Washington, D.C. #3: Famous Buildings and Museums

Published: March 7th 2018
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First off, I decided to head to the Capitol Building as I had only seen the back of it, when taking a walk a couple of days earlier. I would liked to have gone inside, but they are very strict and with the high humidity I was unwilling to give up my bottle of water for their no liquids policy. So I settled on taking a walk around the outside. The Capitol Building or to give it its proper name, the United States Capitol sits atop Capitol Hill and is home to the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the US federal government. The building is huge and very elegant looking. I was a bit gutted that some restoration/construction work was going on, meaning that in my photos the bottom half of the Dome was covered in scaffolding. The building was completed in 1800, however the building proved to be too small for the growing United States, and in 1850 a design competition was carried out in order to choose the best expansion design. The iconic dome was added in 1855-1856 and was designed by Thomas U. Walter. I walked from the east side around to the west side and the view of the Capitol Building was even more impressive. It is such a grand building, I was in awe of how beautiful it was and of the views across the National Mall of the sights I had seen the day before.

I had decided that I wanted to spend most of the day away from the heat and humidity. So I had decided that some of the Smithsonian Museums would be the perfect places to do just that. I had visited the National Museum of American History yesterday, so chose two from the many to visit today. I had decided that I wanted to go to the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Air and Space Museum. I headed to the National Museum of the American Indian first. I didn't know very much about the Native Americans and was eager to learn more about the different tribes. The museum looks very impressive from the outside, and was designed by Native American and First Nation Architects. I spent a good couple of hours walking around the exhibits in the museum, which are spread over several floors. There was a lot of information about the different tribes and it was very interesting to read. I learnt a lot. I enjoyed the museum a lot and found it very informative.

I headed over to the National Air and Space Museum, which is located close by. This museum was a lot more crowded than the National Museum of the American Indian. No wonder it is the most visited museum in the world. I spent a couple of hours here exploring the different exhibits. This museum was packed to the rafters with things to see, do and learn about. I really liked the old school art work. There were lots of old airplanes suspended from the ceilings, I presume that these were just models and not the real things, but I could be wrong. There was even a small British section, with a mock-up of Elephant and Castle tube station and recruitment posters for the RAF. The space sections were interesting and informative, too. I liked the model of the space toilet. Once I was all museumed out, I decided to brave the heat and humidity and head outside. I took a walk along the National Mall. It is so green and leafy, I love the park feel it has along with all the old buildings.

You can't come to Washington, D.C. and not see the White House. Before my trip I looked into the possibility of visiting it, but it seems pretty much impossible for non-Americans as you need a letter of recommendation or something similar from your local senator. I would just have to make do with seeing it from the outside and from beyond the railings. I headed over to the White House. The White House, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States of America. John Adams was the first president to live there. When I got there, the road closest to the White House was closed off and there were a few police and secret service agents milling about. There were also some helicopters flying about in the distance. Something was going to happen, I was definitely sticking around to see what it was. I was hoping that I would get to see Obama, how awesome would that be! Well, I did, kind of. The Presidential Car did make an appearance and although the windows were tinted, technically I did see Obama. I really wish I could have seen him properly, but at least it was bit exciting to see the car go past. Once the car had disappeared, the road was opened and I got a bit closer to the White House. It was cool to see, but because you are so far away, I felt it lacked the sense of grandeur I got when looking at the Capitol Building.

I had booked another free tour for the evening, this one was entitled 'The Dark Side of Dupont'. This was an adults only tour as the content would be a little too much for children. The tour met at Dupont Circle and we spent about two hours walking around the area known as Embassy Row, seeing the embassies of different countries and being told stories and legends about the area. It was an interesting way to spend a couple of hours and see a part of the city, that I probably wouldn't have visited on my own. Unfortunately, I have forgotten pretty much everything we were told, but I did enjoy the tour. Once it was over, I took the metro back to my hostel for my last night in Washington, D.C. and the US, as I was flying out the next day.

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