Sunday, June 19, 2005

Washington DC

Too bad - I had over five hours to kill and all tours from Union Station were sold out; the kind where you are driven around to view the historic sights (sites). One seemed particularly interesting, DC Ducks, in an amphibian duck on land and sea (river). A guy told me it was great, as he was disembarking. I'd like to take that one.

Sitting in the train station right now. I have been wandering in here for over two hours, and I am tired. This place is humongous - larger than Chicago (Union Station). Pretty amazing. The Main Hall, where I am sitting, has a fabulous vaulted barrel ceiling with a stepped hexagon design, off white with gold centers, and other gold trim.

There are huge arched windows with crossed lattice between panes, over the entrances from the street and to other parts of the terminal. Large statues of Roman soldiers stand on the pediments high above the pillars, gazing out over the Concourse below.

I have to check out the East Hall, near where I am sitting - seems very ornate from here.

The floor has large white travertine marble squares with deep blood-red small marble squares set on the diagonal between them here in the Main Hall. There is a "Center Cafe" in the middle of the floor, a circular restaurant on posts, up a curving flight of stairs. The bar is under the cafe, and there is also seating on the floor all around it. The cafe is an open affair, with a railing all around. The metal spindles of the railing have a ball near the top of them, creating a very interesting design.

The other huge section of this station is of the same architecture - same barrel vaulted ceiling, with wonderful curving stairs to various levels. The stairs to these levels have the same ball design railings, creating a tremendously pleasing effect.

There are interesting stores throughout; a very classy place, and the atmosphere is a mix of the bustle of people trying to catch trains, tourists deciding what to do, and a couple of hours ago there was a concert right where I am sitting. I heard part of it.

There are restaurants everywhere; on balconies, on the lower level (food court), all price ranges - some classy - some not. A movie theatre on the lower level near the food court is there for those who really want to kick back and do nothing. You don't have to leave the station to be entertained.

The newer section at the gates is an extension of the design of the old section. The triangular pattern of cross bars of the windows in the barrel ceiling and arched windows is repeated in the new section, where tubular steel supports in a triangular pattern hold up the roof, including the vaulted glass roof section. The glass roof contributes to an open, airy feeling.

I finally checked out the East Hall at one point. It is decorated with an Egyptian theme, very ornate and interesting. There are shops in that area, also.

It is time to board my train. Even though I have found plenty of things to keep me occupied, including eating, I still have been disturbed by the fact that I did not go see the National Gallery of Art, or some other place, or ride around. Just not enough time for most things, however, especially the Art Gallery. Another time---


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