From 2011/12/24 to 2011/12/28

-- Washington, DC




The road tracklog 
Washington, DC
from 2011/12/24 to 2011/12/28

Washington, DC,

I left early morning by a bus # 83 at the entry of the campground to take a subway at College Park Station knowing that Saturdays the frequency of buses is every hour. I unloaded at Archives-Navy Mem Station in downtown of Washington, DC. The architecture of the station is huge, the subway trains were built by Alstom, France. The use of public transport on a first day in a big city is always a great moment to take reference marks. At the exit of the station I discovered a “Paul” bakery where I bought a flute at $2. The architecture of the public buildings is resolutely of Greco-Roman style, functional massive block without elegance. In this Saturday X-mas' eve streets were without traffic like a ghost city. Washington, DC, were conceived by two town planners who imbricate a diagonal plan, Pierre L'Enfant, with a grid plan, Andrew Ellicott. It extends on surrounding hills at the foot of Potomac River on the other bank of which Arlington is, VA, with in particular the National Cemetery. I went along Pennsylvania Avenue up to the U.S. Capitol where my visit of the city started. I had decided that this first day due to splendid and cold weather was a walking & getting in touch day but I was not aware that distances are long. At Visitor Center of Capitol I took part in a guided tour alas frustrating because the visit of the chambers of the representatives and the Senate is not included. The construction of Capitol began at the turning of 19th century and was completed in 1863 by the placing of the statue of Freedom at the top of the dome. Extensions were carried out up to the end of the 20th century. A tunnel led to the Library of the Congress built since 1886 to receive the Thomas Jefferson's library. At the beginning of afternoon I undertook a walk from the Capitol to Lincoln Memorial by going along the Mall then Tidal Basin to return along the Mall to The White House to the passage I visited the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial, WWII Memorial, Washington Monument and finally the White House. The sobriety of Martin Luther King Memorial as well as the reading of the extracts of his speeches moved me. The architecture of Franklin Delano Rossvelt Memorial challenged me by the impressive waterfalls as well as by the various statues. I remembered that he was the decision maker of the military interventions in Europe and Asia at the time of WWII to save the world, but I forgot either that weakened by the disease and accompanied by another old man Winston Churchill, both were unable to be opposed to Stalin's requirements at Yalta. They then sowed seeds of the cold war and its after-effects in Asia from which we see these last days the consequences in North Korea. I took again a subway shortly after 4 pm to arrive at the campground around 5:45 pm.

Archives-Navy Mem'l Station

National Archives

U.S. District Court

U.S. Capitol

Dome with "The Apotheosis of Washington" by C. Brumidi

Library of Congress

Dome with "Human Understanding" by E. Blashfield

Washington Monument & Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

The White House

X-mas Day was one sunny cold day of work on my website, the continuation of my trip and of domestic tasks. Indeed all was closed in Washington, DC.

I had forgotten that Monday, after X-mas, was one public holiday, public transports were extremely rare at Cherry Hill Park, like weekends. I reached Washington, DC, after 10:00 am to take cash at HSBC' ATM in Connecticut Ave. While passing in front of The White House I made my portrait draw by an obliging tourist. The climax of the day was the memorial dedicated to the U.S. Marine Corps after the famous photograph of six men being raised the Stars & Strips banner atop Mount Subirachi in Iwo Jima taken by Jose Rosenthal on February 23, 1945. I arrived at the cemetery of Arlington, VA, around 12:30 am after having wandered to take Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. I had to return my way to take Arlington Memorial Bridge. It was a great moment to walk around this huge sculpture, in particular to find an angle without building in background. The day being sunny like the day before I strolled by traversing the National Badly up to the U.S. Capitol and Union Station to go back to Navy-mem'l Station. Of course in way I took some pictures of buildings on the northern side of the Mall. Families were numerous in parks. An iconoclast thought crossed my mind, the more I visited Washington, DC, the more it seemed to me a city of the dead. Indeed any U.S. Army intervention is testified by a memorial, they are numerous.

The next "roomer" of The White House

Vietnam War Veterans Memorial

Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, The Library of Congress

Architecture du National Mall

Public buildings National Museum of Natural history

National Gallery of Art The Library of Congress

The Supreme Court Senate Office buildings

Navy Memorial Chess players

By a rainy day I trailed in museums. National Gallery of Art is preceded, like Louvre Museum in Paris, with pyramids by IM Pei. Collections are very eclectic and cover arts from 13th to the 20th centuries. In spite of more than three hours of walk I overviewed works of the Renaissance to concentrate me on Chester Dale's collection. On the other side of the National Mall I traversed Hishhorn Museum where the circular wall of the second level is occupied by a succession of repetitive paintings by Andy Warhol, without interest for me. On the other hand at the third level sculptures are enthralling as two paintings by Hopper and Kooning. The National Air & Space Museum are giant. It covers the space adventure both in Europe and in the USA and even in the USSR. The exhibited objects are skillfully restored. It was very attended by families. It is worth a detour by a rainy afternoon.

National Gallery of Art

IM Pei Façade

Le Gourmet by Picasso Alfred La Guigne by Toulouse-Lautrec

Laocoön by El Greco Bindo Altoviti by Raphael

Ginevra by da Vinci Young Girl Reading by Fragonard

Smithsonian Institution Museums

Hirshhorn Museum

Eleven A.M. by Hopper Two Women in the Country by Willem de Kooning

National Air & Space Museum

The following day the north wind downwards from Arctic had swept the clouds but had brought an icy cold. I traversed almost with the step of gymnastics four galleries of the Smithsonian Institution Museums on the southern side of the National Mall. The two first are most remarkable because unusual, one is devoted to Indian art and the other to African art. The two last are more traditional, they come from two private collections of wealthy industrial Americans having ben shopping in Europe. I returned to the campground stiff by cold. Washington can be visited easily on foot, but museums, monuments and memorials are so numerous that it is impossible to see all, moreover the effect of saturation involving the lapse of memory and confusion arrives more quickly than the evil at the feet. Five days of visit of which one of rest, the X-mas Day, passed very quickly. I beard in memory a city with a aired town planning, broad arteries and cultural buildings of Greco-Roman style according to the wish of Thomas Jefferson coming back from his embassy in France with a trip in Europe. The "best of" is the National Mall with the U.S. Congress at the east and the Washington & Lincoln Monuments at the west. The three next days were announced with a beautiful sun and a prickly cold as well as snow falls.

National Museum of the American Indian

Basketry Buffalo Robe painted by Oglala Lakota

National Museum of African Art

Edo people, Nigeria 16th century Edo people, Nigeria 17th century

Ivory Bracelet, Yoruba People, Nigeria, 16th century Manuscript Ethiopia 15th century

Sackler Gallery

Ritual Wine Container, Shang Dynasty 12th century B.C. Ritual Food Container, Western Zhou Dynasty 11th B.C.

Freer Gallery

Heron and Willow by Hanabusa Itcho, Japan, Edo period Poems by Hon'ami Koetsu, Japan Edo period

Harmony in Blue and Gold by Whistler Symphony in White and Red by Whistler

Bodhisattva by Kaikei, Japan, Kamakura period

Cherry Hill Park, le 2011/12/28

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