Washington, D.C. #1: Georgetown

Published: February 7th 2018
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I had arrived in Washington, D.C. the previous evening. I had taken the train all the way from Charleston. It had been a long ride about ten hours, but it had been comfortable and there was free WiFi. Amtrak had impressed me. My hostel was in a great location, about a 15 minute walk from the main train station. I got off to a bit of a slow start in Washington, D.C., since the weather was bad when I got up I spent the morning and the early afternoon running some errands. It was a lazy day and I didn't get up to much until my tour that I had booked for that evening. Once the weather got better, I ventured out. I still had some time before my tour was due to start and I had decided to explore a little on my way to the metro station. I could have taken the subway from Union Station but that would have involved a transfer, so I decided to take a walk to a subway station that was on the same line and get to see some of the sights that were above ground.

The walk from my hostel took me through Union Station and out the other side. It was a really nice area, the roads were quiet and it was very green. I came to the back of the Capitol Building and had a look around the grounds there, before heading on to find the subway. I found the subway eventually, but the station was a bit hidden and I don't think it was the station I had intended to take the train from. I took the train to Foggy Bottom, what an epic name for a metro station. From there, it was about a ten minute walk to the meeting point for the tour. I have been on a couple of free walking tours so far on this trip and that was to continue in Washington. There were so many free tours to choose from that I booked one for each day of my four day stay. Today, I was taking the walking tour of Georgetown. I knew absolutely nothing about the area, so was interested to find out more.

The tour met at the corner of Waterfront Park. The tour was obviously a popular one as there were two guides doing the same tour. Luckily, the two tours kind of branched off from each other, so that they weren't in the same places at the same time. Our starting point was right next to the C&O canal. There was a bust of a man, who I think came up with the idea of putting the canal system in, in the park. The canal, constructed in the 1820s, linked Georgetown to Ohio via Western Maryland. However, the canal was a failure for a number of reasons and as the factories around it closed down, Georgetown became a slum. We wandered along next to the canal hearing some of its history and a brief outline of the tour. It was a nice little area and it is hard to imagine what it must have been like in the past.. We headed to the main thoroughfare of Georgetown, where we saw the Old Stone House. The house was built in 1765 and is the oldest original structure in Washington, D.C. The house looked pretty, but we didn't get too close sour guide told us about it from across the street.

We headed to the more residential area of Georgetown next. We wandered the streets, looking at and learning the history of some of its famous houses and their inhabitants. During the mid 20th century, Georgetown became home to the more affluent and well educated members of society as people were drawn to the area because if its beautiful stone houses and proximity to the centre. We saw the houses that the Kennedys lived in and also Jackie Kennedy's mansion. We took in some of the area's churches, too. All the houses we saw were gorgeous. Some were very grand looking and others were small but still very cute. I loved the brightly painted ones. We also saw John Kerry's house and the mansion of Alexander Graham Bell.

The tour ended at Georgetown University. The university was established in 1789 and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the US. The main building is very grand, it has almost a castle feel to it. It must be cool to study there and it is so old and grand. The area outside was really nice, lots of grass for the students to relax or study on. The university was also under the flight path for one of the city's airports, the planes were flying pretty low. It was a cool sight to see. The guide had pointed out the steps used in 'The Exorcist', so I headed over to them as they were only a short walk away from the university. I have never seen 'The Exorcist' so I don't know the significance of the steps.The steps were pretty steep and a bit narrow. I could imagine them being pretty creepy in the dark, as they are sandwiched between a building and a wall. I could see why they were used for one of the characters to plummet to their death.

I wandered back to the main street in Georgetown. This was really bustling on a Saturday evening. There were lots of shops, so I took the opportunity to look around them and had a big splurge at Sephora. Taking the subway, probably hadn't been the quickest or easiest route to get to Georgetown, so I decided to take the bus back. There is a special bus that seems cover all the main spots and was either super cheap, about $1, or free. I can't remember which. The bus ride back to Union Station was pretty quick and from there I walked back to the hostel. I made myself some dinner and then chilled in my room before having an early night as I had a big day ahead of me, the following day.

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