After Firefly Festival 2015, which you can read about here, Emily and I drove to Washington, DC to spend a couple of days exploring the US capital. We stayed in an area called Adams Morgan, a couple of miles from the main tourist hotspots. We stayed in a quaint little guest house called Adam's Inn, which is located opposite an old fashioned looking fire station.
Adam's Inn in Adams Morgan, Washington DC
Amazingly, in the months since we visited the area, I discovered that a US colleague, who is a firefighter and part time DJ, is based at that particular fire station and was on duty while we were there! It's such a crazy, small world we live in.
Fire Station in Adam's Morgan, Washington DC
Selfie in front of the White House, Washington DC
It goes without saying that we had to go and see The White House and get that all important bucket list selfie in front of it! As you can imagine, the security was incredibly tight, so you can't actually get all the close to it. We saw a helicopter land on the roof and we'd like to think it was someone important or even the main man himself!
Washington Monument, Washington DC
There are so many incredible things to see in Washington DC, all within a very small distance of each other. A few minutes walk from the White House, we checked out the Washington Monument and Lincoln's Memorial. Both heavily featured in movies and TV programmes including Homeland, Forrest Gump and Night at the Museum. We loved seeing all these famous places in person and it was such a lovely sunny day for walking around too.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
Selfie with Abe at the Lincoln Memorial!
After lunch we visited the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, which is another place we were keen to see, being big fans of Night at the Museum! It was nice to wander round here and cool down a bit with some air conditioning!
Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
We later visited the Botanic Gardens, which was a relaxing place to chill out for a bit. We've visited the Botanic Gardens in many cities, including Sydney Australia and Singapore, and they're always a nice place escape the city for a little while.
Botanic Gardens, Washington DC
As a big fan of Homeland, I was excited to see the United States Capitol and attempt to copy the photo of Brody from the shows credits. It was surprisingly hard to replicate, but you can see my efforts below!
United States Capitol, Washington DC
To round off an action packed day of sightseeing, we visited the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC
After a much needed lie-in, we headed to Georgetown in Washington, DC. This is a very pretty area, which has lots of great shops to explore and is home to the renowned Georgetown Cupcakes, which a friend highly recommended we check out. There was a big queue outside [for cupcakes!], so we knew this really was a special bakery. The cupcakes did live up to the hype and were a much needed sugar rush after lots of walking in the sunshine.
Georgetown in Washington, DC
We wanted to leave a huge amount of time to drive back to Philadelphia for our flight home, to allow for traffic and any delays along the way. We left mid afternoon for a mid evening flight and we were quite enjoying the road trip. The photo below was taken just before we entered the Baltimore Harbour tunnel, when the sky was only a little bit gloomy.
Driving back to Philadelphia airport
Shortly after emerging from the tunnel, the sky was rapidly changing to a very dark and stormy colour, which at first we thought was actually kind of cool. Then the rain started in abdundance and we became a little bit concerned, as surface water flooding started appearing on the roads. Emily and I both got automated Tornado Warnings pop up on our phones, which I have to admit was quite scary! The warning, along with messages on the radio, suggested we take shelter. We weren't really sure what to do, as we were quite a way from the airport and didn't want to miss out flight. We decided to try and seek shelter in a local hotel, but we couldn't find anywhere suitable, despite taking quite a big detour off our main route.
We ended up stopping at a Home Depot store, where we got out and sheltered inside for a little while. The locals were all calm about the whole thing, which made us feel a lot better. When we decided the rain had stopped enough to continue the journey, we got back in the car, only to find it making an awful noise when we started moving! The flooding on the road had caused a big piece of fibreglass to break off under the car, which was dragging along the road. A friendly worker helped us cut this off, but the damaged caused us more concern, with the possibility of water getting into parts of the car that it shouldn't, and of course returning the rental car with a big bit unattached!
There's a storm brewing!
Tornado warning on our phones
By this point, we were starting to cut it pretty fine to get to the airport, despite leaving so hugely early to get there. We arrived at the car rental office just over 30 minutes before our bag drop was due to close. Emily got on the shuttle bus with our bags, as we thought it was much better to try and sort out a later flight for just me, if I did end up missing it. I returned the car, apologised for the storm damage and got on the next shuttle bus. I met Emily at the airport and we dropped our bags with two minutes to spare. We were so glad to get on the plane and relax shortly after, after an eventful and tiring few hours!
The whole experience was quite surreal and certainly an interesting story to tell. The whole trip to the US for Firefly Festival and to visit Washington DC was an incredible experience that I'll be thinking about for many years to come.
Beautiful sunset after the storm