I arrived in the city around 7:30 at Union Station. The station was pretty nice (for a train station) with a bunch of food places (including some that were a little better then the typical train station places.) But I went straight for the taxi stand. My first image of the city was of the Capital, I liked that, it gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. There's just something I like about seeing the seat of government, it makes the government feel accesable, even if it's not. It actually reminded me of when I was in Rome and the first thing I saw when I got out of the Metro was seeing the Coloseum. My taxi took me quickly to my hotel - The Henley Hotel on Massachusets Ave.
Check in at the hotel was quick and effiecient and I was assigned room number 702. I was excited about this hotel, it's a historic preservation building and from the website it seemed like it had a lot of character, not just a typical chain hotel. Well the hotel was nice and clean and did have a bit more character. But, it wasn't that special. The room was small, it didn't have a desk, I had to wiggle the cable wire to get a clear picture on the TV and it didn't have THAT much character. I felt like every room might have had a different shape and set up, but that they probably have all the same bedding, window treatments, furniture, TV's. Basically the character of the hotel didn't go much past the lobby and the outside of the building. I also didn't like the set up of the bathroom - it had a lot of empty space and the sink area was really small.
But the good things were the bedding. The bed was comfortable, though not exceptional. But the bedding did seem to be of a higher quality and the pillows were comfortable. Being as I spent about 9 hours a day in the room (mostly sleeping) a comfortable bed was the only thing I really cared about in the end.
After checking into my room I dropped my stuff off and went in search of food. I wasn't terribly hungry, but I knew I would be if I didn't eat. This was another problem with the hotel, there was a restaurant there, but there was nothing to eat within a 2 block radius and forget it if you wanted something quick and easy to eat, McDonalds was about 5 blocks away. At one point I saw a diner like place and got all excited, but it turned out to be a furniture store. Later on I noticed another furniture store that looked like a diner. Later on in my trip I realized that if I had done my walking in the other direction, I probably would have found a nicer McDonalds within the same distance.
The two things I learned on this night was that this hotel was poorly placed if you wanted food, and that in Washington DC furniture stores look like diners.
So I did end up eating at McDonalds, I got french fries and a soda. I have to say I'm not sure it was my best decision though. As I was walking up I passed some homeless people and at the same time 2 guys walked up to me and asked where the nearest Metro stop was, a homeless person answered, then asked for money. I'm so not into giving homeless people money so I just went to McDonalds where the clientel was a little off. There was a family of 4 who looked like they spent a fair amount of time in McDonalds, and a homeless woman who was talking to herself. Then the homeless guys came in. As a single woman in a strange city (and one not know for how safe it is), it didn't feel terribly comfortable to me. But nothing happened to me and it just served as one of those nights when you notice everything that is going on around you, but traveling will do that to you.