Today is my last day here in Washington and I intend to ensure I leave having had the full DC experience by hitting up some of the museums on the mall; and of course the famous Capitol building.
With a fully packed schedule ahead of me I start the day with a whistle-stop tour of The Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson Memorials; before taking a trip down independence Avenue to commence my Smithsonian education at The Air and Space Museum. It’s pretty nifty and adults and children alike gaze up agog at suspended aeroplanes and rockets. I shudder thinking about blasting into orbit in something which to all extends and purposes looks to me like a bad homemade science project wrapped in tin foil. Terrifying.
A quick coffee and giant pretzel for energy, and I move across the street to The National Gallery which houses fine art hung ornately in a maze of miniature recesses. Neoclassical has never really appealed to me and I’m slightly ‘meh’ until a helpful security guard takes my map (are you from London??) and turns me on to the major pieces I should be checking out. Much happier mooching amongst Manet, Monet, Rodin and Renoir; I take a peek at Degas’ ‘Little Dancer’ then amble out into the afternoon humidity.
I step up the pace, and walking Constitution Avenue, I set my sights firmly on the Capitol building. Humming the opening credits of HOC to myself I set off to whip myself up a taste of life on the hill. I pass afternoon runners (none of whom are Claire underwood sadly) and make it to the top. Currently the iconic Capitol dome is covered in scaffolding for repair work, detracting somewhat from its grandeur-but it’s still pretty impressive.
Entering the visitors area, I set off alarms as I have a whole host of contraband items brazenly stashed in my rucksack. The security lady doesn’t look best pleased (oh shit) but fortunately, ever at the ready, ‘HB’ (Hapless Brit) gets me a mere slap on the wrist as I apologise with my finest Kate Middleton impression (Finally!) and manage to avoid being carted off to prison.
Continuing my princess-y winning streaky I politely ask at the appointments desk for a pass to watch The Senate which is in session in half an hour. A smiling clerk obliges and I pitch up prepared for the inside scoop in American politics.
Deep in the heart of the house, a prayer is recited and we all bless the flag-then the Democratic leader has the floor followed by the Republicans. Even with my glasses on I fail to spot Kevin Spacey skulking around delivering scathing and well timed monologues however. Today there’s no one else in session save the pages and clerks and unfortunately my attention isn’t captivated for too long. Slightly underwhelmed, I sneak out and back into the sunshine.
It’s been a long day stomping the mall, so I trudge to Union Station bumping into a couple of lobbyists on the way. I jump on the red line, and leave the swirl of politics, history and art behind me.
Pretty soon I’m back in beautiful Bethesda, pleased I got to see most of the sights, as I reluctantly bid farewell to America’s capital. Off out for a goodbye dinner with friends and I will be sad to move on tomorrow- but hey, you’re always welcome in my house DC.
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