April 7, 2014 – We knew there was a chance the good weather would not hold, and today was the day. Cold, rainy, windy weather greeted us in the morning, and continued throughout the day. We usually aren’t in DC on a weekday, so we wanted to take advantage of the time and do things that are normally closed on the weekend. First up was the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. We got timed tickets (they’re free) for the 5pm tour.
Next up was the Supreme Court Building. We were fortunate in that no arguments were being heard today, so we could get in line for one of the courtroom talks. Interns give a brief 30 minute overview of the Court’s history and some of the architecture inside the actual courtroom… and the cool part is you get to actually go inside the courtroom.
By the time we left the courtroom it was raining, windy, and lunchtime. Every tour group in DC – plus the two of us – thought that Union Station sounded like a good place to get lunch. Hoarding of chairs was the biggest problem, but eventually we found two and an open table. Tony enjoyed a chicken sandwich and hashbrowns, while Louisa had chicken curry, chana masala, rice and naan.
We finally caught a break in the clouds and headed towards the Mall. First up was a stop at the Botanic Gardens, where orchids seemed to be the main flower on display. We enjoyed our time walking around, and only left once our allergies kicked into high gear. Next up was a brief stop at the National Gallery of Art for a mocha (what, we can’t be the only people who go to art museums to get something at the cafe) and the Museum of Natural History to admire the gemstones.
By now it was time for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing tour, we arrived a few minutes early and looked at the small exhibits in the waiting area before the tour started. Our tour guide was very informative, and we got to see the entire printing process. The blue-collar factory workers themselves were also interesting, interacting with the crowd via signs.