Age of Discovery

Replicas of Columbus’ ships the Niña and the Pinta were anchored in the Potomac branch in DC. I didn’t go aboard, since I didn’t have much time and it cost $8. I could see everything I wanted to see anyway. The ships were built in Salvador in Brazil. They sail around for exhibitions and, according to the notes, they were featured in the movie “1492”.

These boats are small. I would not want to cross a big lake in one of these things. You can see some modern boats nearby for size comparison.

A statue of Columbus stands in front of Union Station and Washington is in the District of Columbia.  Columbus used to be a hero. We sang songs about him in grade school. Lately, however, he is reviled by some and considered un-PC, since his voyages led to the “conquest” of the Americas. I think it was probably a good thing overall.  I don’t buy into that Rousseau noble savage stuff. Life was nasty, brutish and short in those days for just about everybody. 

This area of town is changing. They just rebuilt the area around Waterfront Metro stop and it has gone from being seedy and dangerous to being nice and pleasant. Above and below are linden trees in bloom. I really love the scent.  It reminds me of Germany and Poland. I comment on them every year because every year it is nice. The linden is the European relative of the American basswood, sometimes even called American linden. The Euro variety is smaller, but has showier and more fragrant flowers. Bees are fond of the flowers and there is even a variety of honey called basswood honey. They only flower for about ten days. The lindens flower in Europe in late June and July, about the same time as they do in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Here we are a month ahead.

Notice the flag. There was a very strong south wind that brought in rain (see the last picture below)

The Potomac is fresh water, but it is affected by tides in the Chesapeake Bay. The tidal basin at the Jefferson Monument is meant to control for some of that. You can see the water flooding over the banks in the pictures above and below. It reaches about five yards farther in at times. At low tide, the place where you see the fence is 3-4 feet above the water surface. 

Below are storm clouds racing in at Dunn Loring. I snapped the picture and rode for home. I arrived just as the rain was starting. Literally seconds after I got in the safety of the garage, we had a cloudburst. A couple hours later, it knocked out the power for a while all over. Urban dwellers like us are unaccustomed to the sold wall of darkness.