Jan and Ian

Washington #2…

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Day two: more monuments, more walking, more delights and, this time… Bicycles!
We acquainted ourselves with the city’s red bikes: $7 per day and then up to 30 minutes for free for as many trips as you can fit in- just don’t go longer than 30 minutes before you drop the bikes off, because then the costs kick in!
Sounds great, sounds easy- and it is… up to a point.
The exhilaration of travelling about five times faster than yesterday was soon tempered by the lack of bike stations near our intended destination: Arlington National Cemetery. All yesterday we had see the drop off points wherever we went, or so it seemed, so of course there would be one near such a significant memorial… but no. The nearest seemed to be way across near the Pentagon- no worries, we’ll drop them there, have a look at the 9/11 memorial and walk back. Except there is no station there, it is actually in Pentagon City, about two more km away. We were already behind schedule so we walked the bikes over to have a quick look at the memorial before heading back towards Arlington. Unfortunately bikes aren’t allowed at the memorial and soon we were being warned over the PA to get the bikes off. Which we did. Quickly. No point upsetting the Secret Service, is there!
Not too discouraged we rolled back across the (very wide) Potomac River Bridge and parked at the Lincoln Memorial station and began the long walk back again. All good. Arlington is beautiful and moving, as you would expect. I knew there were an extraordinary number of graves, but they just went on… stretching beyond the sloping green rises, seemingly forever…
Back at the bike station again we struck problem #2: the bike dispenser machine wouldn’t let us have 2 bikes, even though it had been happy to before. Not good! Cutting a long story short still leaves a long and frustrating conversation with the help desk who assured me they would rectify the situation when the serviceman could check the station in a day or two. Thank you. That helps a lot.
Anyway, we walked a bit more and discovered the rather beautiful Martin Luther King memorial and visited the mostly closed for renovation Smithsonian American History museum, where the best bit was the enormous Stars & Stripes flag from the early 1800s which inspired the US national anthem.
Our disrupted day has robbed us of time, but we also managed to get to the National Archives to see the original Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights before closing time.
Faced with a daunting walk back to our room we chanced the bike stations again and… of course, everything was now working perfectly!
A pleasant ride home capped off the day, with the bikeshare scheme proving to be a great success. Almost.

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3 comments

  1. hayley

    I wish we had the no-helmet rule so that the bike shares in Melbourne were more successful! I must admit I am dreading going back to wearing a helmet when I get home, I have been spoilt by the wind in my hair on the way to school – also a great explanation for when my coiffeur is less than immaculate … which is most days 🙂

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