Monday, February 24, 2014

Touring Capitol Hill

After a late night and little sleep we were up at 6:30am. We met a friend (one of Thomas' co-workers) in the lobby of our hotel at 7:30am and then headed out for our day. The first thing we did was stop at Starbucks and grab some coffee and a muffin. We sat and talked for a little while enjoying the warmth inside since it was about 36° this morning. After eating we walked to the Capitol. We walked along the side that faces the Mall and ended up talking with a security guard about some things they were putting up on the side of the steps. He said they were getting ready to put up some fencing to block off access so that they could do some restoration on the dome. We then made our way around to the front of the Capitol and went into the Visitors Center. We spent about 20 minutes here looking at some of the statues and got to see the full-size plaster model of the Statue of Freedom that is atop the US Capitol. One of the two New Mexico statues is in the Visitors Center - that is the statue of Po'pay - and we got to see that as well.
1630−1692 | Religious Leader, Statesman
Po’pay, a religious leader, led the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the most successful Native American rebellion ever mounted against European colonists. The revolt’s legacy preserved Pueblo autonomy for nearly two centuries.
Cliff Fragua Marble, 2005 Capitol Visitor Center, Lower Level
From there we took the tunnel from the Capitol to the Library of Congress. We had a scheduled tour at 9:45am but we were a little early so we saw an exhibit they have going on right now called Hope for America: Performers, Politics & Pop Culture. It was really interesting. After that it was time for our tour so we made our way back to the area where the tour was starting. First we watched a short video about the library and then we were lead throughout the building. It is an incredible building and really beautiful. The woman doing the tour was really interesting but at times she wasn't loud enough. But still we really enjoyed the tour and had a great time at the library. When the tour was done we decided to have a little lunch before continuing our day.  We asked at the information desk if there were any places they recommended. We found a place called Good Stuff Eatery by walking a little southwest on Pennsylvania Aveune. We had burgers and milk shakes and they were really good. After eating we continued on our exploration of the city. We decided to stop at the Supreme Court and look around. We only got to see a couple of exhibits and kind of glanced into the courtroom. So I wasn't really impressed because you aren't able to see a lot unless you go to a lecture or something. Anyway we didn't stay long and then we continued on our way. It pretty much stayed cold all day and the wind was blowing making it worse. We all decided we wanted to go and visit the National Gallery of Art. We went through the Byzantine exhibit, the Impressionist exhibit and the Monuments Men exhibit. We also saw The Dying Gaul that the have on display from Italy. We then went on a guided tour of the Italian Renaissance Collection. Our tour guide was incredible and I really enjoyed learning more about this period of art. We also got to see a Leonardo da Vinci painting (Ginevra de' Benci) - which is the only painting by him in the Americas. This painting has a front and back. I was really taken by this painting and really enjoyed the tour. By the time we finished the tour it was almost 5:00pm, so we headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. We were meeting a friend of Muffet's (Thomas' co-worker) at The Dubliner at 6:00pm. This is the same restaurant that Thomas and I ate at last night (where we ordered from the bar menu). Tonight we ate in the actual restaurant and I had Irish Beef Stew that was so delicious. We had an enjoyable visit and meal but around 8:00pm I was ready to call it a night. So Thomas and I left while the other two decided to stay a little longer and have another drink and talk. It was a great day and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Now it is time to get some rest.

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