Monday, August 15, 2011

Washington DC

We again chose to take a bus from the KOA.  But this one just took us to the Capitol where we joined a 
hop on-hop off bus tour to all of the monuments and museums on the mall.
On the steps of the Capitol.
(pinch me!)

Washington monument in the background.
Here and below, Union Station.

The Freedom Bell.

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Theatre at the Tomb of the Unknown.  We were surprised at the strength of Greek influence in all the monuments' architecture.

The Korean Memorial.  All involved countries are named, but we were interested in this one!

More of the Korean Memorial.....

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Yes, we remembered you, Jerry and Linda!
(Jerry proposed here....:) )

The Smithsonian Institute's information centre.
There is so much to see, we didn't know where to start!

In the gardens behind the Smithsonian Information centre; Lachlan.....


even the squirrels had trouble staying cool in the heat wave Washington was experiencing.

Mama Farm, more flowers for you.  What is it?

The Grant Monument.
Air and Space Museum - A later model Wright Flyer.

Apollo 11 command module - this one is for you, Gav.  And stay tuned, there's more.  Boy, wouldn't we have had fun if you were here to explain it all to us!?

3D at the IMAX.
Unfortunately, Garion can't see in 3D......
so he made his own fun! (below)

Wright brothers, of course!

And the one that made history - original, with some replacement  of fabrics!

Even if it wasn't incredibly hot outside, we could have stayed all day...

The Freer museum of Asian art.

The Peacock Room.

And Japanese screens for Aunty Nat.  Miss you.

National Art Gallery.
We still can't believe we could get so close to these paintings!

Mama B, now who is this, hmmmm??

Friday, August 12, 2011

New York City

We elected to take a coach tour from the KOA to explore NYC - and we are soooo glad we did!
Our driver, Dennis, took us safely through the unspeakable traffic with a maximum of comfort, while Mitch, our guide, did his best to educate us! 
'Forget about it,' was the most important phrase to remember, he told us and explained the usage.
He let us know in no uncertain terms that New Jersey's only value is as a scapegoat and joke.
Mitch grew up in New York and shared experiences, local knowledge and history.
He also guided us through the intricacies of these major tourist attractions, jumping queues, staying sane and getting the best photo opportunities!  Thanks Mitch and Dennis and KOA.
There she is.
We couldn't help thinking of and quoting 'When Jesse came across the sea'.
It was good to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time from the water, just as the immigrants did.
A very thought provoking experience as we considered what it had meant along side current events.
(That was the final week of the 'debt crisis' meetings, with Obama telling the nation, This doesn't mean we can't afford to pay our bills......????

A dream fulfilled.

Ellis Island where the immigrants were 'processed'.
'Wait in line. Inspection. Wait in line. Questions.  Wait in line.'
from 'When Jesse came across the sea'.

We passed 'Ground Zero' and were amazed at the amount of rebuilding already accomplished and at the scale of the plans for future development.  Mitch explained that the city Mayors of the past decade or so have made changes that have reduced noise (no honking or BIG fine), traffic jams (no blocking the grid or BIG fines) and increased recreation areas (by converting old wharves into parks).

Lachlan, Mitch, Hamish

The Empire State building.

from the top....

Hey Mum!  Look what I found on Madison Avenue!
(E's Mum's name is Zara.)
We always knew you had refined tastes!

Times Square - only it wasn't.

And that unspeakable traffic.....