Day Four: Friday
We awoke early to eat breakfast and get to the Capitol ASAP, they start handing out tickets at 8:30am and it is first come first serve. So we eat a quick breakfast across from the FBI building (there was a locked door in the back of the store, Agents would use a key card and the door would open and lead to hallways in several directions). Walking to the Capitol was not bad (20 minutes) and we made it in time for the 10am Tour. The tour itself is quick, the Rotunda, the old Senate Chambers, the Vault and the old Supreme Court. The interesting thing that was going on was that the House was debating the motion of having Rosa Parks lie in honor in the Capitol (which did pass).
Across the street from the Capitol is the Library of Congress. We joined a tour in progress and proceeded to enjoy the best one hour tour of the trip. The man giving the tour was a librarian, funny, knowledgeable, with thick glasses (and holding chain), laser pointer, brochures stuffed in pockets and pens in pocket protector. He made the wife and I laugh and provided an incredibly interesting tour of a library!Side Note: Originally when you wanted to copywrite your book you would send 2 copies of the books and $2 for the copywrite. So many books came in that the Capitol had books stacked on the floors of the House and Senate, so they decided to build the Library behind the Capitol. After several years of planning and building the first Librarian was charged with embezzlement of $30,000 and removed from office. His replacement continued moving all the books from the Capitol to the Library and began cataloging them. While doing that he found in many books the original $2 fee. The staff was so overwhelmed in the Capitol that they just put the $2 in the books and tossed them on the floor for when they moved into the new Library. And you guessed it, it all added up to $30,000. The 1st Librarian was reinstated.
Next to the Library of Congress is the Supreme Court. No big stops, just some picks and on to the NABET Offices located a few blocks away. We stayed for a while resting and catching up then headed to the International Spy Museum. This is not a National museum and you must pay to enter. While waiting to go in we bumped into a family from out Scout Troop, we did the museum with them. The museum showed the history of espionage and was interesting but not worth the fee, I feel, but we had fun.
Day Five: Saturday
Our last full day was saved for 2 places, The Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum. Words cannot describe the wonders held in those walls, from the Hope Diamond, Dinosaur bones and exotic animals to the Wright Flyer, The Spirit of St. Louis and Apollo 11. It must be seen, it must be explored and it must be preserved.
Here I must chronicle my only disappointment, The White House Visitors Center. I hated it, all it did was remind me of the fact that because of terrorist we can no longer visit the People's House without an invite by your Congressman and a 6 month wait.
We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, next door to Ford's Theater and called it a night. We were asleep minutes after getting back to our room.
Day Six: Sunday
We had planned to go to the Jefferson Memorial and Arlington as we left but the 30th Annual Marine Corps Marathon was that morning and it took us 30 minutes driving to find an open road to get over the Potomac. By that time we were just ready to go. So packed in our car (which we haven't seen all week) we said goodbye to the Nation's Capital and made it back to Indiana with blazing speed (8.5 hours) to the waiting paws of our dog, one phone message and a stack of mail. As the boy said, "The best family vacation EVER!"
- Visit Washington during the week, we had the place to ourselves and saw tons of lines everywhere on Saturday.
- Stay downtown and walk everywhere. We never needed the car (wanted yes but never needed).
- Do the No Eat Method. Eat a good breakfast and do not break until dinner. There are plenty of hot dog vendors on every corner.
- PLAN, get a trip book (we used National Geographic) and bring a cell phone. We called several places (numbers in the book) during our walks to check on times and waits.
- Spend the extra bucks to stay within walking distance of the National Mall, everything else is FREE, your only cost is food and lodging. There are hours upon hours of Free entertainment and wonder.
Funniest Thing Said On Trip:
Wife: "Bryan you don't hear half of what is said and don't listen to the other half!"