Hey. As our stay in the states continued our lovely hosts – our American grandparents prepared another amazing trip for us. Weekend in Washington. We went there for 3 days by car. Everyone we mentioned this trip to was very surprised that Frankie as a big workaholic would take time off from work to take this trip with us.
We were very happy he did as we had a wonderful time.
It went like this:
The road trip from Avon to Washington took a few hours and honestly I had no idea how it went on as I was sleeping the whole ride. We all expect the driver whereas our other trips wore us off. I woke up when we arrived at the suburbia of Washington. It was nothing like I imagined. It looked just like in any other city in Slovakia with small houses all over. That was the first surprise for me. Until we got further to the center of the city it started to look like from the movies we see all the time.
We were staying in this beautiful, luxurious and expensively looking hotel in center of city called Churchill Hotel.
Our generous hosts were paying for our stay, but I could track back the price and it was around 100$ per night for our suit. I and my cousins were staying in one room and my grandparents in other. Room was incredibly nicely decorated, I loved it so much. It was so sad we couldn’t stay for longer.
We had lovely stay in there. We didn’t eat at the hotel as every morning we went to have breakfast or diner in some local restaurant. Our hosts made sure we tried everything that was new for us like bagels for example.
Don’t judge me please but I really don’t understand why it’s so popular. It was ok tasting but nothing special for me.
But hey I tried it.
Every day was filled with exploring Washington with just a map of the city with highlighted famous attractions. Washington Monument was our safe point and we circled its surroundings and meet up with Frank there as he’s not much of a tourist. We took our tour with only his wife Sue and she was the amazing tour guide. We visited World War II Memorial and then the Lincoln Memorial. They were shooting some movie in there so we had to get around a bunch of film people. I found Vietnam Veterans Memorial very interesting. Of course, we saw all of the politically important buildings like The US Capitol, Capitol Hill, and The White House but only from the backside. On our first day, we visited Arlington National Cemetery and it was spectacular. I was so fascinated by it. We even saw the exchange of guards and the Unknown soldier memorial.
I took a bunch of photos:
We took the metro to the cemetery but otherwise, we were traveling by taxi cabs. We met many interesting drivers – there was this guy who speaks Russian and was flirting with my cousin. Or the guy with long red beard.
It was great for practicing our English with English speakers only as we tend to speak Slovak in between ourselves but not this time.
As this was before the big American election, topic as Trump vs. Hilary was very common in our discussions. I remember this taxi driver from Nigeria who was very nice and had very interesting things to share with us about being a taxi driver for over (not really sure) 7-8 years, told us that his stay in America depends if his candidate will win the election.
Every evening we had dinner and a few drinks even when legally we were not allowed to drink in there at that time as we were just 20 and not 21. But our grandparents always managed to sneak us some champagne.
Another day we tried french toast for breakfast: (it wasn’t our first as they prepared this for us before but it’s still delicious)
And visited the Holocaust museum.
It was so huge it had like 4 floors but we were only able to visit 2 of them and we ran out of time as our next attraction was starting. But even the 2 floors we visited made big impression on me. The top floor was mostly about how it all started and how Hitler got in power in the first place. They showed bunch of videos from his campaign with famous quote “Make Germany great again” and it was incredible to see so many people laugh awkwardly at this. Let me remind you that my trip was summer before Trump was elected president. People around me just laughed at the similarity of quotes from Trump and Hitler, and as one guy there commented ” this won’t happen again” (oh honey) .
On second floor we each got individual cart (small book) with name of one jew who died in concentration camps. I had this young girl named Julie who died because she offered bread to Jewish kids on the street and she got killed because of that. I still got that card. The building was full of authentic goods from concentration camps, boots, bones and many photos and quotes.
I’m gonna talk about this experience for a while.
I appreciate the effort the owners put into it as it was really well made – but that wasn’t what made the biggest impact on me. I knew everything they taught, showed or played there long before I stepped into the museum. No photo or video was shocking for me as we in Slovakia learn about all of it in school from a young age. For me it was just like another school lesson from history. What struck me the most was reaction of people all around me. They were truly interested in every article there to be found, watched videos gasping and looked really horrified by everything there was stated.
It was very weird for me to even see our hosts Frank and Sue talking about the holocaust in such a surprised tone so I got to ask them why is that.
Sue is teacher and she explained to us that most Americans have no idea about what happened in Europe at that time and people get information about it only in museums like the one we were in (or the internet and movies) . People around us were literally hearing about actions that went down in Holocaust (and maybe about the holocaust itself) for the first time at that time and place – in the Holocaust museum in DC. The lack of information people have about it was what hit me the most.
I know I personally don’t know much about American history but i know at least the main information there is to know.
I never personally been there, but my cousins who had visited an actual concentration camp in Oświęcim Poland said that the Holocaust museum in Washington was nothing in comparison to a real place where you can see the place where millions of people died, see their bones and hair ripped out and just feel the horrible spirit of that place. It’s not something you can really replicate.
Changing subject. Our next museum was the National museum of natural history. A great plus of this museum is that it’s for free but great minus is that it is overcrowded with people. Anyway we had a great time there, it’s so huge and you would need days to really check everything they have to offer.
Again we need to exit it way too soon for my liking and run for another attraction that was starting soon.
The weather suddenly turned bad and it started to rain which was just horrible for my choice of footwear – flip-flops. Our next stop was Madame Tussaud Washington D.C. Again I wasn’t very impressed. Tickets to madam Tussaud’s are always very expensive and this one didn’t have as many figurines to show. It was over very quickly. They have a bunch of figurines I had no idea who it was – mostly older American presidents and other political figures which is great it you’re from America but for tourists, as for me, it wasn’t very interesting. But not to be all critical they had many famous figurines of actors, singers and sportsmen as well. It was a pity we got rained on just before we went into the museum so on every photo we look badly:
Best Madame Tussaud museum I ever visited was the one in London.
It was much bigger and had an incredible amount of famous figurines.
We meet up for this trip with Frank and Sues son and his girlfriend. We had dinner together, spend nice time chatting. I got my very first vegetarian burgher in there:
Honestly, I had a great time in Washington but it didn’t make a huge impact on me as New York did.
I found everything in Washington to be large and far away. We needed to take long walks to get somewhere. It’s very clear historic city and as I didn’t know much about its history it wasn’t as appealing to me. I’m glad I visited but I doubt I’ll be ever going back there. I’m grateful I got to see it and experience its beauty on my own thanks to our American grandparents who made it all possible for us.
Thank you for your attention