Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sat 23 Mar - Washington, D.C.

Another quiet day of travel. We expect 9 hours on the bus from Knoxville to Washington, D.C. again with Megabus.

We start our day with an hour of strolling around downtown Knoxville. Unfortunately the weather is not kind, overcast and some drizzle but its our only chance to see the area. Our hotel, Holiday Inn, is located on the edge of Worlds Fair Park, where the World Fair was held in 1982. A tower called the Sunsphere is opposite but does not open until 11am so we can't visit that. In the photo below our hotel is on the left.

Worlds Fair Park

A nice statue of Rachmaninoff. Apparently he played his last ever concert at the University of Tennessee (UT) in 1943.

UT is a big part of this city and their football team has almost a religious following. Approximately 110,000 people go to each home game. A photo looking towards UT.

Downtown Knoxville has some lovely old buildings. This is the Court complex.

Quite a few old buildings seem to have been recently renovated in downtown Knoxville. Gay Street looks quite charming.


We wandered into a small park that was used to start a Fun Run for prevention of kidney disease. A few cold looking runners here.


Onto Market Square where there is this statue to commemorate the fight for women's rights. Go girls!

Our shuttle driver told us that Market Square was given a shot in the arm when a family bought about 6 buildings and turned them into successful bars and restaurants. Then the FBI raided and they were jailed for Maijuana growing and Money Laundering! The culprits are out of jail now and back investing in bars, all is forgiven. Hans is standing outside their flagship restaurant called "Oodles Uncorked".
Back to the Holiday Inn for our free buffet breakfast. This place, as a Priceline Express Deal, had taken first prize. Very classy, great staff, nice rooms and free wifi and breakfast. And cheap. For us.
We got chatting to the restaurant manager, Daryush, a Persian man who was crazy about soccer and Persian history. Twenty minutes later he was still talking. Again, the people in this town are giving Di a run for the money...
Lots of fun but we have to head off for Megabus. We get the shuttle to the Knoxville Transit Centre then wait. And wait...
The bus arrives 20 minutes after published departure time and Oh No its the same Safety Sam slow driver we had from Nashville. Verdamt!! This is going to be a long late trip.
We take off 45 minutes late. We have to laugh. He insists on making announcements to welcome passengers, telling us to "relax and sit back" and provide pointless updates, and every time he first blows into the microphone to check it is turned on! The driver presents himself as Alex and whilst he is safe he is also slow and seems to get flustered by luggage. And yes, timetables are for other people...
Oh well, fingers crossed we don't get him on any other trip.
Time goes slowly and we have a stop for lunch, then another stop to drop off / pick up passengers, then a safety stop (picture below)
We arrived at Union Station in Washington DC at 9.15pm, a good 1hr and 20mins after Megabus published arrival time. Oh well, our hotel, Phoenix Park, is only a few minutes away at 520 N Captial St.
There is an Irish pub next door, in fact there is a door between our hotel and the pub and we decide to have a late late dinner there. Given that it is Saturday night, the pub is busy, and there is a 30 minutes wait for a table to dine, so we decide to have "to go" in our room. We have a quick beer while we wait for the food, but the food arrives very quickly so we have to "down" the beer. Here we are, with the tucker in our room 601.

It was a mistake having dinner so late. Far too much and far too late. It would have been much better to save the money, "starve" for now and have a better breakfast tomorrow morning (which unfortunately is not included in the room price).

Good night from the US capital.

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