By now I have been so comfortable with gotobus.com that for my Washington DC visit I just blindly booked their tour. I had already utilised their services for Niagara twice, boston and NY Tour and leaving aside a bus break-down incidence during one of my Niagara tours, the services have been quite up to date. Especially the effort from the tour guide to keep us informed and entertianed makes tour more live and informative. Otherwise in any city tour,what you generally see are monuments, statues, memorials, museums and sometimes few gardens and harbour cruises. These things seem to be common to any of the US city tours. But knowing about the associated history and people makes it more memorable, than just watching the beauty of those buildings and admiring the size of the monuments.
Our guide Stan was one such lively guy and had better English than all the other chinese guides I met on gotobus tours. A distinct feature of this tour was the variety of people we had onboard. Apart from the usual Chinese and Indian, there were few Americans, few Spanish, A French guy and a Japanese and a Brazillian Girl.
Philadephia happened to be a short visit, where we had a glance at the Independence Hall and the Liberty bell. But were lucky to see a live parade of soldiers dressed in attire resembling the 17th century American freedom soldiers. There was a address by Benjamin Franklin (this guy dressed as Benjamin Franklin made us feel as if we are back in time and looking at the great man in flesh) on this occasion. He is one of the prominent historical figures in US and have invented the lightning rod, the glass harmonica, the Franklin stove and bifocal glasses. The US dollar 100 bills carries his image on them. He is the one, who took first steps in abolishing slavery from America.
The Air and space museum depicts the history of mans ambition to fly higher ans higher and you can see the first plane used by right brothers to space shuttles and supersonic jets and rockets eveything under one roof. But you know guyz, it just really get boring after a while, common I am here to see Washington DC, the streets and the gardens and the people. For one to actaully know all about these planes and war machines take out a day and you will get lost in those great technical wonders. Thankfully our visit was quite short and we were again on our bus in an hour’s time.
Jefferson memorial was again a very asthetically beautiful monument, with a tall statue of Jefferson and the inscriptions of "the declaration of Independence" on four side of the wall. He was the principle author of the "The declaration of Independence". Jefferson memorial has a Washington Monument on one side and a beautiful lake on the opposite side and the view from top is really soothing to the eyes. We wished we could go on top of the washington monument and have a look at the city from the top, but that wasn’t possible due to time constraints.
The Linoln memorial is face to face with the washington monument separated by a stretch of water fountains. The monuments looks really beautiful during night due to its illumination. You can see a beautful landscape and shoreline of the potomac river, behind this memorial. The staue took me back in time and just rememebred few words from his famous letter, he wrote to his son’s teacher. We were made to read this letter in class 8th by one of our teachers and actually made an important mark on our minds, at that age. The War Memorials like Korean war memorial makes you feel introvert about the irony of this world and you salute those statues, who gave up their lives fighting for the motherland.
The french guy,Shauki, who had come down from the city of Bojo, was nice to talk with and we exchanged lot of useful information about our respective countries. Erika, the japanese girl, has great passion for travelling and seems to have travelled to many European and Asian countries. She carried a very nice and sleek translator instrument and used it for translating any new English words that she captured in our conversations. Her effort to learn English was genuine and I gave her my best wishes for learning and travelling. I didn’t get to interact much with the other spanish friends, but they have promised to be in touch on emails.
I happened to meet few fellow Indians from "Amchi Mumbai" too and in fact a full marathi family (including granny and grandpa) from Borivli where I live in Mumbai. This gives you a feeling that world is such a small place. We had a spicy mexican dinner in Baja fresh (to be pronounced as Ba ha fresh) with lotsa interesting mexican dishes like Quasadilas, Fajitas and Burritos. After having a nice sleep and a healthy breakfast in Holiday In, in virginia state,we emarked on our jouney for next day attractions.
Virginia seems to be famous for its caverns and it has two beautiful caverns the lurey caverns and the shenandoah caverns. In this trip we visited shenandoah caverns. Cavern is nothing but a cave like structure below ground, where you can see beautiful formations of lime stones, sulpher, water and other natural elements. They are technically called as STALAGMITES and STALACTITES. They grow from the ceiling as water runs down inside them and deposits rings of calcite at their tips. The reflections of these structures in the rainbow lake were astonishing and it was worth a watch.
Baltimore has its own elegance and seems to be a oldest harbour in US and one of the tourist attarctions in Maryland. We got a chance to look at America’s first Nuclear Ship and the view from our cruise ship was so panoramic. The harbourside villas, the parked boats, the old Domino’s sugar factory,the fire guard boats, few sailboats gliding lazily in the harbour, all this gives you a feeling of tranquility and you start inhaling and enjoying the fresh air of chesapeak bay, allowing yourself to relax and capture the beauty of the shoreline. On a nearby hillside is a starshaped brick fort, above which a huge 18th-century American flag proudly flies.Fort McHenry is the birthplace of the American national anthem. The valiant defense of the fort and the harbor by American forces during the War of 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner."
I reached Edison by almost 6 pm, quite on time. So overall a very comfortable and enjoyable trip for me and would recomment the shenendoah caverns for all of you, if you havn’t seen any before.
Catch some of my snaps for this trip here