When I booked my trip to the US to participate in the International guild of Realism exhibition in Charleston I extended my stay in the country to include Washington and New York. Airports look very much the same all over the world so I decided to take the train instead of flying. With the Amtrak from Charleston to Washington DC I could watch the scenery pass by for 9 hours. At first there were miles of cotton fields and beautiful farm houses. Later there were small towns that looked like props from an old western film. Derelict factories and mobile home parks intercepted by woodlands and creeks gradually gave way to more densely built up areas until I arrived in Washington.
I had booked a room via Airbnb just 20 minutes by metro. It turned out to be in a very large and beautiful, old house overlooking the Rock Creek park. The view from my window was filled with glowing autumn colours and it was hard to imagine I was in fact in Washington DC. The house itself was so inspiring to be in as it was filled with art created by very talented family members. My hosts made me feel very welcome.
The next day I took the metro to the Mall where all the museums are. I managed to visit 5 of them before my feet protested and my brain refused to digest anymore input. It was a great experience to see the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum http://airandspace.si.edu/ ( I was so surprised to realise that the space capsule that took 3 men to the moon is only a third of the size of my boat!)
The National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/highlights.html was also very enlightening with the original paintings I had otherwise only known from art books.
The National Museum of the American Indian http://www.nmai.si.edu/ was a special experience. Not only are the collections of art and crafts amazing but also the architecture of the building itself is awesome. Here I ate a special, delicious and healthy lunch made according to an original Cherokee recipe.
I also saw a very inspiring exhibition of award winning photographs
http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/natures-best-2013/ at the museum of natural history.
After that my aching feet just managed to take me to the White House but they forgot I was coming so I could only say hello to President Obama's squirrel.
The next day I promised myself to take it easy and just go for a short walk along the creek. I ended up walking for hours all the way to the Washington Zoo and back.
Apart from many exotic animals, I met this policeman on duty, or as they say in american english "A law enforcement officer"
He asked me if he should take a photo of me on the vehicle but I said no, I wouldn't trust a stranger with my camera!
Stay tuned for the next blogpost about my dramatic stay in New york!