Thursday, June 21, 2007

Washington, D.C.: Day 3

The word of our third day, as it began and certainly by the end, is exhausted. We're having a great time, definitely, but are worn out. And our youngest, poor thing, caught a stomach virus or such and is out of order in the hotel.

But on to the overload of photos, for today we visited the World War II Memorial, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, and the Library of Congress:

In the morning we waited in line for Washington Monument tickets, giving us plenty of time for photos and goofing around. This is the original Post Office, now the U.S. Postal Museum, I believe.

So, time for photos, and here are three of my nephews, from Atlanta and Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively.

Two other nephews, from Jeffersonville, Indiana.

And of course our younger daughter, before the tummy ache set in.

And yet another rare family portrait.

Our first stop was then the World War II monument, which did not exist when Billie and I lived in the D.C. area 14 years ago.

The monument is a large circular fountain surrounded by columns representing each state, plus two larger monuments on each side...

For the Atlantic and Pacific.

The World War II Monument also offers great views of the Lincoln Memorial.

Next we toured the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where bills (or, more appropriately, notes) are printed. No photos from inside, but it's pretty amazing. Something like $650 million is printed daily, and 95% of that is replacement money. Note orders are issued by the Federal Reserve.

One of the fun displays in the gift shop, which I could photograph, is a person's value in $100 notes based on height.

At 6'8", Chris was the clear winner, though when he inquired about his check (or cash), the response was silent.

Next, the Washington Monument, which stands at 555 feet, 5 inches, and is the tallest freestanding masonry building in the world.

Waiting in line.

Waiting in another line---for the elevator to take us up.

Four shots from the top of the monument: 1) East, toward the U.S. Capitol.

2) North, toward the White House.

3) West, toward the World War II Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

4) And south (or southeast), toward the Jefferson Memorial.

Once we're ready to leave, we take a flight down a floor to the elevator. This is my older brother David, with my daughters.

And Billie and our younger sweetheart.

Then we walked from the Monument to a Metro stop, and passed by the U.S. EPA building, which is quite stately. We were almost clipped by an unmarked van that ran a red light as crossing, too; so a little excitement on the Washington streets!

Walking, walking, walking....

Another view of the EPA building, in this case, arches and a curved arcade.

After a lunch on the run at Union Station---literally---we went to the Russell Senate Office Building, for our guided tour of the U.S. Capitol, courtesy of Georgia Senator Isakson. This, by the way, is the statue of Lady Liberty at the top of the U.S. Capitol, and at 19 feet is the tallest statue in Washington, D.C.

We got to ride the cool little tram underground from the office building to the Capitol.

Once inside, we marveled at the amazing architecture and artwork.

Including intricate mosaic tilework on the floor...

And just as intricate tilework and painting on the ceiling.

It's enough to inspire the (cellphone) photographer in all of us, even if natural lighting is fairly nonexistent in the Capitol.

This is the rotunda room, with its beautiful paintings, mostly of George Washington and Revolutionary War scenes.

But being the rotunda, you couldn't of course help but look up.

And what a view! It's difficult to see in this photo, but the painting of George Washington at the top is larger than the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial!

More wonderful Capitol artwork, in this case in the original House of Representatives meeting room.

And this is the original Supreme Court room.

Though this is the current U.S. Supreme Court building. After the tour, Billie took our younger daughter home, and our older daughter and I walked over to the Library of Congress.

Which is as magnificent as any building in the District on the outside.

From any angle, too.

And though the Library of Congress is known for its external architecture...

It's known even more for its incredible internal architecture, design, and artwork.

Yeah, pretty cool, eh?

The Neptune Statue resides at the foot of the Library of Congress. I should mention that despite all this cool stuff, my daughter was disappointed to find that the Library of Congress, at least the main building we ventured into, does not have a kids' book section. Go figure.

Still, she was all smiles as we headed home on the Metro, our U.S. Capitol visitor passes still attached.

That evening, we attended a really wonderful dinner party hosted by my father's cousin Sharon, who lives in Potomac, Maryland, but is a member of the private City Tavern Club in Georgetown.

The Tavern, founded in 1796, has hosted George Washington and many other presidents, including John Adams, who dined at this same table---maybe in these same chairs?---here in the Long Room. How cool is that?

We got all fancied up.

My youngest nephew in front, and Sharon behind.

My almost-youngest nephew cleaned up pretty nicely.

And I believe he took this photo of my daughter, too. Unfortunately, Billie and our younger daughter, still sick, couldn't make it.

But dad and older daughter came, and had a great time.

Here's my dad and me.

And my older daughter lounging in the window.

Group chat before dinner.

And a family portrait, courtesy of the bartender.

Tomorrow (which is in fact today, and almost two days ago now): U.S. Botanical Gardens.



What an amazing trip you're having in the hot and humid East Coast. Loved all the photos, especially the family portrait at the fountain. Everyone should remember this road trip for a long, long time.

RheLynn said...

Beautiful pictures - thank you for sharing them! I would love to know what the name of the room with the mosaic floor is - keep seeing that room in movies and would love to see the whole floor. So far have not seen it identified on any website.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

You know, I don't know. I believe it's a hallway that skirts the primary rotunda itself.