DC Tourist Day 2

Hank – Kathy was feeling better so we headed out together. We took the subway to the the Capitol South station and began our exploration with the Library of Congress. What a beautiful building. We checked out the exhibits and filed through the observation deck overlooking the reading room.

Next we stopped by the Supreme Court. Did you know the Supreme Court didn’t have it’s own building until the 1935? Up until then they met in the Capitol building. We had lunch in the cafeteria and then went to the Capitol building. A visitor center was built back in 2006 and that’s where you enter. On display are a number of statues. Each state can provide two statues for display. One of Washington state’s statue is of Mother Joseph, who founded the Providence hospitals. Kathy, a former employee, had her picture taken with the statue.

We met Josiah, who works at the visitor center, and asked about the tour. He asked where we were from. Kathy told him and added that we had come here by bicycle. He thought she was joking. Then we was amazed. I mentioned we had done the tour back in 1983. Well, that happens to be the year he was born in. He was so excited for us and said we had to do the tour again. So he ran over to the counter and got us tickets and we the group going in at that moment. What a nice person.

The tour takes you underneath the dome and through the former meeting chambers of the House of Representatives. Our guide, Bob, told us about everything.

From there we walked down the National Mall to view the WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Lincoln memorials. One observation  about the memorials. There seemed to be more tourists taking selfies than people there to remember. One touching moment I witnessed was a gentleman taking a pencil rubbing of a name for a wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran.

All that walking made for a long day, but it wasn’t over yet. Darrell and Renea, friends of ours who used to live in Spokane, met us for dinner right after getting off work. We walked to Otello’s–good choice, Darrell–and spent a couple hours catching up. It was great visiting with them.

Kathy – After spending yesterday (Sunday) in the hotel room resting up I am feeling much better today.  Not sure if it was just the rest or a combination of me starting an antibiotic. Before we left our doctor prescribed a dose of antibiotics (that I filled) just in case we needed them.  I have been feeling crummy for about a week with upper respiratory stuff and a possible bladder infection (My first, but very common for women bike touring long distances). Thankful I decided to take the meds because I’m feeling much more like myself today.  Thank goodness!

We put in over ten miles of walking in today seeing the many sights in Washington D.C.  This is such an amazing place with so much history, I literally could stay here a week and still find new and interesting things.  Very pleased to be in this city.  First, the subway system in Washington D.C. is the cleanest subway system I have ever seen.  So hats off to them!  I also see advertisements in the subway for Providence St. Joseph Health, the company I just retired from.  I was very surprised to see this because we do not have any facilities (that I am aware of) in the Northeast area.  We (I mean they, too many years with them) have 50 hospitals in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, California, New Mexico and Texas.  It was their name and logo, so not sure if there is a new partnership expanding in the Washington D.C. area. It was kinda nice to see, reminded me of home.

I absolutely loved visiting the Library of Congress. Someone said this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Washington, D.C. and I must agree.  It is truly spectacular.  This pictures do it no justice.  This is the oldest and largest library in the United States, and in the world according to their information guide.  This is a must on anyone’s visit to the area. Next we went to the Supreme Court. We looked for Brett, but didn’t see him. 😉 Not going to get into that one here.  This is another fascinating building with so much history.  We then toured the U.S. Capital.  Joe, our tour guide provided us with a vast about of knowledge related to this beautiful building.  It is just incredible the amount of work it took to build these amazing places, and then to think of all the history that came about in these facilities is truly mind blowing.  I am just in awe with all the architecture, decor, sculptures, paintings and the sheer volume of this buildings.  They are all magnificent.

We went by the Newseum (a building dedicated to the First Amendment – freedom of speech) but we just didn’t have enough time to see everything, so we opted out on this one – next time.  We also went by the many Smithsonian Institute buildings, yet again not enough time to go visit each one.  We went to some of the Smithsonian exhibits 35 years ago, but that was much too long ago.  Next time we make it to Washington D.C. we will focus on these areas.

We saw the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.  We have seen them both before. They are huge monuments with great history and their presence is just astonishing.  Visiting the many war memorials was next up.  The World War II Memorial is very large with many symbolic areas to reflect upon. Seeing the Refection Pond and the Lincoln Memorial in the distance at one end and the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capital at the other end was spectacular.  The Korean War Memorial was beautiful to say the least.  The tired and worn soldiers were cast in a irony silver color and stood among the green bushes.  The color contrast gave you an sense of eerie and fright that they must have been feeling. This is a striking tribute to these fallen soldiers.  The last time we saw the Vietnam War Memorial it was still a work in progress.  It is completed now and a remarkable site to see.  This was the one memorial that we saw where the people nearby were much quieter and respectful.  Seeing 70 black marble plates standing upright listing every persons name who died in this war was beautiful, yet saddening at the same time. All of these memorials are part of our history and wonderful tributes. I am grateful for all who lost their lives to ensure our freedom.

We made it back to the hotel after a long, but productive day of sight seeing.  We rested a bit before meeting up with our friends Renee and Darrell.  We met Renee and Darrell about 22 years ago at the base chapel at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. They left Spokane about 12 years ago.  Renee is a school teacher and after Darrell retired from the Air Force he now works in aircraft maintenance.  It was really good to catch up after so many years.  We really enjoyed our time with these good friends. Darrell picked out an excellent Italian restaurant were we had a fabulous meal.  They were so nice to treat us to this wonderful dinner.  Thank you Renee and Darrell!!  The evening went by much too fast before we had to say our good-byes.  It was so great to see them and hopefully it won’t be so long before we see each other again.  I love this part about our travels, seeing all of the family and friends along the way.  One of the best parts by far.

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