DC En Couleur

The need to craft words about the city falls away, for once you walk its wide open boulevards, there is no escaping the aura of power that envelopes it. Tangibly at that. Classic row houses lined up on broad, leafy avenues, impressive buildings of embassies and trade unions, grand hotels and saloons, followed by resplendent federal buildings and museums with their decided partiality for classical architecture, the many Ionic column, the mythological figures carved upon the facades… oh, but our senses were awash with these visions of grandeur. And all this, the conception of a Frenchman who in the late 1700s came upon a rolling landscape of hills and plantations, forests and marshes, at the confluence of two rivers. Together with the first president of the United States, Pierre Charles L’Enfant laid out an architectural groundwork for the city, imparting it with unequivocal majesty, but died without receiving payment and recognition.

It’s been a long-drawn-out two hundred years and more, Monsieur L’Enfant, but maybe, just maybe, you would strut its streets with pleasure, pronouncing it Ç’est Magnifique, even as you cock an eyebrow at the girl who walks past you with her mane of flaming brilliance and air of nonchalance.

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Again, in colour. Do you prefer the monochromatic version of it more?
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Colour, in DC

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The Commissary
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Samuel Hahnemann Monument. In memory of the German physician who founded the branch of alternative medicine called Homeopathy. 
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The Omani cultural center in DC
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Old Catholic churches

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The White House
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Trump and his admirers. Seen outside The White House.

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High-wheel bicycle for men. The Columbia Light Roadster, 1886. Spotted at The National Museum of American History.
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Apple Macintosh. The first box that arrived with flair in 1984 for the sum of $2,500. What a long way we have come!

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First Lady Caroline Harrison’s modest velvet-satin evening gown in burgundy and grey
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A New York dressmaker fashioned this gold damask and cream satin gown for Lucy Hayes, the first First Lady to boast of a college degree.
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First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s state dinner dress by Oleg Cassini in yellow silk, with an overlay of crepe chiffon, and her costume pearl necklace.
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Another Oleg Cassini grey brocade silk ensemble for Jackie Kennedy

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Curious stranger

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Capitol Hill

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Library of Congress

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Shots from within the Library

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Minerva at the Library of Congress
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Feeling fizzy at Fiola Mare
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Lusciously grilled octopus, branzino, langoustine and lobster
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Raviolo Carbonara with black truffles and Beech mushrooms
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The National Monument
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Granite and marble come together in this imperial memorial to Thomas Jefferson

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National Monument through the columns of Jefferson Memorial

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Twilight on the Potomac

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

52 thoughts on “DC En Couleur

  1. Beautiful city, beautifully portrayed. 🙂 🙂 I blinked at that determinedly striding young woman. Perhaps I’m more of a crinoline sort of lady. Not so easy for riding a penny farthing bicycle though.


    1. Thank you, Jo. There were many colourful folks out that day on the streets of DC. So enough blinks there 🙂
      I would not be happy with a corset or the penny-farthing 😛 Though I could take a sweet Regency gown. xx


  2. Your pictures of DC are absolutely superb but it must be noted that I got very distracted by that amazing octopus dish. I had something similar in Boston recently and I have been dreaming of it ever since …. which pretty much sums me up – take me anywhere but it’s the food that will stay in my wishful mind the longest 😊 xx


    1. Thank you F. I often think of the seafood platter and drool. As monstrously as a Great Dane. The octopus and the lobster were divine. I could sing ditties about them indeed.

      I bet the restaurants in Boston are something to watch out for. Another city we have on our list.

      As for that last sentiment of yours, it is on mine too. Always. xx


  3. Coincidentally, we’re just about to head to DC! Your post is a fantastic primer. Can’t wait to wander those “broad, leafy avenues” ourselves. As usual, loved the squirrel cameo. 😀


    1. Tee hee, you know my obsession with the fluffy-tail rodents.

      Knowing you two, I bet you will see the city so well that I will be learning a whole lot. Especially drooling at your foodie shots. We did not get enough time…I hope you have a few days on hand. xx


      1. Better than our measly one day 🙂

        A big yay for the long weekend. Have a perfect trip. We missed out on Georgetown and Alexandria, both of which I really wanted to explore!


  4. That must be an amazing city to see. Our capital city is also planned and it would be neat to see them back to back to compare them.


  5. The U.S. capital is certainly full of beautiful classic architecture thanks to Monsieur L’Enfant. The mosaic of Minerva at the Library of Congress is stunning! $2,500 for a Mac in 1984? What an expensive desktop – we certainly have come a long way. Hope you are doing well! – Neek


    1. Hiya Neek, it has been some time! How have you been? I have been good. Excited about the upcoming weekend when we head to the Smokies. What are you guys upto?

