It rained a little overnight and we’re going to the US Capitol – home of Congress and the House of Representatives. After checking the weather we opted for an Uber over, which arrived very quickly. So much less stress for someone else to do the driving. It is a bit cooler today but nowhere near the cold from earlier in the week.
Although it is rush hour, just before nine, the traffic is okay and we’re in front of this enormous magnificent building. There’s the usual security check that includes the typicl X-ray and metal detector, which sees Angus emptying every pocket and putting through his boots specially. They are thorough, but I suppose they have to be, this is the seat of government.
We are in a group of about 15, mostly from overseas (one guy from Oregon) and assigned a guide who takes us through the various rooms starting from the basement, or Crypt. It was hoped to have Washington interred here. As it is the family (and the state of Virginia) weren’t keen on the idea. Leading through each of the spaces and the varying uses that were used from the days of the 13 original states ranging from Courts and both houses sat in various places during construction.
The Guide took us through with good humour and a great knowledge of the statues (there are two from each state and a small number that the federal government commission), architecture (there’s nothing without significance from the agricultural pediments to the numbered start) and the paintings. Every major room is brilliantly maintained and accessible.
Afterwards we made our way to the café and had lunch. Great tour – well worth it if you get here. The Guide did recommend that we make our way through the tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress. The tunnel was a bit longer than expected but some of these buildings in Washington DC look much closer being low but wide.
Coming into the library the vaulting, windows, marble stair cases and art are even more lavish than the Capitol. Lots of exhibition space in the upper wings joined by a huge central gallery. One of the wings is the actual library for Congress.
Then we trekked down Independence Ave to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Awesome display and exhibits. There’s a couple of highlights like a replica of the Hubble and Skylab. There’s also an enormous quantity of historical aircraft like the U2, Spirit of St Louis and such.
Showers started shortly after us leaving so we decided to call it a day, as we watched the sun set over Washington DC for the second and last time, alas, we’re leaving tomorrow.
This evening we trekked out to see the local Costco (Pentagon City branch). Huge place and quite a variety of things we don’t see. Apart from the cold-weather gear lots of fairly similar products to what we would see – just more options.
Angus | The history of America around the dome
Rosie | The Congressional Library – just wow
Jemmz | The amazing echo properties of the old chamber in Congress
McKay | The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
O’Regan | The Capitol folder and the Space pen