I had a great time visiting Washington DC this fall. The city has such a rich history of architecture and art. In a way, it feels very European. The squat, sprawling nature of it, particularly reminded me of Paris. It was surreal finally being at the National Mall, being an arm’s width from the Washington Monument, and pretty much being in arm’s width of so many historic icons. Something I didn’t expect going in was the diversity of neighborhoods. Of course there is Capitol Hill and the National Mall and all of the patriotic ornamentation that comes along, but then there was Chinatown (beautiful, but much smaller than Vancouver’s), the filled-with-embassies-and-boutiques Dupont Circle, and the culturally diverse melting pot of Adams Morgan.

Historical terraced houses are everywhere. They sit at the top of steep slopes and are connected to streets by spindly cement staircases that look like they could simultaneously sink into the earth at any minute and last until the end of time.

Another thing that I didn’t expect to see were so many awe-inspiring religious structures. When I think cathedrals, I usually think Paris. But it turns out that D.C. has its fair share of beautiful cathedrals, as well. St. John’s Church, the Basilica of the National Shrine, and the Islamic CenterĀ of Washington are all inspiring structures to behold. The Potomac River was a sight to behold as well. I didn’t include any pictures from it here, but Great Falls is an awe-inspiring natural park. In the downtown of the city, the Potomac is wide and dark; it seems placid on the surface with fierce undercurrent boiling below.At Great Falls, all of the restrained fury of the water is unleashed.

Water cascades down into a white frothy foam; it rages through a stone-carved gorge; finally, it tempers out again into a calmer surface breaking off into various tributaries and creeks before running through the city.

One of things people to tell you to do when you’re in DC is go to the museums. Most of them, after all, are free. I really enjoyed exploring the American Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, which in addition to offering multiple floors on rich Amerindian history has also a spacious food court with many tasty, traditionally rooted (pun…) Amerindian dishes. The National Portrait Gallery is also worth a visit for sure. To be honest, there were so many museums to see and so little time to see them! Definitely will need to catch some more on my next trip.