jueves 30  de  mayo 2024
TRAVEL

Washington DC, monumental capital city

Classy and lively with countless neoclassical buildings, monuments, museums, and plenty of entertainment

Por JESÚS HERNÁNDEZ

MIAMI.- Mostly designed by the French architect Pierre L'Enfant, under the supervision of George Washington himself at the end of the 18th century, the capital of the United States of America, Washington DC, is classy and lively with countless neoclassical buildings, monuments, museums, and plenty of entertainment.

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It would be enough to click on Washington.org, but you must walk around the nation's capital city, from one place to another, to experience the essence of this monumental city.

We begin at The Mall, the long and grassy esplanade that runs for almost two miles, between the nation's Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial, to realize how important it is to have a wide-open space, beautified by trees and monuments, in the center of the city.

If this large esplanade is impressive, the row of buildings that highlight the course of the walk is imposing. From the Capitol, with its lavish neoclassical dome, and the White House, where the presidency of the nation is located, to museums covered in Greco-Roman, Romanesque and Gothic attire.

Talking about museums, the National Gallery of Art stands out with an extensive collection of pictorial and sculptural works by great European authors, such as Raphael, Van Gogh, El Greco and Dalí, and the only one piece by Da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere, as well as an impressive collection of works by American artists.

Near Dupont Circle we find The Phillips Collection, where you can enjoy pieces created by Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Miró and an amazing interpretation of the lost head of the Spanish painter Goya, created by the also Spanish artist Bernardí Roig.

Downhill

Walking allows you to discover places that do not show up in tourist guides. After visiting the imposing neo Greco-Roman mausoleum of Thomas Jefferson, which lies on the north bank of the Potomac River, we found a small park, between a car parking lot and the 14th Street Bridge, where lies a modest monument commemorating the victims of the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana Bay, in Cuba, in 1898.

The inscription says: “This cup was sculpted in a fragment of the marble column of the monument to the victims of the ‘Maine’, erected in the City of Havana, whose column was demolished by the cyclone of October 20, 1926.”

A few steps away we find The Wharf shopping district facing the river, where in addition to a seafood market there are restaurants, gift shops and residential buildings.

We highlight The Grill out of the restaurants, an upscale restaurant that has a wide variety of very well-presented dishes, from seafood to meats and pastas.

Try the mussels, made in a white wine, blue cheese, and chipotle sauce. You will end up drinking the sauce as if it were soup.

Transportation

There is no doubt that the US capital city, which has barely 800,000 inhabitants, receives special attention from the Federal government.

DC has an extensive metro network of six lines that connects the airport with the city center and surrounding places.

If you don't mind walking a couple of blocks, consider the subway. In addition to being convenient, it helps you save the money you would spend on taxis, Uber or Lyft.

Up hill

Going up 14th Street NW and passing by the Thomas Circle Park roundabout, we arrive at the Logan Circle neighborhood, where over the last decade, between M and U streets, restaurants, bars, terraces, and specialty shops have proliferated.

You can even move up 14th Street on a state-of-the-art streetcar. Get off at U Street and stop at Ben's Chili Bowl, where celebrities come to try the famous Chili Half Smoke hot dog, hamburger, or a tasty bowl of chili.

On the corner of 14th and P Street we find The Studio Theater complex, where they perform contemporary plays in four different halls.

“Here I was born and here I live. I wouldn't go to another city to live," said Oliver, who attends the bar at Martin's Tavern, in Georgetown neighborhood.

“I only recommend looking around when you walk through certain places, in case there are crooks that want to harm you,” he recommended.

Two more

If it is about wine made in the area, at District Winery you will learn how they make the precious wine with California grapes. From Blanc De Blanc and Albariño to Chadornay, Cabernet and Merlot.

Ethiopian cuisine is popular in DC, and we cannot leave the city without trying the typical dishes of the African country at the Ethiopic restaurant. Try Awaze tibs, a dish made with pieces of beef or lamb, peppers, vegetables, lemon juice and other spices. Tasty.

Where to stay

Washington DC has a large selection of accommodation, from five-star hotels to hostels and Airbnb apartments.

However, we decided to stay at the JW Marriott Hotel, which has excellent service and delicious breakfast.

This five-star hotel is located a couple of blocks from The White House and The Mall, from where you can easily walk to museums and monuments.

If you want to have an outstanding view of the city from your room, look for rooms 1137 or 1135.

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