Travel Report America


Leaving Europe for the first time - destination: Washington D.C.
 

“God created war so that Americans would learn geography” – Mark Twain
 

As we had finished our final exams at school a close friend of mine decided to spend a year in the USA in Washington D.C. As soon as she was able to convince her host-family with her great manner and work, they allowed her to be visited by a German friend. That was me! I couldn´t have done anything else but take an opportunity like that. So I saved up a lot of money - no hotel and food was necessary – and I spent 10 days in that fairly different world.
During that short time I experienced so many new things and I needed at least three more weeks to merely handle all of it. 


My first steps in the States…                                                                     

I expected the entry to be the worst, but it turned out to be achievable. My flight from Paris was already delayed and the checks and controls downstairs in the airport´s cellar in Washington were intensively time consuming. A nice guy lent me his phone, so that I could call my friend Else and warn her, that I would be late. After approximately one and a half hour it was my turn at the counter. An employee took down my fingerprints and asked me a few questions, for example why I had been there, whom I had wanted to visit, for how long… I was observably nervous, but that was all.
When I reached the end of the terminal I had to pass a quite angry woman, who wanted to see my ticket and passport another time, but after that it was finally time to get to the top and be able to hug my best girl, who was already waiting for about 3 hours at the airport.   
I was the first friend, who had visited her after about 7 months and it was accordingly surprising and full of joy when we met us. I was only glancing a bit of Washington´s evening sunshine when it was all black again and I had a big shock of hair in my face.

On our way home from the airport Else told me a few things she had already experienced and that a few typical prejudices had become true. The first things that caught my eyes were the prices. We had to pay 20 dollars for the parking ticket at the airport! If you want to take the highway you also have to pay and if you don´t pay before you drive you will likely need to pay another high bill…


The district, the house and the kids

Alexandria is located in the south of Washington D.C. The houses looked very similar to me and on top of that, they all stood the same distance from the street and between themselves. In the backyard were lots of children´s toys and games and I heard a few dogs barking. It was adorable. But there was something I was taken aback by. Those neighbors do not lock their doors. Actually they are open all the time. I do not think that something like that can happen in Germany or Europe generally. So much self-esteem is unbelievable. The only security will probably be the dogs and the toys as a tripping hazard.
In contrast, every house is provided with an air conditioner. The air humidity is much higher than what I was used to in Germany. But the ten days heat had been much better than rainy days.

 
Washington D.C.

Roughly 20 minutes were necessary to reach the centre of Washington by subway. Washington is an exceedingly clean and modern city. The art of buildings changes between old and ornate ones and very big and sterile complexes. Everywhere there are green beauty spots and while the sun is shining it all looks absolutely beautiful.
The first place I wanted to visit was the Capitol. A huge garden was planted around the building, which had to be passed. After five minutes of walking through trees and roses, I still couldn´t tour the whole building. It was huge and I was speechless at its size. You seemed to be able to see the Earth curvature by standing horizontally to it. Unbelievable! My friend affirmed me laughing that my expression corresponded to hers the first time she had seen the Capitol. Next stop was the White House. I am not sure whether I would have been that disappointed by the size of the White House if I had not seen the Capitol right before, but it seemed to be very small. In the garden you found a fresh green and short lawn and two beautiful trees. It was a beauty, but I wasn´t as impressed as all the other tourists standing in front of the fence taking pictures with their smartphones.                          
We had lunch at Washington´s Hard Rock Café. It was a blast. We ate cheese macaroni and drank fresh fruit cocktails. Usually they play the same songs in every Hard Rock Café worldwide and in that one there was a pretty cool old guy with a plastic guitar around his belly, with which he could operate the worldwide playlist. We seemed to attract him, because he asked us two times, which song he could play for us – another nice experience.

