Thursday, 5 April 2018

Time in the Capital

Since I had a full day free, I decided to head into the Capital. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the Metro line and from there it was a 20 minute ride into the city. 

Signs of spring were evident in the newly tended gardens, and of course in the blossoms on the trees. 

Passing historic and important buildings, I was soon standing in front of the Capital Building. So often we see politicians on the steps of the Capital Building but most don't realize just how many steps there are! 

Around the back and down the stairs I was in a security line. The lines moved quickly, efficiently getting people safely into the building. Down the stairs and into throngs of people lined up for timed tours. The staff in the hall asked where I was from and when I told him "Canada" he sent me over to a reception desk to get a pass to visit the House and Senate. Over I wandered to learn that the house was closed for another 45 minutes. No problem, I went to have a bite to eat and wandered around the statues and plaques. 

Back to the desk to learn it was to be another half hour. I decided I was going to leave when the woman behind the desk decided to take me on a mini tour. Although we saw some of the same things as those on the timed tours, I was also introduced to a great many people who worked in the Capital Building. 

Finally it was time to visit the House and Senate. However, after learning that there was going to be a minimum of 90 minutes waiting in lines, I decided I wasn't interested enough to deal with crowds and was fed up standing. 

Another walk along the National Mall to the Metro Station. While I hadn't planned to spend time in the Capital Building, it was a new experience and for me. 

In many ways, Washington is like any big city. And in so many ways, it isn't. Here are some of the things I learned about Washington:
  1. It sounds just like New York. Screaming sirens and honking horns are continuous. And interestingly no one is fazed by them. 
  2. In reality, getting from Point A to Point B is always a minimum of three times further/longer than it looks.
  3. There are more police on Capital Hill than Brantford has in its entire fleet. 
  4. Some of the most impatient drivers on the planet drive here. 
  5. Regardless of the number of times you visit, there is always something new to see.

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