Friday, October 14, 2011

Trip to Washington DC - Day Seven

We started today at the Supreme Court Building, just south of the Capitol.  This was our view of the Capitol before entering the Supreme Court...

and the Supreme Court building...

Our tour guide brought us into the court room where we were able to sit and have her give us an overview of what the Supreme Court does.  She did it in a way that even our children could understand.  It was wonderful!  Then she opened it up for any questions people had.  There were some very good questions (some even from our children), and it was very interesting.  It was amazing just to sit in that room and to see those nine very important seats up front.  The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States and has jurisdictions over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases.

The ceiling in the court room is so beautiful!

This is one of two marble spiral staircases in the building - so pretty!

walking out of the building...
When we came out of our tour it was pouring rain outside, so we elected to eat lunch in the Supreme Court building.  Many of the food service options in the government buildings were way overpriced.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that the food here was pretty good and fairly inexpensive.  We had a great lunch!

When we finished the rain had stopped and we walked across the street for our meeting with Arizona Congressman, Jeff Flake.  His office is in a building across the street from the Capitol.  Here our kids are outside his office.
This was a highlight because Jeff Flake sat down with us and two other families in his office and just talked with us, explaining to our kids what he does, what it's like to be around the President, about his own family - it was really fun.  I was so impressed with him. He was so friendly and cute with our kids.  Our kids thought he was wonderful.  They asked him all kinds of questions, and the way he was with them, you would have thought there was no place else he'd rather be.  He sat down on the front of his desk with his feet on the coffee table in front of him and just asked us what we wanted to know.  He talked about playing basketball against President Obama (he was guarding the President), and how President Obama is just a regular nice guy (even if he doesn't necessarily agree with his politics).  He talked with us for about an hour, until we ran out of questions.  Then he introduced us to one of his interns who would be taking us on our tour of the Capitol.
We left Jeff Flake's office building through an underground tunnel that legislators use to go from their offices to The Capitol on the Hill.  The tunnel was really neat and our kids loved seeing all the artwork on the walls that children around the United States had done.

The underground tunnel came out inside the Capitol.  We first saw a plaster model of the Statue of Freedom, which was used to cast the statue atop the Capitol Dome.  It is the main exhibit of the Visitor Center.  Then we viewed a movie that set the tone for what we would see in the Capitol.

This is the old Supreme Court chamber inside the Capitol building, used from 1810 to 1860.  Now they have their own building across the street.

This is the United States Capitol crypt.  It is a large circular room filled with forty neoclassical columns and it lies directly beneath the United States Capitol rotunda.  It was originally built to support the rotunda as well as offer an entrance to George Washington's Tomb.  Since Washington desired to be buried at his home in Mount Vernon, the tomb was left empty.  The crypt is used for the display of sculptures.

A marble compass was set into the floor of the chamber to mark the point where the four quadrants of the District of Columbia meet.

This is the Small Senate Rotunda which contains a magnificent, beautiful chandelier.

We passed this intricately carved door on our tour.

Our next stop in the Capitol building was the National Statuary Hall (The Old Hall of the House).  The House of Representatives first occupied this space and used it as their meeting room for almost 50 years.  In 1857 the House moved to its present chamber, and in 1864 Congress invited each state to contribute two statues of prominent citizens for permanent display in the room, which was renamed National Statuary hall.

The ceiling here was beautiful!!

While viewing the Statuary Hall, we saw Congressman Flake walk through...

The Rotunda is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have ever seen!  It is a large, domed, circular room in the center of the Capitol buildings second floor.

The canopy of the Rotunda is a 4664-square-foot fresco painting entitled The Apotheosis of Washington which depicts the first President of the United States rising into the clouds in glory.

The lower walls of the Rotunda hold historic paintings...

This frescoed band, or "frieze," goes all the way around the upper wall of the dome of the Rotunda and depicts significant events in American history.

This is one of two of Utah's statues in the Capitol building.  This one is the Rotunda and it is Brigham Young!

This is another statue in the Rotunda.  It is of President Ronald Reagan.
A closer look at the Ronald Reagan statue base shows these stone fragments which were taken from the Berlin Wall.  They were incorporated to honor his role in precipitating the wall's destruction.

After leaving the Capitol Building we walked across the street to the Library of Congress.  This was our view looking back at the Capitol...

The Library of Congress is BEAUTIFUL!  It is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress.  It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.  The Library's mission is to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.
We visited the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (there are several buildings).

the ceiling...

The Gutenberg Bible was on display...

The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with movable type in the West and the first major book produced on a printing press anywhere in the world. It marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book in the West. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status. It is an edition of the Vulgate, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany, in the 1450s. Forty-eight copies, or substantial portions of copies, survive, and they are considered by many sources to be the most valuable books in the world, even though a complete copy has not been sold since 1978.

The one here at the Library of Congress is one of only 21 complete copies in the world.  The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25-35 million.  Individual leaves now sell for $20,000-$100,000, depending upon condition and the desirability of the page.  Wow!!

After leaving the Library of Congress, Mark took the kids for a walk over to the grassy area in the center of the mall to run around.  This left me free for a walk around the Capitol building to catch some great shots as the sun was going down...

I LOVE Washington DC!

From here we walked to one of our favorite restaurants - Good Stuff.  Now.  I have to say I am not a hamburger lover.  I don't hate them.  It's just that when I have other options, I usually take the other option.  When given the choice between a hamburger and a hot dog I choose the hot dog.  This restaurant changed that completely.  They had THE BEST melt in your mouth burgers I have ever had.  We will continue to rave about these burgers for years to come.  Honest!

I had the PREZ OBAMA BURGER, which had applewood bacon, onion marmalade, roquefort cheese, and delicious horseradish mayo sauce.  Oh. My. Crazy. Goodness!!

They also had to DIE FOR shakes.  I had the Toasted Marshmallow shake and I am still longing for another.  I am a total shake connoisseur.  They are my favorite thing in the world.  And this one won.  Hands down.  Yum!

1 comment:

Diane said...

Wow Awesome photos...REALLY!!! I think we have been 3 times & now I just want to go back again. I love DC too!! I'm soooo glad you were able to go.