US Trip Day 02-Washington local all day in just 12 dollars

Yesterday was my Day 02 in USA, out of my 34 days USA trip. Entire day, my expenditure was only 12 USD. This post provides a brief on how my day went.

Breakfast at hostel
The hostel where I was staying, Hostel Comfort Zone on Benning Road had free breakfast. Had a cup cake, some cereals and few cookies for breakfast and I was set to leave. They had coffee but it was of some strange flavor and I didn't like it.

Free ride to Union Station
Washington is running a tram service, called DC Street Car between Union Station and Benning Road. This limited range service is totally free as of now, as they seem to be testing the model before expanding to other parts of the city. I took this DC Street car and got down at Union Station.
 
It was about 9.45 AM when I reached Union station. From here, it was all walk till afternoon. Walked about 8 miles till about 2.30 PM when I decided to head back. Below map gives a reference. Cost: 0 dollars so far.
First stop at US Capitol Building
No entry inside. Had to see it from outside- first approached from front and then walked to the rear. US President elect take their oath here and a large crowd can assemble all the way till Lincoln Memorial. US Capitol Building houses the US Congress.

Next as I started to walk towards Washington Memorials, I had two attractions- National Gallery of Art I visited first- entry was free and it housed thousands of art work made by artists around the world, on several themes and topics over time. The collections seemed never ending- spent about 30-45 minutes here taking quick look at the exhibits. National Gallery of Art provides free WiFi, there were some places to sit and relax.


Once done with National Gallery of Art, visited Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum right opposite. Entry was free, free WiFi and drinking water was available in Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Museum had hundreds of exhibits, samples covering a wide array of topics related to flying, space etc- how to navigate, how space rockets, space shuttles work, principles of flying, telescopes, planets in solar system, life in space and so on. Was very enriching experience- I think I will write a separate post on this at the airlineblog. There was significant crowd of children. There were few paid activities- like Planetorium show, movies etc, which I skipped.

It was about 11.30 when I came out. Walked towards Washington Memorial. Had to decide if I wanted to visit some more museums-decided to skip for now. After a quick stop at Washington Memorial (we can't go close, only view from a distance) I proceeded in search of white house. Eventually reached Whitehouse view point (tourists can't go beyond this), took a few photos and moved on. White house looks majestic from close range- from a distance, it is a small building surrounded by more and even bigger buildings.

After White House, walked towards World War 2 memorial. There were some street food trucks enroute but they had no veg option, so skipped. World War 2 Memorial is a circular memorial with a fountain, surrounded by pillars each representing one state of USA.


After Wolrd War 2 Memorial, walked further to reach Lincoln Memorial.



By now it was about 1.30-2 PM. Started walking back towards Union station-thought of grabbing some food at small food counters in the park, but a small portion of veg items would cost 7 USD onwards- so decided to skip.

There were more museums around-Museum of Natural History, American-Indian museum and so on. But I wasn't very keen to visit these- heavy crowd outside was discouraging and my time and energy was running out too. So skipped.

Walked all the way back to Union Station-almost 3 PM or about 5 hours since I started walking. About 8 to 9 miles (13 to 15 kms total)- legs began to beg for rest, but it saved me good deal of money- one ticket on Hop on Hop off bus costs about 49 $ per person. My plan was to reach Baltimore by evening where I was to meet a friend. Thus I couldn't extend my exploration towards Potomac river/Tidel Basin.

Took the DC Street Car back to hostel, stopped at 7-Eleven to grab 4 bananas, an apple, a pack of chips- which together cost me about 5 $. My first expense for the day. Went back to hostel, had my lunch of Banana, Apple and chips, collected my bag and returned to Union Station. Bought a ticket for BWI Airport train station on Marc train-cost me 7 $, my second expense for the day. My friend picked me up from train station and had great dinner with his family, so no more expenses for the day, wrapping up day 02 at just 12 USD.

Part of this savings is because of all the walking and rest because of staying with a friend. If I had to pay for hostel and dinner, another 30-40 $ extra.

What happened on Day 01?
Day 01 I landed in Washington Dulles at about 4 PM. Took about 90 minutes of waiting in line to clear airport formalities and come out. Took a bus (5A) till Rosslyn Station (7 $), walked around to see some Cherry blossom, bought a SmartTrip card for Washington Metro (2$ for the card, 8 $ cash loaded), took train to Stadium Armory station, from there walked 2 miles to hostel. Checked into hostel- was about 8 PM, did a small walk around. Spent about 7 dollars at7-Eleven buying some fruits, donuts and juice for dinner. Slept.

Day 01 expense: 7$ bus +10$ smart trip card (5.4 balance left)+7$ dinner+ 31 $ hostel= 55$ total spend.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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