Greetings and Salutations,
Thanks for the kind feedback on all my Panama posts. It’s always fun for me to relive our experiences by writing about them and then going back to reread them. The only problem with rereading is I find some spelling and grammar errors that I or my editor missed the first time! Sure I could rewrite and repost but then I would be looking backward rather than forward towards the next adventure. Always have to be looking what’s ahead!
For the next few weeks, I’ll take you on our recent journey to Washington, District of Columbia, the national capital. A volunteer gig took us to Washington for a legislative training conference that ended with our group of about 250 advocates “storming” Capitol Hill along with hundreds of other groups trying to lobby their Members of Congress on one topic or another. Since we were going anyway, we decided to add on a few extra days to see a few of the many sites in the District.
Our very early morning flight was direct from cool (weatherize and in all ways!) Milwaukee to only a very slightly warmer Reagan Washington National Airport. We were glad for our winter gear for most of our trip.
After landing at National and retrieving our luggage, we made our way over to the Metro (subway) and took the yellow line to the Georgia Avenue/Penworth stop, the nearest station to our AirBnb.
The Georgia Avenue stop is next to a Safeway grocery store where we purchased some provisions and then called an Uber for a ride to our home for the next three days. Our hosts granted our request to enter the apartment earlier than the usual check in time due to our early arrival. That gave us time to settle in and then set out for some late afternoon sightseeing. Our apartment had a separate entrance and was essentially the basement or lower level of the blue colored row house in photo below.
Everyday during our three day stay, we made the 10-15 minute walk from our apartment to the Metro stop where we could easily travel around the city. The neighborhood appears to becoming more gentrified, in other words those lower on the socioeconomic scale are being pushed out as real-estate values continue to increase. So it’s a neighborhood in transition. It was once the center of the African-American population in Washington, jazz musician Duke Ellington was born in this part of town. Here are a couple of photos take during our daily walks. Don’t you wonder what the story is in the third photograph? It’s a suitcase in the middle of an empty parking lot!
As we wait the few minutes for the Metro to take us to the National Mall area to do some sightseeing, we entertain ourselves by taking some photos.
On our many trips on the Metro, I managed to capture a couple of photos of the passengers.
After exiting the National Archives Metro stop, one of the first things we saw was this brightly colored banner. Maybe it was put up a little early because we saw little evidence that it was springtime in Washington, DC! For most of our stay it was downright chilly requiring gloves and stocking caps along with winter coats to keep warm.
That first day, we were very tired since our week long adventure started at 4 AM so to avoid making any decisions, we just wandered around the National Mall where we came across the Sculpture Garden near the National Gallery of Art. The cool weather kept us from dawdling! Anyway the sculptures are quite large but very interesting to look at. There were some art students practicing their craft even while bundled up against the cold!
From a distance we gawked at the Capitol Building in the late afternoon sun, admiring its stateliness and symbolism.
Now I’m skipping ahead a few days to when we were on Capitol Hill to lobby our legislators. From our hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, we were bused into town and dropped off on the west side of the Capitol by the Reflecting Pool and near the U. S. Grant Memorial. The photo below has Grant in the foreground looking toward the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
We then proceeded to walk around the Capitol towards the Hart Senate Office Building. Since we had plenty of time, we stopped often to take photos and admire the scene. It was the first and only pleasant spring day during our several day visit! I took a lot of photos of the Capitol from different angles. The last time I was in Washington, the rotunda was under renovation, that’s complete and looks great. This time the House of Representatives side of the Capitol building is being renovated.
Our first lobbying stop was to see one of Wisconsin’s US Senators Tammy Baldwin. We first met with one her aides until she was able to join us. Senator Baldwin was very generous with her time, listening to our concerns and willing to consider supporting our positions.
Later on that morning, we met with a staff member of Senator Ron Johnson, his schedule prevented him from meeting us in person. In the afternoon, we met with an aide to Representative Mark Pocan. It was a good session as Representative Pocan has been very supportive of our positions in the past.
In between our Congressional meetings, we walked around the Capitol area, stopping to admire the Supreme Court building across the street from the Capitol. I went on one of their public tours of the Supreme Court and highly recommend it as something not to miss. Later on, we toured the Library of Congress that will be featured in next weeks post. I should warn visitors to Washington that every federal building you enter including museums and galleries require security screening. It’s not quite as rigorous as the airport but all bags are x-rayed and all visitors have to walk through a metal detector. I think I went through the screening process at least five times that day. So I’ve been screened, for what I don’t know!
After a late afternoon closing reception at the Rayburn House Office Building, we met our buses near where they dropped us off. Before boarding the bus back to the hotel, I took a few parting photos.
Thus began our adventure. Next week stay tuned for visits to some memorials and museums.
Until then, happy travels!