Friday, July 20, 2012

DC Day 4

Oh my gracious.  It is taking me far longer to blog about this trip than it took to take the trip!  I blame it on summer.  Summer days have a beautiful way of meandering, and the meandering hasn't nudged me to the computer much.  Feels good.  But I must get all this on here to preserve the wonderful memories.

So onward to Day 4!!

We had another wonderfully jam-packed day.  Let me say this straight up:  going to DC is not a "vacation" so much as it is an adventure.  You have to cram a lot in, and still you can't see it all.  And you walk.  And walk.  And walk.  And it's a bit hot, which brings on another kind of tired.  Loved it, truly loved it.  Everyone should go.  But you should be prepared.  Comfy shoes a must, being physically fit to walk a lot also a must.  Being willing to stop and sit in the grass and feed the squirrels and recharge is also a must.

So the day started with a Congressional tour of The Capitol Building.  We were so excited to see this, and I really had not stopped to think what sights we may see.  I've never imagined what the inside of the Capitol dome might look like.  Just didn't cross my mind to wonder about that.  So I was in for a HUGE treat.

We met up with our tour guide in our Senator's office.  It was oddly exciting to see our State flag set up outside that office.  A piece of home!  Our guide was an impressive young man from Seattle University who was interning for the summer.  We (and a single guy from Puyallup!) were his first ever tour, so he was a bit nervous.  We assured him this was our first ever tour, so we'd have no idea if he was accurate/informative/inclusive/good or bad...we were putty in his hands and would probably believe most of what he said.  He wanted our picture taken with him and I completely forgot! Bummer. 

The beautiful Capitol Building.  See the statue on top?  That's the Statue of Freedom, all in bronze.
And this is the plaster mold of the Statue of Freedom, on display in Emancipation Hall inside the Capitol Building.

This amazingly intricate chandelier hangs in the center of the rotunda.  It was once open to the outside, the natural ventilation system back in the day!

And this is the floor directly underneath that dome, a built-in drain for the "natural ventilation system"!

This white star in-laid into the floor marks the exact center around which Washington D.C is divided into its four quadrants. This area is known as the Crypt, and was meant to be George Washington's burial site.  He chose instead to be buried at Mt. Vernon, so we aren't standing on him here.  But this spot is where every President-elect stands before walking down the stairs in the picture below for the swearing-in ceremony.  Supposedly you are to scuff your foot on that spot for good luck.

Intricate paintings on the inside of the dome.  Zoomed in progressively below.

This is in the Hall of Statues.  Each state has 2 statues, they each represent significant history in the state, and they can't represent a currently-living significant person.

Above is Marcus Whitman from Washington State.  Supposedly his good name is marred by the fact that he spread Small Pox to a massive population of people, so rumor is that someday his statue will be replaced by Bill Gates.  Time will tell.

Now my pictures are getting a bit out of order, but because I started this 3 days ago, I no longer have the desire to make it right.

This is the view out a window, again that Washington Monument proudly showing.  This is the spot where many, many reporters choose to stand to deliver reports from the Capitol.

Nebraska's William Jennings Bryant, because I come from the Bryant family and I've heard my Grandma reference him all my life.

And from California, President Ronald Reagan.

All over D.C., you find plaques that catch your breath and take you back to a moment.
At the end of our tour was this plaque, honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93 of 9/11.  Chilling to think that this beautiful building, full of an overwhelming amount of history, came so close to possible destruction on that day.  Heroes remembered.

The back outside we went.  Media outlets were all over the grounds.  We didn't know why at the time, but they were fun to watch.  And Alex was happy to see the black SUVs, (ala Jack Bauer) in many locations around the Capitol.
Vacation Joy!
Take One = Fail.

Take two = success!!

This was outside the Supreme Court.  Crazy amounts of media!  We didn't realize, because we were on vacation, that the ruling was coming down that morning on the Arizona Immigration law.
We stood and watched the National news correspondents from the major networks give their live reports.  It was fun to watch them after their report was done start chatting up people leaving the court and getting opinions on what they saw coming next.
Here we are on the other side of the Capitol.

One thing I loved about DC was all the security.  Everywhere.  Felt quite safe!

Next up was the Museum of Natural History.  This place was FUN!

Look how LITTLE my baby girl looks next to that whale!

It would have been nice if all those people would have moved out of the picture, but I guess they were there to see the sights too!

Doing their best to match the ferociousness of the dino behind them!

He found a few giraffes, remembering someone he was missing.

Alright.  After more fun than I can capture here, we headed out for our next tour:
The Kennedy Center!

I forgot to get a picture of the outside, doggone it.

This grand foyer is MASSIVE.  So long, in fact, that they could lay the Washington Monument down inside it and still have room on each end!

The Presidential Suite.

Someone has dreams of being on-stage here someday.

The rooftop patio view is spectacular.  In the background you can see (say it with me) the Washington Monument (to the left), and the Lincoln Memorial (to the right).

This is the Watergate Hotel.

View of the Potomac from the Kennedy Center.

Walking our weary feet back to the Metro.  We were worn out!!

Yes, this was all in one day.  And the next day was FULL and FABULOUS as well!

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