Imagine being in Disneyland (or any popular amusement park) in the summertime. Now image it being 50*F outside and it’s not actually Disneyland. That’s what the cherry blossom festival felt like in Washington D.C., USA. …But it was definitely worth it!
I traveled into downtown D.C. via metro, which was abnormally busy, and got off on the wrong stop (oops). I ended up on a side street in between the Department of Agriculture and Department of the Treasury, but I didn’t mind because it was very calm and there wasn’t a lot of people on that street.
When I finally wandered my way down to the tidal basins, I was shocked by the sheer number of people walking around. I decided to go to see the cherry blossoms on Sunday, April 8, instead of April 7th, which was when all the festivities took place, in the hopes that it wouldn’t be as busy. I was wrong.
During my three hours downtown — I almost got hit by a car several times, I was run over by strollers and nearly pushed into the tidal basins, and crossing the bridges to get to and from Jefferson Memorial were a nightmare. The bathrooms had lines a mile long, there was no shelter from the bitter wind. I was stopped multiple times to take pictures of strangers.
But it was all worth it just to see the cherry blossoms. It really is a beautiful sight. From the hues of the flowers ranging from white to pink to the unique angles of the tree branches — the cherry trees are gorgeous. And, compositionally, the way that these trees interact with the memorials surrounding the basin is spectacular.
Besides the sheer beauty of the trees and my qualms about the crowd, being at the tidal basins brought a sense of comradery among everyone who saw the flowers. Everyone realized how delicate and perfect the blossoms looked, and how lucky we all were to be there to experience it. Perfect strangers stopped one another to take pictures of them in front of a forest of blossoms or a monument. I could hear so many different languages and accents all around me — from Russian, Japanese, Chinese, German, British, southern U.S., Canadian, Spanish, and so many more. The language barrier was not an issue at the tidal basin because everyone looked out for one another.
The kids (including myself) ate ice cream regardless of the cold temperatures and adults ate some delicious Americanized food from lines of food trucks next to the Washington Monument.
Children flew kites and ran around the Mall while their parents watched. People rode bikes around the Mall while others discussed with metro they needed. It was a flurry of people, excitement and beauty, and I am so glad that I went to see the cherry blossoms.
All photos displayed in this post were taken by Emmalee Mauldin and are completely unedited.
Thank you for reading! Have you ever traveled to the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Have you ever visited Washington D.C., USA? Let me know and like this post!