      I found the story of L’Enfant saddening. When people die without getting due credit for their vision/work, it is a ghastly business. Minerva is so stunning, ain’t she? I could not take my eyes off her!

      As for the Mac, isn’t it hilarious when you look at it from the perspective of a modern gadget-happy person? 🙂 xx


      1. We’ve been fine. Just so busy with work and personal life. It’s been difficult to be regularly posting but it’s always great to hear what you are up to! Can’t wait to read about your visit to the Smokies. Never been there myself. Have a safe trip! – Neek


      2. I hope you get some respite from work then this weekend. I noticed that you have not posted something new in a while. It is perfectly okay to take time off blogging till you can do it with pleasure rather than as a chore. I keep reminding myself of that too because I have been random with mine too.

        Thank you for the wishes, Neek. Looking forward to this break. xx


  6. This post of yours is seriously making me regret not making a detour to DC when I was in NYC a few years back. I liked all the pictures especially the gowns hehe (wish you posted some more 🙂 ) I was also gonna say, what an expensive desktop! I realised that you love taking pictures of squirrels. They are so cute! But fast! This one looks like he stopped for a photo op. And your couple selfie looks so sweet 🙂


    1. Hah thanks Amor. I have a think for those little rascals even though they are rodents if you think of it. Their sprightliness never fails to make me smile.

      I did not take photos obsessively this time because I realise how boring it is to post innumerable shots from trips (though I am sure I do put way too many) 😛 I shall take more photos for you next time I am there and I hope that shall be soon. DC is exciting, with so much to offer. When you are in the US again, you can make a trip to it.

      And the Macintosh was precious! xx


  7. I was there a few times, the first on our 7th grade trip down from NYC. The clothing’s a fascinating glimpse into eras past. The women would’ve been horrified at all the skin we show now. =)


    1. You bet they would have popped a nerve or two!

      You must have seen the city really well if you’ve been there more than once. I, on the other hand, need to know it better. Hope you are well. xx


    1. Hey Ariel, thank you. It is gorgeous inside the library but if you are in the US, you can plan a trip to DC sometime in the future surely 🙂 xx


      1. I realised it later. Of course you will. The world can shrink at our command 🙂


  8. The colour version is just as striking! I didn’t know the Frenchman was behind the gorgeous architecture, interesting indeed. The Mac brought back some memories, remember thinking why making shapes on a computer was such a big deal when it could be done so easily on a piece of paper… gosh we have come such a long way! Nice to spot a photo of the two of you in there! xx


    1. Thank ye, lovely lady. I am a child of the 80s, so I do not remember this earliest version much. I had seen prototypes of it later on but it was considered so outdated even then in the early 2000s! xx


  9. I am getting quite familiar with Washington these days. I’ve spent the last month watching all 5 seasons of ‘House of Cards’. Loved seeing your photos. It’s all so grandiose. Apart from the squirrel, who is just downright cute!


    1. Thank you, Tracey. The city leaves quite the impression upon upon you. And, that show is addictive! We cannot wait for the new season.

      The squirrel, as always, for diversion. 🙂 xx


    1. Thank you Brian ji. I apologise for the late reply. We had a heavenly week indeed. In the Smokies 🙂 Hope yours was good too.


      1. No worry. The smoky mountains? Must be nice. One (of several) things I like in the US is the “accessibility” of nature. One thinks great urbanized cities, but there are plenty of national parks, and trails, etc. perfect season to go.


      2. Oh yes, all the cliches are driven out of the mind as one starts exploring the country.

        The Great Smoky Mountains is it. An absolute delight. Though I believe its autumnal colours would have been even better. I did notice the change in colours as we left. Makes me want to go back asap.


      3. Fall – As “Murikans” call Autumn – in the North East is beautiful. (In the South too. Lots of forrest there)
        Suit your fancy. Go back as you please. 🙂


      4. I wish it could be often! Even more so to catch their ‘fall’ (you could not get more literal than that!).


      5. I understood when I went to Grad school. Apart from having to learn a different language (American IS different!), the first Fall was magnificent.


      6. I doubt not. Just the first time I saw the change of colours here and it was the point of no return. 🙂
        American English is a study in its own! I am still picking up new words.


      7. It is quite unique. Here in Mexico, there is no fall, no winter. Which is nice temperature-wise. Yet, I miss the sense of time and cycle that Autumn and Winter bring. 🙂
        Be good.


    1. Hello Anasa! Thanks for the nomination and dropping by. I shall pop over to yours. But I am not participating in any more blog awards. Been there, done that deal. But it feels grand to be thought of. Cheers!


      1. You don’t have to participate if you don’t like, but you can only consider the intiative as a big like to your blog from me because I appreciate your posts. See you


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