Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bicycle Diaries the 3rd - Cherry Blossom @ the Potomac River

Greeting from the Potomac River! Cheering for the National Cherry Blossom Festival!

The weekend with no training rides. Not that I was lazy, I’m out of town attending the Association of Healthcare Journalists national conference in DC. I’ll extend my trip till Wednesday so I can do some sightseeing in the capital.

The conference ended on Sunday afternoon, so I’ve to check out the hotel and moved to a hostel (Hostelling International, pretty good). I usually choose a hostel when I travel alone, not just save cost (about $25-$35 a night, 4-8 people per room) but also get to know travelers from around the world.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C. commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift to the city of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. Mayor Ozaki donated the trees in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and also celebrate the continued close relationship between the two peoples.

The first festival was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the nation's capital. Suspended during World War II because of hostilities between the United States and the Empire of Japan, the festival resumed in 1947 with the support of the Washington, DC Board of Trade and the DC Commissioners. In 1948, the cherry blossom princess and U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen program were started by the National Conference of State Societies.

This year the festival begins on the 29th with an opening ceremony at the National Buildings Museum. According to the organizer, about 8000 people went to the family fun day and ceremony.

After checking in at the hostel, I walked to the National Mall, which is about six blocks south, then headed west to the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. I walked for about four hours under the chilly spring weather in DC (luck you in the sunny southern California).

Pictures taken from today’s visit can be viewed at
CLICK HERE. Hope you enjoy seeing them and don’t forget to sponsor me, have your friends and family sponsor me. The ride is just two months away!!!

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