 
Independence Day

During my stay there it was the 4 of July, the United States´ Independence Day. Else got a day off, so that we could watch the solemn parades in the streets of Washington. You could feel the American´s pride. Everyone wore clothes in the flag´s colors red, white and blue, everyone was roughed with those colors too and so many people prepared dances and shows that were gazed at in wonder by the audience. The performers built wagons with exaggerated huge and colorful figures. It was fascinating.  You could see so many people from different countries and cultures, I heard at least a dozen of different languages and all in one it was an absolutely joyful event. We spent approximately two hours in the burning sun watching the performances until we needed to find shelter in the shadow. We allowed ourselves to take a big smoothie at Starbucks. Yummy!

But that was only the first part of that day. In the evening we were invited to the grandma´s house party. She is 40 years young and obviously got stuck in the hippie-time. That woman is full of energy and in a minimum of time she influenced me with her lifestyle and positive aura like no one else had ever done before. Her husband, twenty years older, is a lawyer. He is the pure opposite of her and on top of that one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. You could throw in a word and he would start to tell you everything he knows about it. I quickly noticed that he must have travelled a lot due to his wide range of experiences with different people and different attitudes. He seemed to be proud of his knowledge and accordingly revealed it – a fairly sophisticated man. They both lived in a flat with a view over the Capitol. At the party were people from both parties. You could immediately guess who was invited by whom. His guests where dressed accordingly with suits and long elegant skirts and her guests were tattooed, pierced and bearded, an alternative crowd. I cannot describe that feeling; it was strange, but positive. I felt pleasantly different up there.
Else and I were drinking wine, eating some delicious snacks and savored the beautiful view and the solemn firework over the Capitol. That moment was really emotional. I think I have never been that satisfied before and I wish to be able to rely on that moment whenever I need to.


Prawn cocktails and water looping

Washington is located centrally and you have got so many opportunities to escape the lameness. For example we made a day-trip to Baltimore. It was not even two hours far from home by car. Baltimore is a beautiful harbour-city. The sun was shining and we visited the national aquarium. The tour started with a 4D cinema documentary about wild animals from Alaska and other States in the North. By 4D I mean that you get a quick push in your back while an eagle is flying over a river and catches a salmon from the water, so that you can also “feel” what is happening on screen. The whole crowed was shocked and Else and I had to start laughing quite loud. That was fun!                            
After that we watched all the small colourful fishes and jellyfishes and a few floors deeper there were sharks, too - my favourites! In the harbour was another Hard Rock Café, but we only watched the many heirlooms of the stars and continued walking along the bay. On the other side of the docks there had been roughly four or five restaurant chains and we decided to try the one that was called “Bubba-Gump”. They were specialised on prawns, shrimps, crabs and other seafood. They also had fresh fruit cocktails and on top of that their own shop where you could buy shirts, caps and other merchandise stuff. We spent the rest of the day walking along the water and watching some other sights, for example a statue in memory of 911. It was made of two big steel bars from the twin towers and a blackboard with the names of all the people from Baltimore, who died during that attack.                                             
Another adventure happened in the south of Washington D.C. You cannot miss a visit at “Kings Dominion”. I thought I was spoiled by “Heide Park Soltau” but the Americans totally exaggerated with all their roller coasters and other crazy attractions. They could not beat “Collossos” with their own wooden roller coaster, but I was shaken and shocked a lot of times in the seats anyway. When you thought you had already seen the whole park you only found the changing rooms to put on your bikini and the whole thing started all over again in a water world. Loop the loops, slides, so many different swimming pools and boat races everywhere, I could not stop grinning the whole day. In the evening we finally reached our beds and immediately fell asleep.

 
Conclusion…

Although my trip to Washington D.C was quite short it was breathtaking and I had a wonderful time. The city is beautiful and offers a lot of things to see and to do. I got to meet a few interesting people, who I will keep in my heart and I really can imagine coming back and staying there another time…perhaps also for some more weeks.

 

“Life is not about the destination, it´s about the journey.” <3 


Kings Dominion:









Washington D.C.:


 









 





4th of July:








 





New York:






 






Baltimore:




 









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