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U.S.A.: Tidal Basin

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Tidal Basin | U.S.A. | Americas

[Visited: March 2011]

When considering my options for my visit to Washington, DC, I read that the National Cherry Blossom Festival had just started the previous day. That made my decision easy: after an early morning run in the snow, I headed to the Tidal Basin where a large concentration of cherry blossoms can be found. It had stopped snowing, the late March snow had melted, and the sky had a promise of sunshine in it - for someone with optimistic eyes. Arriving from the Mall, it was easy to find my way, as a small sea of white-pinkish could be seen in the distance. I was certainly not alone: many people were out on this Sunday to go for a walk along the Tidal Basin; after all, the cherry blossom festival only lasts a couple of weeks.

Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Reflection of Washington Monument in the Tidal Basin framed by cherry blossoms

From where I started, the most prominent building on the Tidal Basin was without doubt, Jefferson Memorial just across the water. Its circular shape and architecture in the best classical tradition can actually be seen from almost everywhere along the Tidal Basin. The skies were still grey when I walked west, towards the Kutz Bridge. Here, I had a better view of the Obelisk, or Washington Monument, the tallest building in the city; the views of the monument would get better the more I walked west. Right across the bridge, I saw a plaque commemorating the first cherry trees donated by Japan in 1912, precisely 99 years (to the day) before. The then mayor of Tokyo donated over 3,000 cherry trees to celebrate the friendship between the two countries; cherry blossoms obviously being one of the symbols of Japan.

Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Japanese lantern surrounded by cherry blossoms

The idea to plant the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, itself functioning as a reservoir between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River, was a good one: it is a great sight to see an abundance of white flowers with a touch of pink all around the body of water. As I continued my way on the southern side of the Tidal Basin, I came across what is going to be a memorial for Martin Luther King jr, and ended up visiting the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial, a quite extensive place with waterfalls, statues, works of art, and quotes by the former president on slabs of stone. Contrasting with this modern memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, just a couple of minutes further east, is like almost like a temple, a stately white marble building with spacious steps leading to a corridor behind Ionic columns. Inside, an enormous statue of Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers and the third president of the United States in the early 19th century, with excerpts of the Declaration of Independence on the walls. My tour around the Tidal Basin had ended, just as the first rays of sunlight were finally coming through the layer of grey clouds that had covered the city until then.

Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Cherry blossom in detail
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Peeking through cherry blossoms with Jefferson Memorial in the background
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Tidal basin with cherry trees and Jefferson Memorial
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Cherry blossoms not yet fully blooming next to the Tidal Basin
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Japanese stone pagoda and cherry blossoms
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Jefferson statue in the Jefferson Memorial next to the Tidal Basin
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Waterfalls are a part of the Roosevelt Memorial
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Cherry blossoms in close-up
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Old cherry trees blossoming next to the Tidal Basin
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Cherry blossom branch hanging over the waters of the Tidal Basin
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): One of the quotes sculpted out of a wall in the Roosevelt Memorial
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Path though a group of cherry blossom trees
Picture of Tidal Basin (U.S.A.): Face sculpted in the Roosevelt Memorial

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