The Capitol was well worth the wait. It's a magnificent building. Here's the obligatory picture, as if most Americans, anyway, don't already know exactly what it looks like:
You can see the end of the line I waited in -- there were many more people that you can't see in this picture
Then I strolled over to the Library of Congress, which was very disappointing. There wasn't really anything on display for the public, the stacks, understandably, were closed, and I couldn't even find a catalog, online or otherwise, or even a reading room.
But it's a pretty building, too:
Not that this was a very good angle to take a photo from
I had a much better time at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is privately endowed and run, and has a lovely façade with each play depicted in its own bas relief carving. It also had an Elizabethan-style theater and some public displays, the current one at the time being about food in Shakespeare's time. Of course, the bookshop had videos of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films in it, as was fitting (Branagh is my oldest fandom).
After finding myself a hot dog and chips at a street (mall?) vendor halfway down the National Mall, I strolled past the Washington Monument, which was being worked on and had a fascinating scaffolding surrounding it:
I must say that's the most decorative scaffolding I've ever seen
Then on to the Jefferson Memorial:
And the statue inside:
Then on to a memorial I didn't even know existed:
The Roosevelt Memorial, which was all elegant water and concrete with metal statues, not just of FDR, but of Eleanor Roosevelt and of symbols of the Depression:
Statues of soldiers running across a field, and on the left, a myriad of faces carved into a stone wall
And then two memorials I'd seen before, the Vietnam War Memorial:
From a distance. The crowds were pretty impressive on a Saturday afternoon.
They say stalagtites have formed in the cavern underneath the statue. And it's always bigger than I think it's going to be.The afternoon I was there, a wedding party was having photos taken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The bridesmaids were in steel grey, and the photos must have turned out beautifully.
By then I had sore feet for the second day in a row, so I went across the Arlington Bridge to the nearest Metro station and made my way back to the hostel, feeling like I'd barely scraped the surface of The Other Washington, but had done my best to do so.