You can see a lot in one day!
Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
61Trip End Jun 07, 2010
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Thursday was a long day. Since Arthur and Michelle live in Manassas, about an hour out of the town centre, I thought I'd try and cover most of Washington DC in a day. Which of course, turned out to be a very long day, especially as it got up to 34C!
I got in at 9am and headed straight for the Library of Congress. On my way down, I passed the huge and iconic Capitol building, and the Supreme Court. It's interesting how all the architecture is in such a Classical style, when it was only built 200 years ago
I wasn't planning on touring the Capitol, but since I was passing, thought I'd line up and have a nosey anyway. Not if security had anything to do with it. I was expecting metal dectectors and X-Ray machines, but there was also a rule of No Food or Drink. I was told the only way I could enter the building is if I threw my metal water bottle away. Do they not realise it's 10am and already 28C?! I moved on.
Rounding the side of the Capitol, I walked through the grounds to get a great view looking back and a great view looking down the mall of the Washington Monument
Well to start with, I had trouble finding it! I didn't manage to find the South facade at all, not sure if I just missed it or if it's covered with other buildings, but I did find what looked like the front entrance, which was similar to Buckingham Palace in that it had thick metal bars across the front and a ton of tourists. Still, it was fun peering through the railings, and the flag was flying so Mr.Obama was probably inside eating his lunch.
My lunch was frozen yoghurt- pick your own, make your own sundae and then weigh at the end. Dangerous but I managed to keep it under $4! Since I couldn't go up the Washington Monument, Arthur suggested the Old Post Office tower, which was free and had just as good views (I imagine). Although the view was a little hazy, you could still see for miles
It was a fascinating museum, and probably one of the highlights of my day. The Smithsonian museums are so overwhelming with their enormity. This could be done in 45 minutes- just. The tour gives you 45 mins in the museum, then takes you into the theatre for a 30 minute talk with a park ranger (! Apparently it's their job to protect and preserve all sites of national importance, not just parks...) After half an hour, I had the place to myself- everyone else had gone ahead to get their seats, but I still had so much left to see! My knowledge of American History is appalling, so it really was a history lesson in the making. That's the best way to learn, anyway, at the site in question :)
By this stage of the day, I was quite tired, and didn't have the energy to pour over every exhibit in the Smithsonian (which would have taken weeks anyway) so I just saw the main attractions- the original Star-Spangled Banner, Julia Child's kitchen, the Wright's brother's first plane etc etc. By now, my day was drawing to a close, so I hiked back to Union Station for dinner and the train ride home.