I have been doing these blog posts in three day sections but today was such a busy one that I have given it a post of its own.
An early start as we had a visit to the Capitol Building booked for 9.40am. It is only a 7 minute walk from our apartment so it didn't take us long. We booked in and went for a coffee in the restaurant - we were the only people in there! For the first part of our tour there was a 13 minute film about how the U.S. Government is set up - we found it very interesting and educational as neither of us really knew how it all worked. We were then split into groups, given headphones and were introduced to our guide, Nick. Our first port of call was the Rotunda which is the heart and centre of the Capitol. It doesn't serve any legislative function - it is a ceremonial space where state funerals have been held since the time of Abraham Lincoln. Visiting heads of state are often received in the Rotunda. There are some amazing paintings round the room and just below the dome there is a frieze that looks as if it is in 3D but it isn't. The painting of the dome was done by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 but it is undergoing restoration at present.
From the Rotunda we went into what was the the Old Hall of the House but is now the National Statuary Hall. Our guide had the most amazing memory, when he first met us he asked where we were all from and in this hall he was able to show people where the statue that their State had sent was and who it was. There were about 6 different nationalities and he remembered each of us.
It was then down to the room below the Rotunda with its lovely vaulted ceiling and under that is the centre of Washington - all streets go out from there.
That was the end of our most interesting tour. From the Capitol you can take a walkway to the Thomas Jefferson Building which houses the Library of Congress. That really was heaving with people so we had a very quick wander round but we didn't see any books!
We wanted to go out to Arlington Cemetery so we braved the Metro. It was easy peasy once we had worked how to get our tickets. As our time was so limited we decided to take a trolley tour at the Cemetery but this was perhaps not the best way to see the acres of graves as there was a commentary but at least we got to see it. At one stage we had to stop and in the distance we could see a cortège passing. Research later found that it was the funeral with Military Honors of Lt. Col. Robert F Stroud who died at the age of 95. He made the parachute assault into Holland and fought his division in the Siege of Bastagne during WWII. He also served in Korea. The cemetery was very a moving place and we were both stunned at the amount of graves.
It was then back to the Metro and to Foggy Bottom for lunch - it was after 2 so we were very hungry. The Lincoln Memorial was next on the list so we walked down to it. I had hoped to climb the steps but there were so many school children there that we decided to just look at it.
Look what else we saw!
There a lot of Memorials in this area. Vietnam War
And finally the WWII Memorial.
We had to miss out the Martin Luther King and Jefferson memorials as there just wasn't time.
It was now time to go home and pack but I wanted to go back near the Air and Space Museum as I had seen lots of stalls there and wanted to get a couple of things but they had had to vacate the lane where they were stopped for the rush hour! However I did find another one.
Back at home I had to pack the two large suitcases as they needed to go overnight to New York as you are only allowed to carry on one piece of luggage each on the New York train. I called a taxi through Uber which arrived within minutes and we took the cases to Union Station, checked them in and watched them disappear - I just hope we are reunited with them tomorrow! Here are a few photos of Union Station - sorry about the weird colours.
It was then back to the apartment via a pizza restaurant. We have walked so far today and in the heat but it has been well worth it.
Here are a few photos of me being arty at the WWII Memorial (you are allowed to dip your feet in - it was sheer bliss!)
Here are a few photos of where we have been staying.