Sunday, July 03, 2011

Day 7 - Washington, DC (2nd day)

Waking up and early the next day, we decided to have breakfast at the Inn and check out and head out to explore the city some more.

Our hotel payment comes includes free continental breakfast. Being a converted apartment, breakfast was served at the ground floor where you share the big table with other guests. We also shared breakfast with the hotel cat who is just so cute and cuddly.

We checked out afterwards and tried to find the train station. When we passed by a local McDonald's, I could not help but go in and buy another breakfast meal. Somehow, the continental breakfast that we had earlier did not hit the spot. Besides, I wanted to know if it tastes the same as what we have back home.

After finishing that meal, I learned afterwards that there's not much difference as what we have back home.

We finally found the subway station after a few more blocks. Here's what the station looks like. I like the architecture.

We got off the station near Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress. After a short discussion, we decided to see the Library of Congress first. I knew I have to see this place being the mecca of book lovers everywhere.

There was a short line entering the premises as we had to go through a metal detector and security inspection. It was difficult as we were carrying our backpacks with us. We entered through the first floor and found ourselves in the Great Hall. We took pictures including me all giddy and excited.

We tried going into the main reading room where all the books are located (and where Nicolas Cage shot a couple of scenes in his film National Treasure: Book of Secrets. But there was an ongoing tour so we decided some other parts of the building.

One thing I love about the Library is that you can get a "passport" before you start your own tour. At each exhibit that you visit, you insert your "passport" inside a machine which automatically logs your visit. Afterwards, you access a certain website where you can virtually recall all the rooms that you saw during your tour.

After going through the rooms (and getting lost in the basement), we tried going back into the main reading room. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures so I just had to make do with a picture on the steps leading up to the balcony of the reading room.

When I got to the balcony, I just stood there and took it all in. Books everywhere! The book lover in me wanted to scream out in delight, but I just stood there until tears started pricking my eyes. It's such a beautiful sight and so far, it's the most heart-tugging sight that I have ever seen.

I searched the web and found a picture of what I saw, this is what the Main Reading Room looks like from the balcony:

(Thanks to the DC Traveler for that picture)

From the Library, we took a short detour at the Cannon House Office Building where I dropped off a couple of postcards. I saw different offices of US Representatives. When I told my husband it and mentioned seeing the office of a certain Nancy Pelosi, he asked if I saw her and said that she's the Speaker of the House. If I've known that earlier, I would have exerted extra effort to peek into her office.

After the Library, we walked to the Smithsonian and entered the National Museum of American Indian.

The second picture is the roof of the building from the Potomac Atrium.

Taking into consideration the recommendation of Leo's boss, we ate at the museum's restaurant the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe. Leo ordered cold tomato soup and fried bread while I got pork Soft Tacos. Both are just SO yummy!

Our train was not due to leave until 2PM so we had time to spare. We went around the museum again and crossed The Mall again to go into the National Gallery of Art. Here's a nice picture of The Capitol.

And here's Leo posing on the steps of the National Gallery of Art.

We were asked to leave our bags in the coatroom. Believe it or not, this is the room beside the baggage place. Makes you want to sit on the sofa and get comfortable.

Posing at the fountain on the Rotunda.

This sculpture is the Capitoline Venue which is on loan from Rome.

We then proceeded to the Union Station where we bought tickets for the Amtrak Train back to New Jersey. If the bus ride took 4 1/2 hours, the train ride should only be 2 1/2.

The Union Station looks also very grand. The place was packed to the seams with people trying to get in and out of DC. Tickets were kinda expensive at $140 each (I think). Ride was comfortable too.

My brother-in-law, Jeff, picked us up at the train station near Woodbridge and we were able to make it home in due time.

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