Washington D.C. Trip – Day 5

I got up early this morning in order to get over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to line up for tickets for the tour. I was the second person in line and so got my choice of tours once they opened. After that I hustled over to the Washington Monument‘s line and waited for them to open. Luck was with me because I managed to get a ticket for that one as well. After that I popped over to the Smithsonian Castle for a little breakfast and then got in line for the BEP tour.

The BEP tour was short but very interesting. The printing lines were in operation and the people working down below us were waving at the tours as we went by. It was fascinating to see paper money actually being made. Once the tour is over you’re routed through the gift shop (of course) and I picked up a couple things. I had wanted to pick up a couple uncut sheets of currency but carrying them home might be problematic so I’ll be ordering them on-line.

After getting out of the BEP I went over to the Holocaust Memorial and got a ticket for the permanent exhibit and then went over to the cafe for lunch. Security was tight at both the Memorial and cafe. Lunch eaten, I headed in to see the exhibit. It’s a very powerful, moving experience. I’ve seen some of it before, watching the History Channel as much as I do, but seeing it all in one place it really hit home. I’ve got my own feelings about what happened and why, but that’s a discussion for another time. Go, see the exhibit, and think about what you’ve seen.

I got out of the Holocaust Memorial with some extra time before the time slot for the trip to the top of the Washington Monument so I went over to the Sackler Gallery to see some more Mughal albums and Chinese bronzes. Afterwards I went over to the Washington Monument to get in line for my trip to the top.

The elevator ride up was just an elevator ride, though we did have a Park Ranger talking about some of the history of the monument and what we’d see when we got up to the top. Finally up there I can say that the view was impressive. I could see and got good photos of The Capitol, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, The White House, and the Smithsonian Castle. The trip down was interesting because the elevator windows were made transparent every so often to see some of the stones placed on the inside by different states, cities, groups, and people.

That was the end of the day, save dinner, which was shepherd’s pie at the local Irish pub.