Arlington National Cemetary - Washington DC zoo - Washington waterfront - Georgetown
Besides visiting the National Mall national park and Potomac National park in Washington DC, we also took the time on our 2 days to visit a little bit of the surrounding areas.
Arlington National Cemetary
We crossed the Potomac river and were technically back in Virginia and not in DC where we visited briefly the impressive Arlington National Cemetary. Here are over 400 000 'active duty service members': military veterans, politicians, police on duty, ... and their families. The hills are filled with graves of those that served duty to the United States and you can feel the enormous respect and solemnity in the air.
We kept our walk short to ensure the children were able to maintain their manners for so long (and it started to rain), but we did visit the grave site of John F Kennedy and his family.
On our first day we managed to meet up for lunch with one of my former high school, neighbourhood and university friend who works since 14 years at the IMF. It was really fun to reconnect just as in the old days and catch up...in a Belgian brasserie by the way.
The Washington Waterfront with the Municipal Fish Market and nearby restaurants where we had dinner the first evening with a nice view over the water. The children loved it as we had a good view over the constant landing planes into the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport roughly 2 kms further across the river. The planes fly all day over the river, apparently carefully not flying over the political monuments, neither over Arlington with the Pentagon and the national cemetary on the other side of the river.
Another one of the Smithsonian free institutions of Washington is a bit north of the city center. There are multiple parkings along the walkways of the zoo that all give access in and out since there is no paying entrace booths. So at one point we had the odd experience to walk from one zone to another and be on a sidewalk with all of a sudden traffic passing next to us.
But this historic zoo is quite nice while featuring among other a few panda's , bisons and big primates.
We closed off our visit with a dinner in Georgetown or "the harbour" area . We watched the rowing practise on the Potomac river and closed of our visit of the USA's capital with an ice-cream. We drove back to our hotel with a big rainbow above the Watergate hotel.