DC, Day 2

Today we got up early and went back to the Washington Monument to get tickets to go inside it. Tickets are given out at 8:30 for the entire day, so we chose tickets for 3 o’clock and headed toward the Capitol for our 10:30 tour.

At the Capitol, we basically saw the rotunda and the old House Chambers. The Senate was in session so we didn’t get to go on that side. We also saw the corridor that leads from the ground floor out to the lawn. This is where the President walks through when walking out to the lawn for the inauguration or other such events. In the Capitol area we also went into the Supreme Court building and the Library of Congress.

One thing that occurred to me is, these buildings seem really old because they use ancient architectural elements like the Greek columns and frescos and very ornate details, but they really aren’t that old at all. The Supreme Court building, for example, built in 1935, which is not all that long ago– in my grandparents’ lifetimes. It seems so much older. Hubby compared it to buildings he’s seen in Germany that are 500 years old and older. America is still such a young country yet our buildings make us feel as if they’d been there all along.

One neat thing I learned at the Capitol was that Rosa Parks is the first and only woman to lie in honor (you have to be from government to lie in state) in the Capitol rotunda.

In the afternoon we caught the Metro over to NASA Headquarters. I just wanted to say I’d been, take a picture of the sign, and buy something in the exchange that said NASA HQ. The exchange (aka gift shop) didn’t have too many options for things that said HQ. I ended up with a glass mug. In fact, the exterior of the building didn’t even say Headquarters. I took a few pics there and then had to scurry back to the monument for our tour. I’d hoped to bring back a cool HQ pencil, pin, something, for my fellow NASA co-workers, but no luck. (Sorry, guys.)

Going inside the Washington Monument was very neat. It is the 4th structure that I’ve been to the top of, the others being Empire State Building, Sears Tower, and St. Louis Arch. From the top of the monument you can see all four directions — the mall toward the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and the Potomac/Jefferson Memorial. It was neat to do that after we’d already been to all of those places, just to see where all we’d been.

We stopped at the White House on the way to a Metro stop. It was cool to see, I guess, but also somehow anticlimatic. We didn’t get to see it from the front and the visitors center was already closed so we’re going to go back briefly tomorrow.

We’d talked about doing a fancy dinner — he brought a suit, I’d brought a new dress — but we were pretty give out. Not to mention, I don’t know if my feet could’ve stood in heels. So we decided to ride into Olde Town Alexandria and eat at this little Italian/pizza place John had ordered delivery from before. Then we went to see the new X-men/Wolverine movie, per my request. It is very fitting for us to see such a movie on our anniversary trip considering we saw Star Wars Episode I on our honeymoon. It’s not what you see it’s who you see it with. (I liked the X-men movie, btw.)

Tomorrow will be our last day and if we can manage to walk, we’re planning a day at the museums — the Air and Space Museum and the Newseum, a museum about the news and media industry. I’m very excited about both of those.

My boys, by the way, are doing fine at mom’s and I’ve only called to check on them twice. I miss them but am enjoying the break too.

The view of the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial from the top of the Washington Monument

From the top of the Washington Monument, looking down the National Mall toward the Capitol

Me, at NASA HQ

The Supreme Court building


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