This was my first full day in D.C. and it was pretty great. My phone has a built in pedometer—it registers that today I walked 17,327 steps or 8+ miles. I believe it!
My first mistake of the day was not ordering breakfast in my hotel room. Last night I thought—no way, too expensive. I’ll grab something on my way to the Capitol. Wouldn’t you know it…I was running late for my tour and didn’t even have enough time to grab so much as a coffee. The second mistake was thinking it wouldn’t be too far to walk from my hotel to the Capitol. Ha. Things are farther away than they appear! It was more than a mile and I arrived at the last minute, a bit out of breath from the nice jog I ended up taking the last half of my journey. Of course, I’d chosen today to wear a skirt. So there I was, running up Constitution Avenue in my skirt, having had no coffee. (I admit that at that point, I may have been just a little bit grumpy...)
Note to self: take the Metro. Just take it. Second note to self: remember your sunscreen when you know you’re going to be outside most of the day. Third note to self: remember your sunglasses too.
But despite my tardiness and general frazzled feeling, the tour of the Capitol Building was cool. Oh my—the rotunda made me think of when President Reagan died. I watched the whole visitation on CSPAN and wept. (he was my favorite president, after all). But it is so beautiful in there. Photos (at least taken with my camera) don’t do it justice.
Anyway, from the Capitol, there is a tunnel to the Library of Congress. But it seems that none of the other hundreds of people there realized that, because I went through the tunnel all alone. After being in such huge crowds, it was a welcome relief, but a little weird.
The Library of Congress—OH MY GOODNESS! What an awesome place! If you know me very well, you know of my immense love for libraries. That’s right. I. Love. Them. And this one is the largest library in the WORLD. The building itself is beautiful, but the books and collections are just amazing. I seriously saw Thomas Jefferson’s books today. And the Gutenberg Bible. I could go on, but I won’t. But I did something quite cool. (okay, maybe the fact that I think it is quite cool makes me a nerd—but I don’t care!)
I went and filled out the paperwork to get my very own Library of Congress card, which means I can use the collection! Okay, so I might not ever actually get to do it, but I needed to know the ins and outs of using the LOC so that when my characters in Love is Monumental are doing a little research, I will know the procedures.
After leaving the LOC, I made my way over to the Supreme Court. Shamefully, I did not go inside to tour. By that time, it was after noon and I still hadn’t eaten anything. I went to the Reagan Building to the international food court and had…wait for it…a French baguette with butter and Swiss Cheese. (my meal of choice when I was in Europe) followed by hazelnut gelato. (Oh, gelato, how I’ve missed you…)
From there, I walked to the White House Visitor Center for a quick stop, where I set off the security alarm because my shoes have some kind of metal on them. That was super, super fun.
But when I left there, I noticed that there were police and secret service agents and they’d stopped traffic in all directions. And there were people lined up on all sides of the street. I made my way over there in time to see President Obama and his motorcade headed to the White House. I videoed the event…will post later! And can I pause here to say that secret service agents are, as a group, very handsome. :) Am beginning to wish I’d made Thatcher (the hero in Monumental) an agent. Oh well.
Later in the afternoon, I went to the Museum of American History. Highlights: Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the puffy shirt from Seinfeld, Abe Lincoln’s top hat, the chairs and table Grant and Lee used in the surrender at Appomattox, and the original Star Spangled Banner. Pictures forthcoming!
I ended the day where I started it—at the Capitol Building. The US Army Band was performing a concert on the steps. Great way to end the day. But then I got lost on my way to the metro and ended up walking about 12 blocks. Don’t ask.
And now…am wishing I could sleep in tomorrow. But I have an early tour of the Washington Monument! SO EXCITED to see it and talk to the rangers.
A few photos below...and the song of the day is I'm Just a Bill from Schoolhouse Rock, which I had in my head all day.
The Library of Congress!
The Capitol Building during the Army Band Concert:
An impromptu stop at the White House:
Me, in front of the Capitol--I was actually at the Supreme Court when this was taken: