Our third day of touring DC started at 9:00 as we braved the traffic and drove the car in. Our first stop was an easy park right next to The National Cathedral. There is just no way to relate the size and beauty of this Episcopal Cathedral. The Cathedral sits on 57 acres of land and is made from Indiana Limestone. The Gloria Excelsis Tower is the highest point in DC. The structure begins with a long rectangular base with an 8-bay nave and 5-bay chancel, intersected by a 6 bay transept. The inside length of the Cathedral is longer than a football field!
Length (outside): 517' 8"
Length (inside): 457' 8"
Width (outside across the nave aisles): 142' 6"
Width of transepts: 289' 9"
Height of west towers: 234'
Height of central tower: 301' 3"
Height of nave (inside): 102' 6"
Total weight: 150,000 tons
Total area: 83,012 sq. ft.
As we entered we were met by a volunteer who took two minutes to show us his favorite statues and window at our handicap entrance. At the time we were not aware that we had missed the main welcome entrance for the official tour tickets, and we just jumped in on a tour that had just started. Our tour took us on the main level and then downstairs.
One thing that caught my attention were the thousands of hand made needlepoint kneelers that were attached to the chairs in every worship sector.. . each area with a different theme.
After the official tour, our tour guide kept us under her wing for a few additional insights, and then she turned us over to another volunteer for a private tour of the top level 360 degree view of Washington DC.
First was the Holocaust museum, another free tour where we were handed a ticket and given a tour time. With 15 minutes to kill, we wandered thought the kid-friendly exhibit "Daniel's House." it was a wonderful interactive walk-through of the home and then relocation of Jewish boy Daniel and his family.
Back outside the temperatures were climbing into +100 degrees with the heat index. We walked to the Bureau of Engraving and were handed free tickets for a tour time of 5:45, leaving us with three hours to fill. We dashed into the original, re-bricked Smithsonian called the Castle. Tours were not available as the whole structure was being renovated, but we got a good look at this beautiful facility that we both remembered touring as children.
Seeing the money being printed was very interesting but no pictures were allowed along the money-making line! Before the no-photo zone, we did enjoy a nice visual "brick" of $1 million dollars in $10 notes!
At the end of this tour we had 26 minutes to get back to the van and drive back to the area around the Capitol where we had reservations for Bullfeathers, Teddy Roosevelt's favorite rest-stop. Ellen Coe had taken us there several years ago to eat lunch with the "Capitol crowd" and we have always wanted to go back. The Brown luck was with us providing a parking spot right across from the restaurant door, and we walked in at five minutes till 7:00. Fish and Chips for all, and TWO glasses of wine for me!
Tom has an innate inner compass once he has oriented himself on a map. He took us on his own little driving tour pointing out buildings, and then navigated across the Tidal Pool to the Jefferson Memorial just as the lights were coming up. So much of the parking that used to be available is now blocked off, but it was not too far from where we parked. Unfortunately, the elevator was not working for us to take the trip up on the main level of the Memorial, so we were left with a quick walk around the base.
What can you expect after 13 hours walking the streets in Washington, DC in 100+ degree weather? I had a sunblock lotion on my face, and even wore a brimmed hat every time I was outside in the sun. . . . but evidently the rays still got to me! At midnight I woke up with an itchy eyebrow, and during the night I could feel something funny going on with my face. In the morning I was unable to open my right eye, and the rest of my face felt suspiciously tight! Here is what I saw in the mirror! Yikes!
Sun poisoning was high on the list of suspects, and a trip to an Urgent Care Clinic confirmed that I had a severe reaction to the heat and sun. Two steroid shots for immediate relief and a 6-day course of Prednisone for the long-haul, and directions to stay inside for the day . . . and I was good to go! DC was predicted to be 110 degrees heat index on Thursday, and that was just enough to convince us to bolt for home the next day. I almost hate to post this picture (don't want to scare young children that might be reading this blog), but I do want my readers to know that I didn't give up on DC on a measly whim. We had planned one more day in DC and two full days in Philadelphia, but will re-plan another time -- maybe in the cool of the fall!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown