Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holidays in DC

On Sunday, Anuenue went downtown to check out the holiday decorations in DC. There was track work on Metro, so we took the "scenic detour" aka 1.5 mile walk from Archives to Eastern Market, cutting through part of the National Mall.

Anuenue checks out the statue of Ulysses S. Grant at the base of the Capitol building.

There is a view of the other end of the Mall, with the Washington Monument. Contrary to many tourists expectations, the Mall is merely an open grassy (or more usually muddy) area ringed round with museums and federal buildings.

There is a Christmas tree on the lawn of the Capitol building, decorated with large ornaments made by children.

Anuenue continues on around the side of the Capitol building and up a small hill towards...

....the Library of Congress. The only decorations in evidence here are a pair of wreaths.

Next we head through the neighborhood of Capitol Hill to Eastern Market, the first destination.

Eastern Market has an indoor building with grocer stands, and an outdoor area with merchants selling crafts and Christmas trees.

Next we walk back towards Union Station, passing by this statue. There are statues in just about every park, circle, and intersection in the District.

Only a small fraction of the city is taken up by federal buildings and museums, most of the city is residential. These pretty rowhouses are a small sample of the architecture found around the city. 

We reach Union Station, which is really just a big train depot for Amtrak, metro, and some commuter rail lines. It does have some fancy architecture though!

Inside Union Station are shops, restaurants, and the huge arched ceiling.

There is a seasonal display of model trains at Union Station. The Norwegian embassy used to set up a nice train, but this year there was just a rather pathetic version sponsored by Amtrak.

We head back across the Capitol grounds to check out a much better display at the US. Botanic Gardens.

In one room, there are models of landmark DC buildings made out of leaves and branches, like this version of the Capitol.

There are also lots of topiaries, including this large bear.

The next room has the model train display, much fancier than at Union Station. Multiple trains zip around the room through strange scenes and dioramas made out of plants.

There are lots of fantastical scenes from fairy tales, just about the right scale for Anuenue!

There are also some more creepy displays....

The rest of the Botanical Gardens are the usual displays. Anuenue enjoys the room of primeval plants, with large ferns.

There is even a room just for plants from Hawaii!

The Hawaii room has a small waterfall and native Hawaiian plants.

Next to the Hawaii room is the desert room, with lots of cacti.

Anuenue's favorite room is the Palm House, full of palm trees and tropical plants.

 In front of the gardens are carnivorous plants that are native to the midAtlantic, like these pitcher plants.

After leaving the Botanic Gardens, Anuenue heads over to the sculpture garden next to the National Gallery of Art. This Roy Lichtenstein House looks boring when you stand still, but is actually an optical illusion that changes when you walk past.

This large metal tree sculpture is fitting for the winter season as the sun sets.

After a long day, Anuenue heads home on the metro.

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