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Trains, Pope Francis and Ed Sheeran

I leave for Washington DC this morning for a conference in the nation’s capital and Pope Francis is coming too. No, I haven’t had a career change it’s just that his Papelness is making his first visit to the United States and starts his tour in DC tomorrow. He is also visiting Philadelphia and after DC, like me, he is heading to New York. I am sure we will bump into each other!

That’s all very nice but it does mean that New York and particularly Washington DC is going to be in a security meltdown for the entire week and getting around the capital is going to be nothing short of a nightmare, and to make matters worse, they have even banned selfie sticks. Disaster.

Apart from a couple of hundred Rail industry types – that is why I am there, you can take the boy out of Catford, but not the trainspotter out of Charlton – a young ginger haired lad called Ed Sheeran is also in town performing at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. And I’ve been invited to attend, not by Ed, but in a box, comfy chairs, wine, the lot.

The 20,000 capacity arena is home to the NHL’s Capitals and the NBA’s Wizards as well as Georgetown Universities men’s basketball team, the Hoyas.. With the Pope traffic we may have to be teleported there and back from our hotel.

Ed’s not my normal thing but he seems like a nice boy and is friends with Taylor, so my daughter is impressed. It should be fun.

The rest of the week until Friday morning is taken up with meetings and eating mostly, and I have just been told that a planned tour of the Capitol Building on Wednesday has been cancelled due to Pope Francis’ security measures. Damn, I was looking forward to that. Never mind I still have the tour of the B&O Railroad Museum on Thursday to make up for it. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, the oldest and most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world. All Addicks welcome it doesn’t say on their website!

I have twice been to Washington DC, once with a mate on a boys weekend in 2006 and a year later with the other half. It is a incredible place to wander around, which I think will be sadly restrictive this week, but the city is a walking homage to the political and military history of the United States. I would say now that the Lincoln Memorial is one of the most humbling and striking monuments I have ever visited.

After DC I fly to New York with a mate, who is at the same event as me, and we will spend what has become an annual weekend together, with probably more eating and drinking, also taking in the weekend’s Rugby World Cup action.

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