Why I didn’t LOVE Washington D.C. – and yes I feel guilty saying this.
Since moving to New York, I have been enthralled by the idea of visiting Washington DC. I’d like to say it’s because it’s the Nations’ capital but if I were to be completely honest it’s most likely because I have watched numerous TV series about spies, politics and terror attacks in Washington and needed to check it out for myself.
Of course none of the shows set in Washington are actually filmed in DC due to high permit costs and the risks that they can be revoked at any time if, say POTUS feels like some ice-cream down the street but hey I was still intrigued.
Nonetheless I boarded the Megabus in New York and four hours later ended up standing where Olivia Pope first met Huck on the Metro platform (which probably wouldn’t fly anyway since panhandling is prohibited in the stations.)
There aren’t many places I have travelled to that I would say I hated; in fact that number would be zero. Maybe it’s my happy go lucky nature, I don’t know but I am easily pleased and will love a place whether it’s loud and nonstop or small and quaint. There is always something to admire and see.
But recently I find myself learning to accept the fact I don’t need to love a place and that it’s all right if I don’t feel the need to visit again. It doesn’t mean I hated the experience but rather I got what I wanted out of it and feel content with it.
I can rattle of a list of beautiful aspects I enjoyed about DC such as the mind blowing pink and purple sunsets at twilight, the lush nature, and the ease of the city layout. But on the other hand I also felt like I was completing a scavenger hunt, visiting each monument or landmark, taking the obligatory photo.
And therein lies the fact, I liked Washington D.C. but I didn’t love it.
Sure, I didn’t have to take the path of a fully fledged tourist but I wanted to visit the well-known landmarks that are known around the world. Now that I have seen them for myself I don’t feel like I have to revisit in the near future. I wandered through the Smithsonian museums, checked out the uber-cool U-Street and chic Dupont Circle and was even educated by a political-hating Washingtonian cab driver.
I was impressed I could see the sky thanks to a rule that doesn’t allow skyscrapers, humbled by the Arlington Cemetery and surprised by the quaintness of such a powerful city.
Unfortunately my 48 hours felt too much like a checklist with a tourist agenda. Maybe this was due to the small window of time I had, or maybe it’s thanks to the many movies and TV shows set in Washington.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.