Thursday, July 07, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 7

The plan for the day was to explore the area around the Capitol. We took the Metro to Union Square and walked to the Liaison Hotel. We had breakfast at the Art and Soul Restaurant in the hotel.

After breakfast, we walked to Supreme Court Building. We took a couple of pictures of Sharon in front of the building.

Next, we went to the Library of Congress. The view from the balcony into the reading room is impressive. Sharon noted that the building is as impressive as anything that we have seen in Europe. They toured the exhibits, including the display of the Jefferson Library, some of the first maps of the United States, and a collection of photos of civil war soldiers.

We delayed about 15 minutes going to the Capitol; it was on lock down. When we got into the line to go into the visitor center, one of the staff people said that someone had left a backpack in the brushes and that brought the bomb squad and the lock down. We got tickets for the public tour. We had hoped that we might get a tour from Jim Ellis' daughter, but with Congress in session she was not available. The public tour included a short film in the visitor center and a visit to the Rotunda and the Statuary Room.

We did get tickets to the House Gallery from Jim's daughter. This was pretty amazing. The House was in session and voting on a series of amendments to the Defense Appropriation Bills. The House floor was a beehive of activity. Walking to and from the House Gallery also gave us a chance to see some more of the Capitol Building.

After a quick bite to eat in the visitor center cafeteria, we headed back to the Metro stop at Union Station. We went to the National Portrait Gallery. Here, we focused on one part of the museum: the collection of portraits of each of the presidents. I enjoyed this a lot. There are a number of presidents from the 19th century that are pretty obscure. I am going to start a reading list of books for each of the presidents.

We jumped back on the Metro and headed to the hotel. As we were heading back, I got a text from Nooter. He was finishing up a meeting downtown and we made plans to meet at the top of the Washington Hotel. They have an open air roof top bar with great views of the city, including the Washington Monument and the White House. We had a chance to catch up for a about an hour and half. At this point, Mary and Sharon joined us. Nooter rolled about 30 minutes later; it was a nice visit, but I still feel like I did not get a chance to see enough of him.

I took off a little after that. Sharon eventually met me back at the hotel and we had dinner just the two of us around the corner at a Spanish restaurant called Taberna Del Alabardero. We had a great dinner of scallops, squid, shrimp and lobster Paella. It was after 10:30 p.m. by the time we got back to the room; one of the earliest nights we have been in this week!

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