Friday, September 13, 2013

State of the Union

Friday the 13th. Is it gonna be a bad luck day or just another day. We are headed to DC to tour the city. MeAsWe has only passed thru DC to reap some stamps at the Washington Memorial Bookstore for our last National Park Tour. Me, I have been to DC a couple of times, however the last time I  toured the town I was either in high school or junior high. We took the train in from Fredericksburg to Union Station. Right at Union Station we grabbed tickets for Big Bus Tour. For the $35 price it is a bargain. You can ride to a location get off, see the site, and grab the next bus. DC is not one of those cities that you can visit in a day; a lifetime may not even be enough. Today we settled on just seeing most of the biggies.
Our first mission was to take the bus all the way around on its loop to see what we might want to see. This took about 2 hours and grabbing the first one at 9 left us plenty of time to make it back to Union Station for the last train to Clarksville . The first loop around we found ourselves in a sprinkle here and there. To some this might have been bothersome, however our travels on the FJR have made us ready for some drops. The bus company provided us with ponchos, which I found worked for warmth as well.  The second time around the skies were blue and the temperature was perfect. 
Union Station was built in 1907 and is still one of the busiest stations in the world. At its peak during WWII, 200000 passed thru the gates daily.

Union Station WDC

Union Station WDC

Union Station WDC

The US Capitol is a spectacular building, whereas what goes on inside the walls is a whole lot of nothing recently.

US Capitol
The National Air and Space Museum is supposedly one of the most visited museums in DC. It is part of the Smithsonian and holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. 

National Air and Space Museum
The Hirshhorn Museum is here because I thought it had a neat sculpture and the building itself was unique. To others you can view a Picasso or a Matisse. It is also part of the Smithsonian, hosting art and sculptures mainly after the WWII.

Hirshhorn Museum

Known as The Castle, this is the original Smithsonian building. It is the administrative and information office for all of the other Smithsonians.

Smithsonian Institute
What's a trip to DC, without taking a pic of the Washington Monument. It is exactly 10 as high as it is wide on the bottom. It is the worldest tallest stone obelisk and topped by an aluminum crown. In it's day aluminum was the most precious metal, however the market dropped out on it. Pictured here with the scaffolding erected due to the earthquake. A quote from Wikipedia "The hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War". Know Nothing party, some things don't change, however when that term was coined it was not so literal as I interpreted it.

Washington Monument

Right next to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the US Holocaust Memorial Building. On the second loop around we got off the bus and went into to see the exhibit. Right from the start of getting on the elevator to see the exhibit, the staff immerses you into the holocaust experience. We spent about 45 minutes here and didn't even get thru 1/4 of the exhibit. It is quite moving and one should plan a complete day to visit. We shall return.

08A Bureau of Engraving and Printing

These are the sculptures outside the Memorial, called Loss and Regeneration by Joel Shapiro.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

I find the Jefferson Memorial one of the most peaceful looking buildings I have ever seen. Maybe it is the curved lines, the location or the cherry trees and blossoms that surround it. There must be something to this since it is ranked 4th on the List of America's Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

08 View of DC

09 Jefferson Memorial Dome
The Dome in the Memorial

09 Thomas Jefferson

 A ride along Ohio Drive brings you to the Lincoln Memorial, built in 1922. The LM as been the site of many a speech and as I took the Reflecting Pool, I thought of Forest Gump wading thru to get to Jenny. Unfortunately today the breeze is enough I am not getting a great reflection.

10 Lincoln Memorial

11 Lincoln

12 Reflecting Pool

I had been to the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial and WWII Memorials on previous occasions. The Viet Nam Vet is within a stone throw from the Lincoln Memorial. Back on the bus we passed the US Institute of Peace. I thought it was rather ironic that this was pointed out as we were talking about bombing Syria. The architectural design is a drastic difference from most of the buildings in DC,

13 US Institute of Peace

As I was waymarking when I got home I discovered that the American Institute of Pharmacy was on the National Register. It is the only privately owned privately owned lot surrounded by federal lands.

American Institute of Pharmacy Building

Our next stop was Ford's Theater and Petersen's House, where Lincoln was shot and died.

14 Ford Theater

Petersen House

The Old Post Office was built in 1899 in hopes that it would revitalize the neighborhood called Murder Bay. It was the first steel frame structure in DC and was the first to incorporate electric wiring into the design. This building has been controversial since the day it opened. Up to razing numerous times, rift with rumors and speculation, it is now leased by the Trump Organization and is suppose to become a hotel. The tower is protected and will stay open to the public. The views are suppose to be fantastic.

16 Old Post Office

The US Navy Memorial is the fountains between those 2 buildings. It was completed in 1987 and honors those serving in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

US Navy Memorial

 The Canadian Embassy is right down the street from the US Navy Memorial. It is at this point you realize that the tour is coming to an end and all the photos you have missed.

Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC

One last shot of the Capitol just before you turn toward Union Station.

18A The Capitol

You realize at this point there is so much to see in Washington that even a week is probably not enough time. The best part is that most of this is for free. I have already begun planning a trip back to DC.

19 Union Statue

A slide show CLICK HERE



Puppychow said...

Love your architecture shots! You have a good eye for it! :)

Runner said...

Beautiful photos. Union Station is a real gem! I always enjoy your pictorial travels.