Cherry Blossoms over Washington DC (Shutterstock.com. See main credit below)
Blog Words : Weird@Wanderlust | 19 June

Washingtons around the world

There are 57 places in the world called Washington. Which one will you decide to visit?

1. Washington DC, USA

The locals just call it DC, but you'll feel you know the famous city skyline even if you've never visited. Littered with monuments and museums, it is also a working city with a buzzing foodie and cafe scene. Keep your eye out for its quirky side too, from an International Spy Museum to spontaneous concerts by military bands on Capitol Hill.

What to see:

Is there any other place in the US with so many iconic sites? The White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building and, more recently, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Culturally, you're spoil for choice too.

As well as some of the country's leading museums like the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, you'll find the American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Art.

Interesting fact:

The States of both Maryland and Virginia donated land to form the federal district where Washington sits.

Make sure you:

Contact your country's embassy in Washington to book a tour of the White House. Rules vary from nation to nation – the Brits, for example, insist on a group of at least ten – but the smart thing to do is start organising as soon as you can. If your embassy doesn't want to help, like the Australian embassy, for example, then try contacting an American congressman like the Americans have to. Most have instructions on their websites telling you how to go about it.

More information

St Marys, West Sussex (Creative Commons: Charlesdrakew)

St Marys Church, Washington, West Sussex (Creative Commons: Charlesdrakew)

2. Washington, West Sussex, UK

Nestled at the foot of the South Downs escarpment, Washington in West Sussex was a prosperous agricultural town in Medieval times. It is much quieter village now, with a pub, a primary school and a village hall.

What to see:

The ancient church of St Mary's dominates, with the tower, built in the 1500s, visible from most parts of the village. And Chanctonbury Ring, a hill fort ring of trees atop Chanctonbury Hill lies within the parish boundaries. Bertrand Russell once said that "any view that includes Chanctonbury Ring is a good view". Who are we to argue with the great philosopher?

Interesting fact:

John Ireland, an English composer who wrote the hymn, The Holy Boy, lived in a converted windmill in the village during the last years of his life.

Make sure you:

Look out for the Great Crested Newt. It's the reason Chanctonbury Hill is a site of special scientific interest.

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Cardinal Sin Monument (Creative Commons: Ninya Regalado)Statue of Cardinal Sin, Washington, Philippines (Creative Commons: Ninya Regalado)


3. Washington, Aklan, Philippines

Also known as New Washington, this community was established in 1904 and sits at the mouth of the Lagatik River. The town was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington, in honour of a group of American teachers called the Thomasites who came to the Philippines to establish a new public education system.

What to see:

There are an abundance of beach resorts nearby, (the fabled island of Boracay is close too), but within the town itself the Pink Sisters' convent is worth a look as well as the marker commemorating those who lost their lives in the revolution against the Spanish.

Interesting fact:

Washington was the home town of the late Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila and an instrumental player in the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled President Marcos.

Make sure you:

Take part in the colourful fiesta in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, which is held on the second Saturday of October.

More information

 

Ua Huka (Creative Commons: Semhur)

Ua Huka, Marquesas Islands (Creative Commons: Sémhur)

4. Washington Island, French Polynesia

Known locally as Ua Huka, Washington Island is one of the Marquesas Islands, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was named in honour of President George Washington, by the first Western navigator to see it, U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Ingraham.

What to see:

Much of the islands' native plant cover has been destroyed by feral goats and horses, but you can still get an idea of what it used to be like by climbing Hitikau, the island's highest peak at 884 metres. There are a few ancient petroglyphs and sea caves that are also worth seeking out.

Interesting fact:

The spider genus, Uahuka, is named after this island.

Make sure you:

Drop by the Pupuakeiha Arboretum. Home to over 300 species of trees over 42 acres, it is hoped they will one day be used to reforest the island.

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Plaque for George Washington (CreativeCommons: Kaishu Tai)

Plaque for John Washington, Durham Cathedral (Kaihsu Tai)


5. Washington, Tyne and Wear, UK

Located equidistant from Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, this town on the River Wear has close ties with all three cities. It is believed that the name is derived from the Old English verb wascan (pronounced wosh-an) and the noun dūn meaning "hill"; thus making the name Wascandūn, meaning "washing hill".

What to see:

Fans of nature should head to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nature reserve, while those interested in Britain's industrial heritage should probably drop by the Washington 'F' Pit mining museum.

Interesting fact:

Two of the local primary schools are named after American presidents: John F. Kennedy Primary School and George Washington Primary School (formerly High Usworth.)

Make sure you:

Visit Washington Old Hall, built by William de Wessyngton, a forebear of President George Washington. The present structure incorporates parts the medieval  home in which they lived and a ceremony is held here each year on American Independence Day.

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52 other Washingtons you may want to visit:
You'll find a Washington in Canada, Kiribati, Guyana, five more in the Philippines and 44, excluding the capital, in the United States.

 

Main image: Cherry blossoms over Washington DC (Shutterstock)

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