Great city, shame about the dress!

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I'M amazed by the fashion writers this morning. Some of them actually liked Sam Cam's evening dress which I thought was hideous.

 

Samantha had borrowed the dress from designer Alessandra Rich. Give it back quick and don't step out in one of her creations again.

Sadly for Britain, Sam was outshone by America's First Lady Michelle Obama who, to be fair, does have a fantastic sense of what looks good.

And let's face it the White House is a lot better pad than Downing Street. It's got that wonderful China Room to start with where Michael Douglas first kissed Annette Bening in the movie The American President.

 

There was lots of kissing going on last night but who wouldn't when the gorgeous George Clooney is in the House, which if you are interested, has 32 bathrooms for the lovies to powder their noses.

 

See the dirty tricks exposed by journalists

Barack and Michelle are giving Sam and David a good tour of Washington DC... which I do love.

 

The capital and political heart of America with elegant buildings steeped in history is a clean, lively city.

 

Walk the stretch from the Capitol Building with its 180ft Rotunda, home of Congress, straight up Pennsylvania Avenue – nicknamed America’s Main Street.

 

And just like Disney’s Main Street USA, there’s plenty to entertain along the way; The Peace Monument, National Gallery, the Old Post Office, the tourist centre in the Ronald Reagan Building and the “Watergate Courthouse” as it’s known following the Richard Nixon scandal.

 

The latest museum (there are scores dedicated to just about everything imaginable), is the Newseum on Pennsylvania. A massive glass-fronted building where the public can “Meet the Press” – which is ironic considering many US politicians have fallen foul to their dirty tricks being exposed by journalists.

 

It’s fun - you can play at being a reporter or a TV presenter – and serious. There’s a moving exhibition of 9/11 and a huge remnant of the Berlin Wall.

 

More than 50 up-to-date front pages of newspapers around the globe are displayed and TV screens are flashing snippets of news all over the shop. Entry costs about £12.

 

The other building bringing in the crowds is the Spy Museum which gives you a taste of fact – CIA spooks – and fiction – our very own James Bond. Kids will love learning how to become an agent!

There are restaurants galore for all budgets

 

One of the best things about this city’s clean streets is that the pavements are as wide as British avenues, which means they are perfect for Segways – motorised scooters that you stand on and GO. Not boasting, but I was a natural and whizzed around – past the white marble memorial to Abraham Lincoln and the 555ft Washington Monument.

 

If on your own two feet, go to the top for astonishing views of the city. What you’ll notice is how green it is, lots of trees and open grass spaces.

 

Using a hop-on-hop-off bus, with a two-day ticket costing about £18, will get you further afield. See the Pentagon and Arlington military cemetery containing the headstones of 250,000 US servicemen and the Eternal Flame marking John F Kennedy’s grave.

 

Another highlight for me was walking through Union Station. I was cursing the bus driver for ending his run for the afternoon here but after stepping inside, was delighted he had. The vaulted ceilings are set off by 70lb of glistening gold leaf.

 

There are restaurants for all budgets, try Oyamel at 401 7th Street for great-value Mexican dishes and for scrumptious American food with a French twist, go for Central Michel Richard, which won an award this year for the best new restaurant, at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Also on the Avenue is THE place to stay, if only for a night. The Willard InterContinental is dubbed “The Residence of Presidents” – they’ve all been there – and it’s where Dr Martin Luther King wrote his “I Have A Dream…” speech. Movie credits include Tom Cruise’s Minority Report and if it’s OK for Tom it has to be OK!

 

Georgetown, named after our George III, is also a good place to eat and shop with a fabulous mix of chains such as GAP and Banana Republic and one-off outlets.

 

Washington has had trouble attracting Brits away from New York. It’s not worth comparing the two but if you think the capital is stuffy, boring and full of suits then you are wrong.

 

So give Washington a try – if only to peer through the White House railings.

 

GETTING THERE: For information about Washington, DC and Baltimore visit www.capitalregionusa.co.uk or call 0208 339 6048.

Virgin Atlantic offer return flights from Gatwick to Washington. See www.virginatlantic.com or call 08705 747747. For rooms at the Willard see www.washington.intercontinental.com

For Segways see www.segsinthecity.com

 

 

 

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