When I got off the subway at Union Station, I stepped from darkness into an abundance of bright winter sunlight that was reflected on the colossal white building of the biggest railway station of the US. I walked along the facade of Union Station, with my head in my neck, enabling me to see the (train)travel related quotes carved into the upper levels of the building. Columbus Fountain was unfortunately under reconstruction, and without water anyway because it was winter, which did allow me to climb into the fountain and see the sculptures in the central area from up close. When I stepped out, the contours of the US Capitol were outlined by the low-hanging sun behind the branches of leaf-less trees. Squirrels showed no fear, and I even saw some sitting in the middle of the street without showing any nerves at all. When I arrived at the US Capitol building, I noticed there were few people on this Sunday afternoon; it was closed anyway for Christmas holidays. Although I could not go inside because of it, it also meant I had virtually unobstructed views of the familiar building that loomed high above me. It is here that the US Senate meets, as well as the House of Representatives.
Walking away from the imposing building that dominates the skyline of the city by law as no other building can be taller, I soon arrived at more stately architecture with a clear classical touch. Just across the street, the Supreme Court building was unfortunately under repair, and although a massive cover showed that the building looked like, it was just not the same. The only visible part were the sculptures on top of the white-washed entrance. Right next door, I saw the Library of Congress, another imposing building. In front of it, the Neptune fountain with nude women riding horses, sea creatures, and, inevitably, Neptune with trident in the middle; it was the shortest day of the year and the fountain was dry. I walked back to the US Capitol building, around its southern side, and down the hill. The western grounds of the US Capitol are off limits now, so I had to be content with more distant views.
Before finishing my walk around the centre-piece of Capitol Hill, I walked to the iron and glass building of the US Botanic Gardens, crossed the street to small Bartholdi Park, and continued to the uniquely wave-shaped Smithsonian Museum of Natural History before returning to the US Capitol. I walked around the Capitol Reflecting Pool; the characteristic dome of the US Capitol seemed far away from here. At the other side of the pool, I found the Grant Memorial, and close to it, the white-washed Peace Memorial; from here, I walked to Taft Memorial, a rectangular tower with a statue of President Taft. The dome of the US Capitol was a contour on my right now, while the Sewall-Belmont House, one of the oldest private buildings in Washington, DC was basking in the sun. Around the corner, I found a row of attractive residential buildings - a totally different style than the grand, neo-classical buildings that shape Capitol Hill.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Capitol Hill (United States). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Capitol Hill. Read more about this site.