October 28, 2012

....Places: 1

This charming yard and door were a welcoming break from the Federalist architecture of the city.

There is only so much one can do, even on wheels, in a city like Washington DC.  Our hotel was a delight.  The concierge and doormen helped us neophytes into our days.  Metro security endlessly guided us in the right direction.

Though we arrived to see museums and found ourselves swept away by wonderful people, we still saw innumerable institutions.   Neo-Classical architecture by any name or era is still Neo-Classical architecture.  Most of these institutions we visited were decked out in ersatz classical drama.  Some of the more modern buildings were just pretentious, while the IM Pei building was shrouded in scaffholding.   There was Victorianna in all its glory, as well as Romanesque scattered among the Greek and Roman.  We enjoyed every bit of it.

Left:  Mage and the Smithsonian Castle.  Right, A bow window above the Castle’s main door.

Once we recovered from our B-757 flight in, we saw the city by tour bus, by foot, by wheel, and with friends.  We traveled the mall, out to Arlington, by taxi, and deep underground by Metro. 

Often I was excited.  Sometimes I was wary and slowed down by the ever present security.  Often put off too.  The Capitol security had it all over the triple-check plus dog of the white house, and both of these put the museums to shame.  9/11 truly changed our national capitol forever.

The Phillips home now part of a much larger art museum.  A magical place.

Left: A not at all marked elevator.  Often we couldn’t find the buttons either.  Right:  Coffering mimics many of the classical ceilings.

Always we struggled to find the Metro elevators, to figure out which way we were going, and I only got to many of our destinations because of G’s doggedness.  I asked why the elevators were so hard to find, and I was told that violence and muggings caused the agency to remove the signs from the Metro elevators.   There was even one, unmarked, in a CVS building.  Always they were a block from the main escalators.   

Whistler's famous Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery
….a magical dining room that now lives inside a museum.

There were monuments we could get to, and there were those that were too crowded.  The serenity of the Lincoln Memorial went right over my head when I got closer, for instance.

Lincoln Memorial and the reality.

We did get to the Changing of the Guard at the Memorial for the Unknown Soldiers of WWI, WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam wars.

Top Left: The Unknown Soldiers Memorial building and Ampetheater,  Top Right:  Inside the building.  Center Bottom:  Just before the changing of the Old Guard.

Here the Supreme Court Building receiving repairs from the earthquake.

Often one building looked like another.

Left:  Bureau of Engraving,  Center: The National Gallery of Art, Right: National Portrait Gallery.

There were structures with a little more modernity.  The National History Museum stretches forever with tall expanses of marble to indicate columns.   The American Indian Museum, while marvelous and informative inside, resembles a many storied lump of clay outside on the mall.

The massive American Indian Museum looming at the end of the mall.


  1. Always enjoy your photos. Missed them - glad to be back :)

  2. Wow, I'm totally blown away by your knowledge of what you were seeing and how accomplished you are at narrating it along with the wonderful pictures. I'm looking forward to many more days of this.

  3. Great photos and commentary! Keep them coming, Mage!

  4. The Tomb of the Unknown is so difficult for me.

  5. Seems odd that the elevators are unmarked...the people who are looking for them are not the ones who are mugging the visitors...but I guess someone thinks it was a good idea. I enjoyed the photos...and so glad you had such a good time. I sure hope DC doesn't sustain damage from the hurricane.

  6. I recognize a few of those places. Seen Whistler's Peacocks several times and love the old red brick Victorian stuff all over the city. Dianne

  7. Your staying power is amazing. whatever you are having - I'll have it too:)

  8. Thanks for these pics, please keep em coming. It's a lovely stroll down memory land for me. I'm glad you enjoyed our nation's capitol.


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