Monday, January 12, 2015

Washington D.C. 2015 {Day Two}

Monday morning, I woke up and took a cab to the Capitol because I had a tour scheduled.

I hadn't been to the Capitol for a tour in many years.  Back then, the Visitor Center wasn't even open.
It's located underground, and has two big skylights where you can get a good look at the dome.

Not the best view right now, but I'm happy they are fixing the dome, because it was literally falling apart.  The grounds crew walked around each day collecting pieces that were falling off.  A little known fact (but one I already knew and that surprised the tour guide with my useless bank of knowledge):  the dome is made out of cast iron.  It is just painted white.  Cast iron + weather = rust and falling to pieces.  
In the visitor center, the centerpiece in Emancipation Hall is the original plaster model for the bronze Statue of Freedom that sits atop the dome.  The plaster model was completed in 1857.  It's 19 1/2 feet tall and weighs 13,000 pounds.  
This room was the U.S. Supreme Court chamber from 1810-1860.

They have lots of draping on the inside to catch anything that might fall due to the external construction.  Unfortunately, it covers up a lot of The Apotheosis of George Washington.

but you can still see George sitting there under his blanket...






After the Capitol tour, I took the tunnel over to the Thomas Jefferson building of The Library of Congress.  I had never been inside before.  It is probably the prettiest building in Washington, D.C. 


A look into the Thomas Jefferson Reading room...


Here is Thomas Jefferson's book collection.

Additionally, I saw the Library of Congress Bible collection which includes the Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz, a Civil Rights exhibit, and luckily caught the end of a 10 week exhibit of the 1215 Magna Carta.

Here is a view of the Capitol from the Library.
After I left the Library of Congress, I walked across the street to my favorite building...
I was cold, but happy to be heading inside The Supreme Court.


I have no idea why, but I had not ever been inside.  Obviously, I loved every second of it.  
Justice Thurgood Marshall....
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor...
Justice John Paul Stevens...
They had a Sandra Day O'Connor exhibit, which I loved!

The chamber...
I got to take the "tour" inside the chamber too...
You can't take pics inside, but you can from the doorway...
After I left SCOTUS, I walked around the Capitol to the west side steps...
A look down the mall before I walked all the way to the White House.  In the cold.  With the wind hitting my face.
I walked through the Sculpture Garden and they have an ice skating rink set up right there, across the street from the National Archives...
By the time I made my way to the Natural History Museum, I was frozen.  I decided to pop in and warm up for a minute.  I had good timing and caught an IMAX 3D showing of "Jerusalem".  It was pretty good, but best of all I got to rest my feet and get warm!
I also checked out the Hope Diamond before leaving...
I finally made it down to the Washington Monument.
And to the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse

This is me... Frozen after walking 7.03 miles into the COLD WIND.

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