Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last day on vacation

I ended up back in DC on the overnight train from Charleston. I do actually recommend this train, just not the overnight version unless you get a sleeping car. Which costs a fortune, so be warned.
I stayed with a family that rents guest rooms just a few blocks from the Capitol complex. It's kind of strange to see these huge, formal buildings right up against a neighborhood of completely ordinary row houses. Okay, fairly expensive rowhouses, but that's because of their location, not because they're grand or anything. Still toys in the front yards and hibachis on the balconies.
I tried to go into the Capitol building for a look around the parts open to the public, but forgot I had a box of chocolates with me. Um, no, I won't be leaving them in the trash, I'll just skip the Capitol, thank you.
So I walked through the growing heat and humidity toward the National Mall. I was meeting somebody for lunch at the National Gallery (National This, National That, all over), so took the opportunity to drop the box of sadly abused chocolates off at the coat check. No sense in re-re-melting them now, after thousands of miles of travel in airplanes, cars, trains and a little bit on foot.
Then off for a visit of the sights before it got truly beastly out. They were still cleaning up several days after the 4th of July celebrations. Nobody much was outside. The busses full of schoolkids and tourists discharged their loads and the people were immediately sucked into the air-conditioned comfort of our National Treasures.
Which were all free, as far as I could tell. That's one thing I really like about the capitol - you can visit. A little security check and you can go right into the buildings where our government is at work. You may even catch it working, if you time it just right. With even less checking you can go right into all the federal museums. They're the People's, after all.
The Washington Monument, seen from the only tree around. Strangely, some other photos I took there seem to not exist. I wonder if I'm missing a few minutes of memory covering the arrival of Secret Agents come to erase the Highly Sensitive Events I inadvertantly caught on chip. Or maybe I just planned to take them and didn't. Maybe it was time to get out of the sun.
Maurice and I got to meet a special friend - Reya! That was really cool. It's funny how you just click with people sometimes. I can't wait to see the photos of her new home, once she gets settled in.
Then it was back outside, after a nice lunch and a look around the Gallery. Outside was like a big sauna, so I leaped from building to building and took advantage of the tunnel linking the Capitol to the Library of Congress.
Now that looks like a very nice place to go and read.

Right next to the Library is the Supreme Court, again blindingly white in the summer sun. I had my sunglasses on and it felt like I had forgotten them. You can't go just anywhere in the Court building, but I love that you can just go in, and that lots of the people I saw going in were just ordinary people like me. Not much court business on this July Thursday.

And that was my summer vacation. Never an empty moment. I flew home on a Friday and arrived before noon Saturday at my house, where my cats were very very very happy to be let OUT. Nobody stopped for petting, they just went out. So I went out too, and watered and weeded and pruned and generally recovered from vacation.
Back to work now!


steven said...

maurice and reya in the same pic!!!!! it's like all nine planets aligning at once!!! wow!!!! steven

Melli said...

WHAT a deeeelightful glimpse at my home through the eyes of a distant traveler! I'm so glad that you got to enjoy DC... in a "homey" sort of way! Because that IS how it should be enjoyed! And YES! Everything is FREE down on the mall! However... venture a block or two OFF the mall and it's just like any other city... pay out the nose for every museum and gallery! But you certainly found some of the "good stuff"! :)

Thanks sO much for stopping by my blog the last few days! I would still love to do an Ella/Maurice swap... but Ella is in Washington State... and heading for New Jersey. I know she would LOVE France though! (so would I ... but that's a LONG way from happening...) *sigh* :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Absolutely fabulous post! Love your pics of the Washington Monument. It's so big. What were they thinking?

Yes it's odd to live right next to all these national icons, all so oversized and so damn white.

What a great lunch we had.


GingerV said...

I have traveled so much and never seen our capital. I know Rome and Paris - italy and France better than I know my own country. will change this loss - will be my 2011 resolutions.... 2011 because we go to Italy in September AGAIN.