My initial thoughts as we walked to our hotel from the train station were, this is so much cleaner and quieter than New York, gone were the towering skyscrapers, busy sidewalks and the eternal blaring of car horns. In their place were large short grey and white brick buildings, pavements devoid of trash and slightly more patient drivers. After travelling all day we decided to eat at a bar round the corner from a hotel, it was basically an American weatherspoons and it was perfect.
No kids no kids no kids
The great thing about DC for tourists is the large collection of museums and galleries that are owned by the Smithersonian institution and are all free to enter. Amazing I thought as I headed down to the National Mall where the majority of them are situated. I approached the museum of African American history to find a massive queue formed of four or five different school trips, each group wearing bright coloured trip specific t-shirts. Deciding that joining them did not feel like a fun idea I moved on to the national history museum and then the natural history museum both times finding the same scenes. The thought of walking through a museum with 200 shouting children did not fill me with joy so I went across to the galleries on the other side of the mall. I decended a large stone spiral staircase and found myself in an underground labyrinth of an art gallery, which was not full of school children but was earily silent, I didn’t see another person for a good ten minutes.
Four? Four for this gourd? Look at it. It’s worth ten if it’s worth a sheckle.
After finding my way back up to street level I found myself at a sculpture gallery and knew I was in for a treat when I found this outside the entrance…
Initial thoughts were not positive, someone’s dropped a big rock on a car, I was not very impressed, but then I walked around it and saw…
I don’t know why but that little face made me smile and I suddenly became a big fan of the crushed car.
After entering the building I went up an escalator to be faced by this monstrosity slumped in the corner
The photos don’t quite give its scale any justice, it was as tall as me and I can conform he was anatomicaly correct…
Continuing the theme of terrifying art I also saw a silent hill inspired Pinocchio
And what I’m calling a painting of Mr blobbys mother.
I mean just look at it, this is the face of madness.
After leaving the carnival of horrors that was the sculpture gallery I found myself at the space and science museum, after wandering around the spaceships and rockets for a while a loudspeaker announced that Star Wars: A New Hope would be playing in the museums imax for free. Amazing. As the lights went down a red lightsaber lit up at the front illuminating a guy in a full darthvader costume as a brass band played the star wars theme, it was a very enjoyable experience but left me wishing I was a proper star wars geek because some of the people in the audience were LOVING IT. I mean I really like star wars but I did fall asleep in the cinema when I saw the Force Awakens. As I was leaving the museum after the film there were about 20/30 people in different star wars costumes in the foyer the best was a security guard dressed as Han Solo with a big Alsation as his Chewbacca. It had truly been a great day of free things.
The next day I headed down to the museums fairly early and managed to avoid the hoards of school children. In the national history museum I joined a free tour which was mostly about American independence and it was a bit odd Britain being referred to as the baddies the whole time. The tour took a brief step away from the terrible British narrative to see a room dedicated to americas first ladies. It was a room of chinaware that different first ladies had bought to the white house and the different dresses that the first ladies had worn throughout history…I found myself missing the part of the tour where I was a baddie.
Segs in the city
This was a thing that was recommended to us by the couple we met at the brooklyn brewery and after seeing how many monuments their were and how spread out they were it seemed like a good idea also with the name Segs in the city we kinda had to do it. After some initial trepidation from both Lucie and I we quickly got the hang of it and we’re happily zipping along. It was so much fun I wish I could segway everywhere. Our tour guide was a nice guy and fairly informative but he unfortunately didn’t hold a candel up to our NY literary pup crawl tour guide Kurt who has somewhat inexplicably worked his way into our hearts as the ultimate tour guide.
America F*@# yeah
It turned out we were in America for memorial day which meant that Lucie got an extra day off, and we got to experience some proper American patriotism, first we watched rolling thunder which involves war veterans riding a circuit around DC on motorbikes, mostly Harleys, and raising money to find and account for soilders who are missing in action or prisoners of war. It was started in 1987 by two Vietnam veterans and they gathered 2,500 riders that first year this year there was an estimated 1,000,000 riders.
We then watched DC’s memorial day parade which involved floats, marching soldiers, WW2 vets in vintage cars and so so so soooooo many high school Marching bands
Both events bought out big crowds all along the road side and plenty of cheering and flag waving.
Final DC art round up: Ghost clock
After my earlier sculpture experiences both Lucie and I reacted with scorn to this sculpture, we discussed how throwing a sheet over a clock to make it a ” ghost” is ridiculous and should definitely not be in a gallery.
However on closer inspection and after reading the information it turns out the entire thing was sculpted from a solid price of wood, and the sheet is actually painted wood. We were both completely fooled by it, so I’m awarding it the highly prestigious award of Best Sculpture: The Hovis Awards
As our week in DC drew to a close we packed our bags and prepared for our flight to Chicago. The windy city awaits us.