Immediately after finishing a canoe trip in northern Minnesota, I decided to join my friend Graham on a road trip to Washington DC. Our route took us through the American states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Should one wish to replicate such a trip, I strongly advise bringing a good friend and some good music – the landscape (as viewed from the motorway) doesn’t offer much entertainment until West Virginia.
Washington DC was on the other hand definitely worth the visit. I can highly recommend the free museums of the Smithsonian Institution. In just two days I visited the National Air and Space Museum, the United States Botanic Garden, the National Building Museum, the Washington Monument, the National Zoological Park, the National Museum of the American Indian, and attended an evening jazz concert in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
The highlight of my visit was certainly the National Air and Space Museum – the number of original items which they house from the space race is astounding. There is something moving about seeing the physical technology which has allowed us fragile humans to travel through space.
Overall I was very impressed with Washington (or at least the core of the city which I saw.) In some ways it felt very European, and far removed from the most common negative stereotypes of America. I would highly recommend a visit to anyone who has the opportunity.