This morning I was up at 5:00 so t could catch the 6:45 courtesy bus to Union Station in Washington DC, where I boarded the Hop On/Hop Off bus. It has been a long time since I've had to get up that early.
My first stop was at the United States Capitol. The first thing I did was to get a pass for a guided tour of the Capitol. Of course, security was heavy there, both inside and outside. I walked around the grounds while waiting for my 10:45 tour. I didn't want to miss this opportunity. If you aren't there at the appointed time, you can't get in at all. It was difficult to hear the guide and to take photos because there were so many groups in there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tour.
The next stop was at the National Museum of Natural History (1910). It is huge; its total area is more than 18 football fields and it holds more than 126 million speciments, some of which were collected almost 200 years ago. It has some wonderful displays of animals, plants, fossils, rocks, minerals and cultural artifacts. I saw the famous Hope Diamond in their gem collection, as well as other very large precious stones. I had lunch in their restaurant.
After lunch I walked in the nearby Butterfly Habitat Garden and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Both were interesting.
One of the most inspiring tours was at The National Archives. This is where some of the most important original historical documents are housed: the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and its Amendments, the Articles of Confederation and others. They are encased in glass in dim light and with special environmental controls to protect them from further deterioration. They are very faint and difficult to read. Seeing them gave me a renewed respect and admiration for our founding fathers. It was not easy to create a new government from such diverse interests.