I wanted to write an online journal of my brief stay in Washington, but (as usual?) I could just write about it on my very first day in the USA.
So, here it is a very quick photoblog about that week at the end of November.
My second day in the US was Sunday, so I took some time to have a walk in the monumental center of the Capital. This is one of the first things I saw: the statue of a French commander who helped Washington during the American Revolution. His name was Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur de Rochambeau and if take a look at his Wikipedia link you'll discover the guy had a pretty adventurous life.
You can find his statue near the White House, in the Lafayette Garden.
Here it is: the White House.
While I was there, a anti-AIDS campaign was going on, so the rear side of the house was decorated with a gigantic red ribbon.
Walking on a early sunday morning in the clean air of the President's park, when no car crosses the Constitution Avenue, is pure bliss. And after a ten minutes walk the impressive Washington memorial obelisk catches your eye. It is the world's tallest obelisk, with its 555 feet 5⅛ inches (169.294 m).
Behind it, you can see the Capitol building. The photo is taken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which is visually connected to the Capitol and the Washington monumnt by a straight line. You can also see the Reflecting Pool where Forrest Gump made his "speech" when he comes back from the Vietnam. Unfortunately the pool was almost empty, perhaps because of manteinance works.
In the Lincol Memorial, I could see the famous statue of Lincoln, which is basically impressive for its dimension more than its artistic value.
I got a strange sensation looking at it, for it seemed to me that its iconography was more the one of a king than the one I would use for a president.
I also visited the WWII memorial and the Vietnam Veterans memorial monument. Well, between all those so solemn and maybe-too-neoclassic buildings and monuments, I found that this modern one was the most touching. The monument is essentialy a black marble wall where all the names of the dead or "missing" soldiers are carved; a very small bronze statue, the "Three soldiers" is placed near one of the wall ends.
I was happy to know that in the jury that decided to choose this art work by young Chinese-American artist Maya Ying Lin, there was a Sardinian artist, the great Costantino Nivola.
A little controversy started after this monument design was revealed. Some wanted a more solemn and figurative style. In my opinion this wall stand on its own in the load of classicistic monuments in the surrounding. The power of the names carved in the black marble is overwhelming, the line of the wall is simple yet evocative. It is the only "living" monument in the park: veterans and volunteers polish the marble every day, they update the data and talk to the visitors in order to help them finding their relatives names or tell the stories about the war.
The Jefferson memorial is another sample of classicistic memorial: though it is quite impressive, it also seems to me a sort of poor copy of the Roman Pantheon. That's what I mean when I say that classicist architecture may be pretty but can also be annoying.
In the following days I couldn't visit too much of the city, but I mainly visited some restuarants of the small cities near DC.
Below is an old cinema in Silver Springs.
And, in this last one, you can see the Christmas decoration of Barnes and Noble bookstore in Bethesda, near the hotel where I stayed (sorry, the photo is so bad!). B&N is a wonderful bookstore, where people can sit and read a part of the book they are inbterested in; where you can seat on the floor without being told anything. I spent there a couple of hours and it was love at first sight!!