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Saturday, March 25, 2006
Out and About in Washington DC
Over the years I've been to Washington DC more than a dozen times, but I've never really done the 'tourist' bit. Over the next few days I'm going to put that right and visit some of the sights. Today I'm going to the Holocaust Museum, which I'm told will mean that by the end of the day I'll be an emotional wreck. I cannot imagine it will be as bad as visiting Buchenwald or Dachau, which I have done, but who knows? I also want to visit the new World War II Memorial (pic), which is truly stunning in its grandeur. It reminds me of one of the memorials I have visited on the Normandy coast. Yesterday I went to the Spy Museum, but rather wish I hadn't. It seems entirely aimed at 15 year olds, and sure enough the place was full of them. Most of the exhibits were replicas and although huge amounts of money had obviously been spent on presenting I didn't feel that it was really an authentic museum - more like a series of exhibition stands.
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I hope it's better than the animals and women memorials that have gone up in London in recent years. They are kitsch beyond belief. It especially annoys me that the women one says "Women of World War II" when the normal usuage in these islands is "the second world war". The animals one is just post-modern bollocks.
Make sure you visit the Jefferson Memorial - and not just because the Lincoln Memorial is usually packed!
Otherwise for me the best parts of the tourist side of DC have to be the Library of Congress - to quote Yeltsin "And you built all this without a Tsar?" - and the National Archives.
I second the Jefferson Memorial - a wonderful tribute to freedom.
Arlington National Cemetary is also amazing - so many famous names from the past there.
Yes to Jefferson and Arlington too, but also the National Air and Space Museum - don't miss that!
p.s. I now feel like a scolded schoolboy, I rather enjoyed the International Spy Museum!
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