In April 2017 my reflections on a whirlwind visit to Washington D.C. were published in Sawubona magazine, South African Airways’ award-winning in-flight magazine.
I absolutely adored Washington, from the wealth of museums to big, brash and bold avenues, the architecture, the street food, the people, the sense of dominance crafted through careful town planning and a large dollop of ego. It’s a wonderful city.
In the article I shared some must-do experiences like the International Spy Museum; the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial; the White House; Union Station; Old Town Alexandria; the original Smithsonian building, the Castle; the Natural History Museum; the Space Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian.
Originally the article didn’t end there, it concluded with a personal reflection of an unexpected and charming exchange waiting for a Metro train. This section was cut due to space constraints, but I can’t resist sharing it here:
And there’s more…
Just when I thought Washington had given all she had to give, this remarkable city squeezed out one more wonderful moment in, of all places, the Metro heading to Dulles International Airport. A chance meeting with a charming gentleman at the Foggy Bottom station turned into a professional highlight when it emerged that he was a former TIME magazine world section editor and foreign correspondent. In a few short and memorable moments we discussed the global state of journalism in the digital age, the fact that we both had relatives in Yorkshire, his impressions of Johannesburg and we compared the Metro to the London Underground (London win hands down).
This encounter confirmed my initial impression of Washington D.C., garnered on that first day atop a tour bus taking in the architectural and spatial marvel that is this impressive capital: that the diversity and depth of legacy in this imposing city will continue to hold their own, in spite of who occupies that surprisingly small house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. History may have shaped Washington D.C. but its ability to prize the past while adapting to the future is why it continues to flourish. There is a treat around every corner, every expansive avenue, museum or mall, and even at an unassuming Metro stop.