From New York City, I took a bus trip for 5 hours on my 3rd night at United States to go to the capital city – Washington DC. A very different city with different ambiance and surroundings from the NYC. DC is quieter, full with government buildings, offices and free-entrance museums with great architectures, no billboards, and a lot of park and open spaces. This is the place where people strolling around the city in such a hot and humid weather (I was there last July 2016 on summer time) wearing a complete business suites with tie and formal blazer. It looks cool though.
Washington DC is only located 5 hours away from NYC. We decided to go there by bus. You can buy the bus ticket from Megabus.com for only $30 round trip for one person. It’s a lot cheaper compared to another option by Amtrak train which might be a lot more comfortable, but it costs us around $80 for one-way trip. We departed from the designated bus stop at 1.30am mid-night. The bus, however, is comfortable enough for me. We sat at the second floor, the seat is comfortable enough with wi-fi and electronic plug. I just slept right away at the bus and in no time we had arrived at Union Station of Washington DC at 6am in the morning.
I was not finished with my amaze-balls of Grand Central Terminal, New York – this station gave me another kind of amazement when I arrived there. The architecture of the building is great, the lobby is also amazing. We became super creative while trying to wash our face and brush our teeth in the station’s toilet (which luckily, clean enough!), and had a breakfast there while researching where should we go next. You know, I’m a quite well-planned kind of person, but when traveling I’m just being as spontaneous as it is. Impromptu trip always feels great, you know? :p
The U.S. Capitol
Have you watch the movie, Olympus Has Fallen? You must be familiar with this place. The United States Capitol or more often to be called as the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill is the home of United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. Federal. We went there by walk since it’s not that far from the Union Station. Washington DC is a walking-friendly city. We literally went everywhere by walk despite of the hot and humid weather. The rain drenched a bit the moment we walked out the Union Station, but that felt better because it was super hot earlier. We walked through so many Senate buildings along the way and came to this place. We tried to go to the Visitor Center to go inside the Capitol, but we didn’t manage to go through. This is because we brought too much stuff in our backpack which are not allowed to be brought inside the Capitol. The security was super strict. It would be too much hassle for us to drop the stuffs, then pick it up again. So, yeah – we decided to just take pictures in front of the infamous building.
The National Museum of American Indian
What would Washington DC be without the museums? This National Museum of American Indian was not initially on our must-visit museums list in DC. But, when we walk around from the Capitol to our next destination, we found this unique and attractive building. We just went there the moment we saw it. There are not a lot of things to see in the museum which stores series of collections and exhibitions of the Native Americans spirit, but it is a great place with so many great spot to take pictures! :p
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
This is definitely our main destination we we thought of going to DC. This well-known Smithsonian museum is just as great as what people talked about. It has thousands of objects on display about air and space, which although I don’t really know or follow anything about it, I was in awe by how amazing this museum is! It has the 1903 Wright Flyer, Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, to a moon rock that you can touch! You can also visit the Albert Einstein Planetarium, its IMAX theather, and the Public Observatory on its terrace. I think we took the longest time strolling around this museum compared to other places in DC.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
One of the most amazing feeling about visiting United States is that when you got the chance to be in the place where all the famous movies took in place. One of those places is this Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History which is the location of the Night at the Museum 2 movie. It is similar with the one in New York, but this museum is a bit newer and modern. My most favorite thing to see here is the collections of mummy! Yes, the real mummy!
The White House
The moment we finished strolling around the National Museum of Natural History, it was around 2pm noon already. The weather was getting even hotter and we were losing a lot of energy already. So, unlike the previous places that we went there by walk, we decided to take Uber to go to the White House area. It was located only for around 5 minutes drive, costing us $5 for Uber. The driver talked a lot about Washington DC in that short time (this is what I enjoyed the most by driving Uber in US, the drivers are very friendly and they wouldn’t mind to share stories) and he dropped us in front of the White House Souvenirs Stores, just around the corner near the White House area. We first bought some souvenirs in that stores, then walk for around 200-300 meters to go to the White House. It was drenching again, but it didn’t make a bunch of people who were also trying to take pictures in front of the White House gave up. It took a bit of effort to be able to take great pictures there, due to many people around the area.
Georgetown Cupcakes a.k.a DC Cupcakes
Have you ever heard about DC Cupcakes show from TLC? If you have, you must want to try this small little cupcakes cafe – Georgetown Cupcakes. I think this is the only place that my travel-mate, Ratih, was super excited to go hahaha. It is located in Georgetown area. We went there by Uber from the White House for around 20mins and costs us around $13. This super famous Georgetown Cupcakes is literally a small cafe located just around the corner in Georgetown area. We were lucky (again) that there were not too many people queuing to buy the cupcakes and we were still able to reserve a seat within the cafe, because usually this place is super crowded and we need to queue for hours just to enter the place. I don’t think there is anything special about the cupcakes, unless the fact that it is featured in DC cupcakes show that attracts many people to come here.
What caught my eyes was the Georgetown neighborhood which is really soothing and comfy to walk around. There were just too many branded-stores for shopping, such as Nike, DocMart, H&M, Forever 21, Sephora, Kate Spade, and many others along the road with vintage kind of buildings. Unlike in New York, the shop keepers in this area were also very friendly and welcome. We spent the rest of our energy to go shopping just around this area.
We finished everything at 6pm. By that time, we drained our energy completely. Like, literally completely! We went back to the Union Station and ready to catch our bus back to New York City at 9pm. We arrived at the station at 7.30pm, we waited in the lounge and I felt asleep for a while after completely drained my energy in the last 3 days. Lack of sleep, never stop walking, but everything is really worth it though! Finally, we went back for another 5 hours to NYC. We went back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and went straight to Newark Liberty International Airport and catch our early morning flight to our next destination, Orlando – Florida. What an unforgettable journey! 😀
PS: All of the photos are personal archive, taken my iPhone and Ratih’s Sony Alpha 5100.