Art and KnowledgePosted: 23/01/2013
It has been perishingly cold here today. It’s been below 0 most days, and we’re pretty good with cold weather, living as we do in a house which habitually rests at about 14-16 degrees C, but even we have struggled with being outside today. After yesterday’s balmy 7 degrees, the wind-chill today has made you feel like your ears are going to fall off! I have been more than usually grateful for my cosy coat, my extremely woolly scarf, my double-layer gloves and my hardy boots.
After the robust affair that was last night’s dinner, we started small with breakfast today … just pastries and tea (or coffee in Phil’s case). Unlike almost all the other food we’ve had, they were unremarkable to say the least … but enough to set us on our way.
Given the weather, we fairly quickly found ourselves inside the National Gallery of Art. Art galleries are not usually a first on our list of holiday “musts”, for reasons which will be self-evident I think, but it must be said that the NGA is a stunning place. Phil spent a happy couple of hours perusing Rembrants, Degars, Turners and Renoirs while I took advantage of the many strategically-placed sofas. I did spend one particularly long spell dozing on a sofa in front of Reubens’ Daniel in the Lions Den, only to discover that the reason for said long stay was that Phil had forgotten where he’d left me! In fairness, the place is a maze
Having exhausted our appetite for art, we stumbled across the restaurant, which just happened to do an all-you-can-eat buffet for 20 dollars a head. Yes of course we went for it! And it was glorious! So much about what we love of American food is the good old trusty stodge – the hamburgers, the steaks, the pancakes, the pecan wonderments etc – and because we love them, they are what we often eat. But it means you miss out on the slightly more refined foods … excellent ingredients cooked in an interesting and exquisite way. Well, that buffet was just that … beautiful food, but a cut above the trusty diner fayre we often opt for. There were local hard cheeses, pickled walnuts, freshly-baked biscuits (i.e. scones), lovely meat stews, deliciously-prepared root vegetables and salads, and a pecan tart to finish with. Oh Heaven on a plate!
Full of food and good cheer, we headed next to the Library of Congress. Much like art, libraries do not necessarily feature high on our list of places to visit for fun, but we have a librarian in in our Broad Street family so we consider it a sacred responsibility to visit the world’s famous libraries when we happen to be passing. And anyone who knows even the tiniest amount about libraries knows that the Library of Congress is a pretty important one! We paid suitable homage … walking around it singing the praises of systems of classification and date-stamps etc
Actually, it is also a stunning building. Maybe people would read more if all libraries were that breathtaking.
After that, we dropped by Union Station, because train stations are great, much like libraries, but then we had to make an early retreat to the hotel because of the cold, so the evening has been spent working, drinking Starbucks and keeping warm