Sunday, December 16, 2012

More monuments and memorials

After our success with the rent a bikes yesterday we picked up another lot this morning to ride out to Arlington cemetery. Those who know both Washington and me will understand that this was a fairly big challenge but you will be pleased to know I passed it with flying colors.

We rode back down through the Mall and stopped to take a few more photos and then cycled over the Arlington bridge to the cemetery itself. There are 624 acres of grave sites at Arlington, row upon row, upon row of white headstones, adorned at this time of the year by simple Christmas wreaths.

Amongst the rows lie memorials to many famous servicemen and women, including the Challenger and Columbia crews and the Kennedy family. Visiting Jack Kennedy's grave site was even more poignant after being in Dallas last month. He is buried in a beautiful site, alongside Jackie, their stillborn daughter and infant son Patrick. The site overlooks the Lincoln and Washington monuments and is truly a peaceful and lovely place.

We also visited the tomb of the unknown soldier and watched the changing of the guard. The respect and discipline of the young men on this watch is amazing. They perform a routine of measured steps based on the 21 gun salute , walk 21 steps, wait 21 seconds , turn, repeat. On every hour a change over ceremony takes place.

After we'd ridden back over the bridge we took a look at the White House from the front door, the Pennsylvania Ave side. I liked this view much better. They are in the middle of preparations here for the inauguration in January, with the spectator platforms almost complete. While we were there President Obama's helicopter took off for his visit to Connecticut.

It was only when we went to return the bikes that we realised we should have read the instructions more carefully when we rented them. Free for the first 30mins, $2 for up to an hour and then $8 for EACH 30 minutes after that. Times 4 bikes. We'd been on them all day. Ooops!

We wandered through Macy's while we caught up on our Drama student's final VCE scores via email and messenger. We've been sweating on their results for a few weeks and it was great to hear that our class had all done really well.

After two beautifully clear and still days it started to rain as we walked home. Too tired for anything else we resorted to the Irish pub around the corner again for dinner.

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