Today we visited the Capitol Building. We had pre-booked this tour prior to coming to the US and it was set for 9:00am and naturally you needed to be there early (like 45 minutes) which meant another early start and it was promising to be a hot day (around 30 degrees) and humid!
We decided to catch a cab to the building and take our time getting back to the Hotel. The taxi driver was great – He had come from Africa 10 years ago but was right into Washington and the political scene and kept us entertained until we arrived at our destination.
The tour of the Capitol Building was great – so much to see (but not enough time to see everything you wanted to see – or photograph). I think I got some good shots which depict the building. Our Tour Guide recounted her story of 911 – being evacuated from the building along with members of a British delegation and just running from the building. She turned to take a look at the building and noticed the Pentagon and that it had been hit. Her husband worked there but was not in the office that day. Where the plane hit was where her husband’s office was. She told us this story after apologising to us about the security sreening but used the story to illustrate why it was necessary. The interesting thing was that I had anticipated needing photo ID to get into the building (as this has been needed in a few instances to date) but it wasn’t necessary for this tour.
After the tour we decided to visit the Library of Congress – which you access via a tunnel. While you could not go into the actual library you could view it and see some mini displays. The displays that were available at this time were on George and Ira Gershwin and Bob Hope – and some of the displays and information available was wonderful.
From there we went back to the Capitol Building and then went to look at some of surrounding buildings.
From there we decided to walk back to through the City to the Hotel (This took around 3.5 hours to do). We visited the Smithsonian Museum on the Native Americans as well as the Botanical Gardens.
By this time the weather was getting very humid but we pressed on and reached the George Washington monument. Last time we visited Washington we had a slight issue with the Secret Service police as the President was returning to the White House and the area we were in needed to be cleared immediately. Well a similar incident occurred again. Roads were blocked and police everywhere – this the President (we assume) was leaving the White House and the entourage was huge – at least 10 motorcycles, 10 police cars, about 6 secret service cars + the Presidential vehicle and an ambulance and police helicopter! So that was a bit of excitement.
We finally got back to the Hotel had time to clean up – did some shopping and then set off (on foot) to visit our friends for dinner. Ceri and Allen have a lovely house in Washington (which they moved into in the last 12 months). We met Alice and John who work with Ceri (and are Australians) and we had a lovely time talking on many and varied topics.
So all in all a very interesting day; am looking forward to what tomorrow has in store!
As an aside Norm has been monitoring the weather and there seems to be storms brewing down South. The papers are also getting into the act predicting that people are becoming complacent about cyclones. So at this stage I am alert (but not alarmed). Will keep you posted! Bye for now. W