[OK, so I am terribly delinquent about not posting this, y’know, within a month of the actual trip. So sue me.]
Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday. What a day!
Here’s what we did: the Capitol tour, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Library of Congress. That’s a pretty full schedule. A few brief notes because I’m too tired to write a long post rhapsodizing about it all.
First, the Capitol: it’s quite imposing, but the tour was wonderful. The Great Hall is amazing, and the statuary gallery is quite striking as well. Unfortunately, our elected servants were taking an extended vacation so we didn’t get to tour the House or Senate chambers, but the building and grounds were well worth seeing.
I loved the Library of Congress. David thought it would be like a public library, only bigger, so he was somewhat disappointed that he couldn’t just waltz in and pick out an arbitrary book to read. However, there are a ton of interactive exhibits, including one that traced the development of the Gulf Coast under Spanish and French rule; that was worth a good look. The interactives are all computerized touch-screen kiosks that are very well done.
For lunch, we went to the National Museum of the American Indian. This was surprisingly interesting, although I was a bit saddened to see that there wasn’t much in the way of buffalo-related displays, although they did have a really nifty collection of Native American art . However, the Mitsitam Cafe there was probably the best place we ate all week. I had a pulled buffalo sandwich that was superb, and everything everyone else had– wild salmon, a buffalo burger, and I-forget-what-else– was well-prepared and tasty. (In fact we went back to the cafe later in the week for another lunch.) The cafe was packed, which is a pretty good indicator that we weren’t the only ones who liked it.
After our lunch it was time for the National Air and Space Museum. What a fantastic place! I’d been to the Udvar-Hazy Center before, which is excellent in its own right, but getting to see artifacts like the Wright Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis literally sent chills up my spine. They even have UAVs now, as you can see from the photostream. David and I flew in a 2-man F-4 Phantom simulator and had a blast, scoring the highest number of kills for the day (a whopping, not really, 7.) Like all the other Smithsonian museums, NASM closes at 5pm, so we left and went back to the hotel for a swim.
For dinner, we walked over to the waterfront area just south of L’Enfant Plaza. There are a number of seafood stands there, and I’d heard it was a good place to eat. It would have been, too, had it not started to thunderstorm. We sought refuge inside Phillips Seafood Buffet, one of the only restaurants to actually offer indoor seating. The seafood was delicious, and I’m pretty sure, given the quantity we all ate, that we represented a net loss to the restaurant despite the stiff prices.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel (thankfully, it had stopped raining) for a little TV and rack time. We had to rest up for Thursday, which was going to pack a 1-2 punch.