Holiday Images
USA 1999: The Mid-Atlantic States
The record of our road trip: May 27th to June 22nd
Our 18th trip to the United States in which we visit
the District of Columbia; Illinois; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia;
North Carolina; Georgia; Kentucky; Tennessee; and West Virginia.
After four nights in Washington, DC, we drive a total of 3,473 miles.
American Airlines Flights AA 23 and AA 1570 take us from Birmingham to
Ronald Reagan National Airport via O'Hare Airport, Chicago.
After booking into the Washington Capital Hilton Hotel,
we spend the next three days exploring Washington.
The White House is located not far from our hotel and we make an early start to the day in the hope that we will be able to repeat our 1997 visit to the interior. But this is Memorial Day weekend and a lengthy queue has already formed. After waiting in the queue for a while we are informed that we will not get in today, and therefore visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to join the 9am tour to see parts of the continuous process of printing US dollar bills. Our route to the Bureau takes us past the scaffolding-sheathed Washington Monument.
Inscription on the exterior of the White House Visitor Center
After coffee and muffins in the Bureau's cafe, we visit the National Air and Space Museum on the south side of the National Mall.
(above and right): Spirit of St Louis.
The Capitol viewed from the Air and Space Museum.
Apollo 11 module
Over the next two days we continue exploring the area by extensive use of the Metro system, starting by buying Day Passes (right) at McPherson Square Station.
The Metro gets us to the National Portrait Gallery  (below) which is featuring a special exhibition regarding Benjamin Franklin (left), but the main attractions are the Hall of Presidents and portraits of the stars of American sport, music, and films.
Our exploration of Washington continues with visits to the Old Post Office followed by the National Museum of American History. This very popular museum is spread over three fascinating floors, but there are two exhibits that really capture our imaginations: 'The First Ladies - their Political Role and Public Image' and 'Preserving the Star Spangled Banner'.
The latter exhibition has the huge flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the US national anthem. The flag is on a special machine as it is being painstakingly  repaired.
After a meal and shopping in the splendid Union Station we visit the City Post Office before getting the Metro back to the hotel.
Our last full day in Washington is our 35th Wedding Anniversary - appropriately, the hot, sunny weather continues as we travel by Metro to the Arlington National Cemetery which is situated just across the Potomac River in Virginia. As this is Memorial Day, each of the individual gravesites has been decorated with a flag.
Our main objective in this our second visit to Arlington is to view the famous Iwo Jima Memorial. We also see the Netherlands Carillon and the Women's Memorial (right) which provides a view from its roof that includes a large bird (above). We then eat at Union Station, visit the National Postal Museum (below), and end the special day by attending a performance of Les Miserables at the National Theatre.
A fascinating few days in Washington, during which we managed to see many of the prime sites. Of particular interest was our visit to the National Archives building on Constitution Avenue. Here, a photographic exhibition vividly captured the events that have dominated 20th-Century America. But the main attraction is in the building's rotunda where four historical documents are displayed behind bulletproof glass: the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution; the Bill of Rights; and a 1297 version of Magna Carta.