Day 4 was our final day in the city. We only had one place left on the agenda – the Library of Congress. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see all those books all in one place! (BTW, I am very aware that I am a freak of nature).
When we arrived there in the chilly morning hours, we joined the queue behind a group of junior high students. I’d forgotten what it was like to observe junior high students, but very quickly remembered why I am thankful to be past that particular stage of my life. Why is it that the wee students don’t have any concept of how to act in a civilized society? Ah, well.
We finally made our way through the buildings and the metal detectors and went in search of the sights before our scheduled tour time. You know, to wander off the beaten path…off-roading if you will. We went up and down the main halls and found offices, bathrooms, auditoriums and a Bob Hope exhibit. Would you believe me when I tell you that there was NOT A SINGLE FREAKING BOOK IN SIGHT? Undeterred, we went down a flight of marble stairs only to discover the steam trunk distribution pipes. Um, hello?! I thought we were in a library.
I won’t lie to you. I was disappointed. I thought that the rooms would have bookshelves upon bookshelves all categorized with precision. In my mind’s eye I saw the sliding ladders and book spines up as far as the eye could see. In reality? Nada.
Defeated, I sat down on an uncomfortable bench and waited for the tour guide to show himself. Finally, I was off on a tour. We walked up a flight of stairs and into the most incredible room I’ve ever seen. It looked like what I would have imagined Rome’s buildings to look like back in the day. My head swung back and forth, up and down and all around trying to take in everything at once. With dismay, I realized that there was no way that my trusty camera was going to be able to capture the whole room at once. There were marble staircases with engraved figures, the floors were marble tile, the ceilings were mosaic and colorful, some of them layered in gold (if only I was a bit taller and had brought my pocket knife…suddenly the reason for the metal detectors made a lot of sense).
You’ll notice that I had to adjust my expectations. The tour was mostly about the architecture (which was AMAZING) and the history of the Library of Congress (which was actually interesting) rather than about the books themselves. There was only one view that we actually saw books and taking pictures there was verboten.
Leaving the Library of Congress granted me a great sight of the Capitol building and the Supreme Court. After snapping a few pictures, the whirlwind trip rapidly came to a close as we zipped home on the Metro. I have one more post to catch you up on some of the nightly excursions, but I’ll have to do it tomorrow or Monday. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures…
The Supreme Court
The Capitol Building
I was disappointed that they didn’t put the flag at half mast because I was leaving. But, don’t worry. I put it at half mast in my heart. sigh.