On the weekend of 4th of July/Independence Day, I decided to go to Washington DC because I had been itching to travel yet again. On that weekend, I experienced 3 things for the first time, and I have so much to say about all of them
- I had a travel partner. Believe it or not, Busi (@buciie_m) and I met on Instagram about 2/3 months ago, we stay in different states but reached out to each other anyway, met up and planned a trip together to DC.
- I slept in a hostel for the first time ever, hostels are one of the cheapest and convenient ways of traveling and I felt like I was finally ready to try it out. Although sleeping with 9 guys in a 12-bed dorm was a bit nerving when I initially thought about it, it turned out quite fine
- I spent half of my night in a strip club. A real live strip club with real live strippers, stripping. Watched people ‘make it rain’, we had just come from a club close by and I pretty much sobered up when we entered.
In this blog post, I will mention all the places we went to and activities we did in those 3 days and since the introduction was long enough, I will not waste more time…
We arrived early enough to start our adventure so after dropping our things off at the hotel at 4pm we set off to the National Portrait Gallery which was absolutely amazing. Well, to be fair, everything in DC was amazing, I think this was mainly because most galleries and museums were free, so we didn’t have to pay a cent for these beautiful places. The one sucky thing was that it was unbearably hot.
Next stop was Chinatown, I have come to realize that pretty much all the major cities I’ve traveled to so far have a Chinatown – Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC and Boston (although I didn’t get a chance to go to the one in Boston because it was far from my hotel). Chinatown is made up of a couple of streets that have regular/common shops, just written in Chinese. This is where we spent most of our time because it had everything we needed from restaurants to convenient stores so we were sorted.
We then headed to Nandos which is a South African restaurant so you can only imagine how happy my tummy was, I felt like I was home again for the rest of my stay and I was really happy about the fact that it tasted the same too. That was a good way to end the day.
We had a lot on our itinerary for Saturday and by the time we left the hostel it was already blazing hot around 9am. We started off at McDonalds for breakfast then set off to The White House. You know what people don’t tell you about taking pictures there? It is impossible! To get a few decent shots we had to maneuver around and wait for families to finish taking their family photos and all, but we managed to get good snaps.
Renwick Gallery was next on the list and I cannot express how much I loved that gallery. I get so excited when I see what I learned about during the course of my degree because during those times I was merely fascinated but never thought I would actually be privileged enough to see and touch all those artworks. The main contemporary art form that intrigued me was Augmented Reality, for us to see the art pieces we had to use tablets and point the camera at a certain part of the ‘reality’ and through the tablet we would see different kinds of flowers in a form of a hologram with a description of what it is and what it does.
Right after that we headed to the Albert Einstein memorial which is a huge statue of him sitting on some steps. I was surprised about its actually size and this was probably the only statue I know of that you can interact with because most monuments and statues are normally out-of-reach.
At this point, it was super-hot, but we trekked on towards the Lincoln Memorial.
Just across the memorial was the Reflective Pool (which reminded me of a particular scene from Family Guy😅)
Then we took a long walk, plus we got lost a certain point, to the Martin Luther King Memorial. Although it took us a long time to get there, it was worth the walk. The memorial was basically made up of quotes by MLK Jr. and in the middle of it all was his statue carved from stone which I found pretty impressive.
The World War II Memorial was next but funny thing is, when we saw it, we actually just decided to rest right outside while we waited for another friend – we had no energy to go in anymore but after like half an hour, we took a little stroll through the memorial until our friend arrived.
Luckily, Nadine (the friend we had been waiting for), came with a car so we didn’t have to walk anymore, and we were starved! We headed to McDonalds again for lunch and after that we felt alive but guess what… it started raining. Great! Either way, we chose to continue on our adventure and stick to our itinerary and went to the United States Capitol
The last thing on the list was the Botanic Gardens. Goodness me, it was gorgeous! It was more or less like a big green house split into 2 sections – the tropics section had 3 flights of stairs and you could observe the garden from different levels. That was the last location for the day, we went out clubbing at night and ended up going back to the hostel at 5am and we had to be up early enough for checkout.
After checking out at 11am, we went straight to the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Although it was free to enter, we needed to reserve tickets online and the next visiting time was in an hour, we figured it makes more sense for us to go to another museum in the meantime, so we went to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
We lost track of time and ended up not going back to the African American museum and went to the National Gallery of Art because it was closer and we didn’t have to reserve tickets to enter. We didn’t spend much time in there because we were running out of time.
After the National Gallery of Art we went straight to Nandos for lunch, dragging our suitcases in the heat while walking up the hill for a good 20 minutes. The wings we had at Nandos made every struggle worth it – it was more or less like a reward from us to us for all we had gone through.
Right after that, we had to go catch the bus back to New York (which we almost missed because of the Metro!). we literally had to stop the bus and although they were mad, we were just thankful that they let us in because it was already too late for us to travel to New York, so the next bus would’ve dropped us off around 1am!
Washington D.C was absolutely beautiful (also, I didn’t actually know that DC stands for District of Columbia until I saw it on my Instagram location options). I would go back if an opportunity ever arises. Now what’s my advice to you based on my personal experience? Just go for it, whatever you are afraid to do but want to do… do it! You have nothing to lose and a whole lot of experiences and stories to tell.
That’s it for now,