started. We were too far away to hear the music but the fireworks were spectacular.
Walked back to the hotel and ordered pizza for late dinner. My first impression of DC? Large and there was an air of importance everywhere. I mean New York is full of skyscrapers, London has historical buildings all over the place, Hong Kong has the horrendously fast pace and Tokyo the neon lights … but Washington DC has gravitas. That’s the best I can describe it so far.