Washington, DC

I write on our final evening in America’s beautiful capital city. So many things to see, we shall have to return. Today we had a relaxing time, sleeping late, then luxuriating in the Sunday papers, before going out for a hearty lunch. Yes, there were more sights we could see but to be truthful, we were all sighted out. Furthermore, last night we had a lively and fabulous evening, dining at the glorious home of Washington people we met in San Francisco. I know home-cooked food is always best, but this was unsurpassable: prosciutto with fresh baby figs, plump scallops, fresh green salad with soft goat cheese, finished with tiny dolce. And the wine! I will have to email our hosts to be reminded of the reds we drank, but I do remember the Chardonnay. It was Chalk Hill, Russian River Valley, and it was delicious. And in the course of the evening I was quickly converted to the pleasures of an ipad. When I get home….

But meanwhile, the pleasures of Washington, DC. I’ve been remiss in noting all the wines we’ve sampled, but one Riesling we did like, a Washington state native, bright and fresh, was Chateau Ste Michelle.

Our stay here began well because CCQC, as President of the NZ Bar Association, had been organised into a special tour of the United States Supreme Court.   The woman who showed us around was extremely knowledgeable, not only on the history of the building but also about cases, and justices, ensuring we had an engrossing morning. When the tour was over, she took our photo beside the large statue of Chief Justice John Marshall, an important figure in US history, famous for Marbury v Madison, which established the court has the power to strike down laws with violate the constitution.

Here’s what you always see when you see someone reporting from Washington – the Capitol – though I heard many American tourists refer to it as “The White House”!

I really liked this American Civil War memorial – my photo here is a close-up of one of the faces – but it captured the grittiness of that terrible conflict, in which the damage caused by the weaponry was far ahead of the capabilities of the medical teams trying to patch up the wounded and dying men.

The Lincoln Memorial, from where Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream”, is incredibly impressive, notwithstanding the tourists crawling all over it ignoring the “quiet please, show respect” sign. Honestly, you’d think people could forgo their coke, water bottles, food, whatever else they stuff into their greedy maws, for the fifteen minutes it takes to climb the steps and view the statue of Lincoln. But no, this nation of the over-obese must have food in every hand at all times.

And of course, there’s the Washington Monument, visible from nearly everywhere.

This morning we walked up to duPont Circle, just near our club where we’re staying, and there was a bustling farmers’ market. Always frustrating when you can’t buy the lovely produce, but I did capture some on film.

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