Washington Day Two

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Friday, September 21, 2012

Howdy folks,

I woke up at 7am having slept in Joel and Hollys' son's room while Steffie slept on a mattress downstairs wedged inbetween two pianos. Ever since I can remember, Joel has played the piano and now teaches lessons on the side as well as playing for his church. We had breakfast and left at 8:30am when they left for work. I wasn't keen on driving into downtown DC, so we parked at the end of the Metro line which took over half an hour to reach! By the time we caught the 9:30am train into the city it was already 10:10am. Talk about commuting!

We missed our tour time for the Capitol Building, but were able to get on the 10:50am tour which started with a patriotic video on the virtues of liberty and freedom. What followed was a hectic audio tour where our large group was split into groups of 12 and carted around the building. In all we were there for just over an hour and toured through the crypt where George Washington was supposed to be buried, the main rotunda and the Hall of Statues where there were two representatives from each state. It was pretty hard to hear the tour due to all the ambient noise and we didn't even get to go into the House of Representatives or Senate galleries. Before we left we had roast turkey in the cafe, but it wasn't cheap.

We walked around the front of the building to get a better photo before heading up to Union Station which had seen better days and was in a state of reconstruction. Unfortunately I had lost my spare memory card from my pocket during the security check so I needed a new one, but finding normal shops amongst the goverment buildings and museums in DC is hard to do. We went next door to look at the Postal Museum which followed the progress, rise and fall of mail delivery in the US. The new automated machines used for letter sorting are really cool and amazing to see how fast they actually do it! In one room were stamps from all around the world and also an exhibit on the role played by the Titanic and Hindenburg with mail delivery.

Back across the road at Union Station, we caught the metro a few stops down so we could take a look at the White House. No tour is complete without taking a peek at the house of power and we walked up to 1600 NW Pennsylvania Avenue to have a look at it. It seemed to be quite small considering how big it looks on the movies and the gardens concealed both the East and West Wings. To take a look at the front of the house, we walked past the huge building next door which holds most of the administrative functions such as the National Security Council. The front of the White House faces the National Mall and Washington Monument and we peeked through the fence to get a good picture. Security wasn't as tight as I had expected, but there were still quite a few police cars and officers around the place.

Unfortunately the Washington National Monument was off limits because an earthquake last year had cracked the foundations of what was the world's largest obelisk. We walked down along the National Mall to the World War II Memorial and the Reflection Pool. At the end of the pool stood the Lincoln Memorial which had an impressive statue of Lincoln sitting in a chair. The view from the steps was impressive and where Martin Luther King Jnr gave his 'I Have A Dream' Speech. There were plenty of people just sitting around on the steps and enjoying the view.

By the time we walked back to the Metro station and caught the train back to the car we were exhausted. We drove an extra half an hour back to the Slater Residence for dinner and just about fell asleep watching TV! Talk about a big day!
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