Saturday, January 19, 2008

Washington DC: Day 4

Today started out just like yesterday - breakfast at the next-door deli. We even saw a lot of the same people also having breakfast or a snack.

Metro straight to Capitol South, although Federal Center was probably just as close. We were hoping to tour the Capitol, so we went there first, but it took awhile to make our way to the booth where tickets are distributed. A big group was in front of us, discussing tour options, and they eventually decided not to take tickets because there weren't enough for them all to get into the same tour, or the tour was later than they wanted or something. For whatever reason, they didn't take any tickets, and it's good for us that they didn't. We got the last two tickets for the 2:45 tour, and there were only about 6 tickets left for the entire day, so if that group had taken them, we'd have been out of luck.

Now we had a lot of time to kill however, and not much interest in walking that far away from this part of town. My big wish was to see the Library of Congress (Thomas Jefferson Building, of course). We got there about 5 minutes after a tour had departed, and it was 2 hours until the next tour, so instead of waiting for that we gave ourselves a tour of the building. They had a good exhibit on Bob Hope and other vaudeville/variety/TV performers which had lots of fun stuff, and the building itself is so beautiful.

After admiring the Jefferson building, we went to the Supreme Court, which was much simpler than I'd imagined. We peeked into the Courtroom, then went downstairs to see their exhibit. That was the type of exhibit that gives museum exhibits a bad name. Very very dull stuff. We almost had lunch in the Supreme Court, but L wasn't very hungry and I'd read in my tour book that there was a cafeteria in the Library of Congress' James Madison Memorial Building with great views of the city. The Supreme Court cafeteria's views were somewhat lacking.

Unfortunately, we should not have been swayed by the hope of nice views, because the cafeteria was mostly closing. The menu board said they'd still be open, but most of the stations had closed and the food available was very sad looking. We passed.

We still had some time to kill, so next we tried the National Museum of the American Indian. I'd heard good things about their food, and thought it'd be fun to try. Having had virtually no lines our entire visit, we were shocked by the long line to get through security and into NMAI. Once we did, and found the cafeteria, we realized that we didn't have time to actually find something, wait in the long line to pay, and eat. So we went back outside and found another hot dog vendor. ;)

And now it was time to tour the Capitol. There was a LOT of security to go through to enter the building, and it took a long time to finally get inside. But once we did, oh it was so worth the wait. The rotunda is so beautiful. I have no idea what our guide said about lots of the paintings in there, I wasn't really listening, instead just admiring the artwork. Fantastic. The National Statuary Hall was impressive as well, with the National Statuary Hall Collection, and I was glad to hear that Alabama will soon be swapping out one of their statues to replace it with one of Helen Keller. Cool!

After a long time in the exhibit area, and a ton of pictures, we finally made our way outside again. Debating trying to see the Lincoln Memorial at night again, we decided against it. The single hot dog we'd had in our late lunch meant we were hungry and ready for dinner. Back to Federal Center SW for a ride back to Arlington.

Dinner had been selected already - Tom Sarris Orleans House, near the Rosslyn Metro stop. Since it's famous for prime rib, we knew we had to try that. Happily, our orders gave us access to their salad bar, which was great - lots of fresh lettuce and great variety on the other items. When our orders arrived we were surprised to see our "roasted potatoes" side meant one large red potato. It was fine, just not what either of us had imagined. The prime rib was delicious and definitely made for a great dinner our last night in DC. We both had pinot grigio, and while it wasn't as tasty as the Toscana Grill pinot, it was good enough and complemented our dinner nicely. Desserts of course, key lime pie for L and carrot cake for me. L liked his well enough, but my cake was a little dry. All in all tough, we enjoyed our dining experience and were glad we'd been there before they closed - a sign on the table top said that the restaurant would be closing in mid-January because of development in the area. A diner next to us said they were going to tear the building down and put in luxury condos. I can see why it'd be prime real estate, with its convenient location to the Metro.

After a very short Metro ride to our stop at Court House, we extended our evening by going to the movie theatre next to the Metro. National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets was open and L couldn't wait to see it! The movie time was just soon enough where we decided to not go back to our hotel first, but just find some good seats and enjoy the wait.

As a disclaimer, let me just say that I'm not really a movie person. I much prefer to read, and so it's pretty rare that I got to the movies. But L loves them so I try to go whenever I can find one I think I can sit through. So when I say the movie was so-so don't take that as that meaningful if you're into movies. L loved it. That type of thriller/action is his favorite sort of movie so it was perfect for him. I loved that he loved it. :)

Finally made it back to the hotel where we talked about our plans for tomorrow which we once though would include Arlington Cemetery, but after considering our sore feet, we decided it would instead involve just sleeping in and leisurely departing, knowing that we'd be back another day to see more of what we missed.

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