Our third day in Washington, D.C. was jam-packed with excursions. And what does a busy day walking around a busy city need to make it a memory? Rain. Luckily we had rain jackets and an umbrella so we were undeterred in our quest.
Our first destination was the office of Senator Lamar Alexander. Brent had contacted his office before we left Tennessee to set up a tour of the Capitol building. We had a confirmation number for our tour but we were able to get gallery passes from one of the Senator’s assistants.
Side Note: While chatting with his assistant, we asked her about her hometown. It turns out that she was from Knoxville and graduated from Brent’s alma mater, Farragut High School. He was a bit deflated when he found out that she graduated in 2008. I have condiment bottles in my refrigerator that expired in 2008.
The first part of the Capitol tour included a lobby area called Emancipation Hall. As we waited for our guided tour time to begin, we inspected the dozens of statues from the many decades of American history. Knox turned the waiting time into a Where’s Waldo game by looking for the statues in the room as he found them on his brochure.
Our tour guide did a great job pointing out interesting paintings and statues. She was full of names, dates, and numbers that I no longer remember. For example: “You can fill the rotunda room with ____ Statues of Liberty standing on each other’s shoulders.” I wish I had a better memory. I do remember her saying that the only woman to lie in state in the Capitol building was Rosa Parks.
After the Capitol building, we went to the Library of Congress.
We saw the Gutenberg Bible and the oldest remaining map that contains the name “America.” Our tour guide in the library showed us paintings arranged by theme–the Seasons, the Senses, the branches of learning, etc. He took us to the balcony of one of the reading rooms where you can check out books and do research. It was beautiful—all dark mahogany desks and green glass lampshades.
Our kids were excited to go in the Children’s reading area. Knox was convinced that my Linebaugh library card would work there. He had to be satisfied with just reading books and re-shelving them without checking anything out.
We ate lunch in the food court at Union Station. They were doing a lot of construction on the interior of the building but you can tell it was a grand place at one time. I can imagine the excitement of boarding a train there as business men with fedoras, overcoats, and briefcases pass us by while looking at their watches and rushing to their trains.
We were tired and a bit bedraggled by the weather but we wanted to see the Air and Space Museum. Since all of the Smithsonian museums are free, we felt okay just making a quick walk through it. We saw the section about the Wright Brothers and their European rivals. We saw a section about space travel. There was a very interesting board explaining all of the restrictions for flight attendants when airplane travel was just beginning to become more available to regular people. They had to be a certain height, weight, and age. Needless to say, I wouldn’t qualify.
On the way back to our apartment, we stopped by the Eastern Market to buy a few groceries for supper. On Tuesdays they have a larger than normal farmer’s market selection. We got fresh ravioli and marinara sauce, broccoli, and homemade sour dough bread. We whipped it up in our little kitchen and relaxed the rest of the evening. Coming Soon…Day Four! (We went to the Spy Museum. If I tell you more I’ll have to kill you. Just kidding. I’ll tell you all about it in the next blog.)