Walking Across the D.C Monuments

I picked a really bad time for my monuments walk across D.C. It was late afternoon in June but it was still unbearably hot and my phone was running out of battery (which explains the lack of original pictures in this post). I was on the verge of giving up and go home but it was my last day there so I sucked it up and did it anyway. Here’s a link to a good map so you can follow the itinerary as you read.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

I started at the Jefferson Memorial, which is this nice neat classical building you see pictured above. There’s a statue of Thomas Jefferson and some engraving of his quotes inside.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

I then walked to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial (aka FDR Memorial). This one was probably on of my favorites. It is set on a horizontal stripe of land and mainly consists of fountains, as you can see on the above picture. It also has a statue of Roosevelt (and his dog), and some quotes engraved. I learned when I was there that the fountains are not an architectural coincidence as water was an important element for Roosevelt himself.

Image courtesy of Atlanta Black Star

My next stop was the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (pictured above). As you probably have guessed already, it’s a giant stone statue of him with some quotes. Eh. Aesthetically, I didn’t find it that pleasing.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Then, I walked through the Korean war veterans memorial, which is a field of statues of soldiers, to get to the Lincoln Memorial (pictured above). Again, it’s a classical looking building with a huge statue of Lincoln and quotes on the inside. The most enjoyable part of this monument though is the view you get from it. There is a large reflecting pool leading to the Washington monument right in front of it. I paused there for a while before finishing my walk.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

At the opposite end of the reflecting pool (and after passing through the Vietnam war memorial, another field of soldiers), is the World War II Memorial, a large oval fountain with names of all the states. I also appreciated this monument a lot.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

And last but not least is the Washington Monument, a tall white obelisk that you can see from pretty much anywhere in the National Mall. The whole walk took about 2 hours, with breaks at some of the monuments. I skipped the Capitol because it’s a bit off path and I got a closer look at it another day, and the White House because you can’t really get close anyway. In the end, I didn’t regret doing the walk. It’s quite a touristy thing to do but it’s a unique experience and all the monuments are quite impressive. It would have been a shame to miss it. I recommend doing it under temperate weather conditions though because it is a lot of walking outdoors. You can also visit the monuments at night when they are lit up.

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Newseum Review

Photo courtesy of the Newseum 

Useful Info:

  • Collections: Contemporary material concerning 20th and 21st century history as well as changing exhibitions about major news events.
  • City: Washington DC, USA.
  • Opening hours: Everyday 9am-5pm. Tickets are valid for two days in a row.
  • Price: $23 regular, $19 concessions, $14 youth, free for children under 6.
  • Website

The Newseum was highly recommended to me by several of my friends who had been there before, so I decided to include it in my DC itinerary. I went there by myself and it took me approximately one and a half hour to visit it entirely, though one could spend more time using all the interactive equipment and looking at the display more in depth. Before going any further, I would like to apologize for the lack of personal pictures. I still had my old phone, and it was broken and running out of battery that day.

Photo courtesy of the Newseum

Upon entering the museum, I was given a brochure that served as a museum map. The Newseum has a suggested visiting itinerary, which is something I appreciated, especially since it is not a museum in the traditional sense of the term and therefore there was no particular section I was excited to see more than another. Therefore, I followed the plan and started my visit in the basement. The most interesting part of that floor is the Berlin Wall gallery (pictured above), which features part of the actual Berlin Wall including a guard tower. This floor also features a changing exhibition space (that was about the Baby Boom generation when I visited but is now over), a gallery on the FBI; which I did not find particularly striking, and a small section on comics.

The visit continues on the 6th floor, where you can admire the view on Pennsylvania avenue and the Capitol from a terrace which also includes a timeline of this iconic street. Inside, there are displays of front pages of the day from all over the world. I enjoyed those two parts of the Newseum, as I thought they were good uses of the space there and were not overwhelming like some other parts of it. Speaking of which, the last section of this floor is dedicated to changing exhibitions. The current one is about the Vietnam War, and it features panels and panels of written material. I did not read everything in depth because I’m not that interested in the subject.

From there on, I worked my way down. The fifth floor is mainly composed of the News Corp, a large galleries featuring front row pages from great historical events. It also has a gallery with reproductions of important books and a theater. I did not stop at any of the theaters because film is not really my favorite media in museums, especially when it’s informative rather than artistic.

Photo courtesy of the Newseum

The 4th floor was the one I found least interesting, although it had many things to see, including an interactive gallery about the internet and new media, an exhibition on civil rights, a temporary display on the death of Abraham Lincoln, and the 9/11 gallery (pictured above). This was the part I liked the most; it had newspaper front pages from all over the world and a part of the antenna; but overall I thought this floor was a little bit too American-centered especially since American history is not a subject I am very passionate about.

The third and second floors are both very interactive and include another theater and a newsroom you can play in. Some of my personal highlights on these floors are the Journalists Memorial, a reminder that journalism is still a dangerous profession; and the Freedom of Speech map, an interesting infographic that has to be taken with a grain of salt but is well designed and well explained.

Last but not least, the first floor (or the ground floor four all of you non Americans). It has yet another movie theater I did not visit, but what makes this floor and more generally the whole Newseum famous is the Pulitzer prize photographs gallery. I has every single picture that ever won the Pulitzer price and the story behind some of them. It is probably the most popular and best displayed gallery of the Newseum. I was not as enthusiastic about it as some of my friends were but I think overall it is very well looked upon.

Photo courtesy of the Newseum

Overall, I was a little bit disappointed by the Newseum. Keep in mind that this is my personal opinion as a 20 something non American female who is not that interested in the news. I liked some galleries and displays but one visit was enough for me and I would not go back. Mainly what I disliked about this museum is that it had way too much information. The fact that all this information concerned subjects I’m not interested in really didn’t help. A lot of the displays are very overwhelming. There is way too much text, a huge diversity of fonts, colors, and shapes of panels. The Newseum is also very interactive, which can be a good thing sometimes but here it gets a little bit too much. That makes it extremely family friendly though and there were lots of children and school groups when I was visiting. I would not recommend this place unless you are very interested in journalism/recent history or you have children and it’s too hot or too cold to be outside.

Rating

  • Accessibility (location, price, disabled access, transport links and parking): 8/10
  • Architecture: 8.5/10
  • Collections: 5/10
  • Display: 6.5/10
  • Resources (explanation panels, guides, plans): 8/10
  • Extras (shop, events, exhibitions): 7/10
  • Overall: 7/10

Nobu Usuzukuri

IMG_7422I had this amazing mandala-shaped dish for my birthday dinner at China Chilcano, one of chef Jose Andres‘s restaurants in Washington DC. This restaurant is Peruvian/Asian (mainly Chinese and Japanese) fusion; and though it seems like a very far fetched combination, everything was amazing and I highly recommend you visit this place. Mostly the fusion happens in that Chinese and Japanese culinary styles and principles are applied to native Peruvian ingredients. This is actually a thing and it has a name: Chifa for the Chinese inspired dishes and Nikkei for the Japanese. The restaurant also has more traditional Peruvian food, also known as Criollo.

I’m not here to write a restaurant review though, so let me tell you more about this dish. First of all I had no idea it would look like this when I ordered it so I was quite amazed. It is most closely related to the Nikkei cuisine, and you can find it under Tiraditos in the menu, which stands for a sashimi-inspired raw fish dish. This particular one features Hawaiian sun-fish, watermelon radishes, and a seaweed salad. The sauces are white soy ponzu and aji limo pepper. It was a totally new and beautiful experience, and I hope to encounter and feature more of Jose Andres’s creations in the future.