Woke up early to the sound of rain tapping on the window. Dark clouds meant I would have to start my day with some in door activities, not what I was hoping for on my trip but I still had not been to the Smithsonian museum yet. This seemed like the ideal day for museums! I bought an umbrella from the hotel shop and walked to Union station to take the bus to the National Mall. The Big bus hopon-hopoff bus service were giving free rain ponchos. So looking like a North Sea fisherman in a storm I marched into the Smithsonian Air and space museum. Although the museum seemed smaller than I expected and smaller than the science museum in London, it was very well presented and had a far superior display for space Exploration. The Wright Brother’s display of their first flying machine was also very well done and worth the visit on its own. I covered the whole museum in about 2 hours, although not in any level of detail but sufficient to get a good idea of the exhibits. The museum was very busy as everybody had the same idea as me to avoid the rain. After the Air and Space museum I left from the North exit in my glamorous plastic bin liner style poncho and crossed the National Mall to get to the Smithsonian Natural History museum.
I soon discovered that the dinosaur department was undergoing renovation so I had to make do with a visit to the insect department and the Geology department. The Geology section was amazing, it had the best collection of meteorites in the world. Especially the Allen Hills ALH84001 meteorite that caused that huge excitement in 2006 when scientists thought they had found microscopic fossils of alien bacteria from Mars from where the meteorite is believed to have come from. The explanation of planetary formation and geological processes were very well presented. The whole museum was quite enjoyable and inviting to just wander around and browse discovering all sorts of new and interesting information.
Suddenly as I passed a window I saw a glint of blue sky. The clouds had opened a gap and the rain had stopped. It was still early at 3 pm, which meant I could still get out and about DC before night fall. I left the museum and made my way to this yellow line bus stop outside the Ford Theatre, it was a long wait but eventually I was on my way atop a very crowded open top tour bus towards Georgetown. Traffic was very thick, so I made slow progress through the rush hour traffic. By the time I reached Georgetown it was too late to get off and find a restaurant for dinner, so I decided to stay on the bus and continue back Downtown. It was about 6 pm when I arrived near the Penn quarter and started heading directly to Bobby Van’s Steakhouse having decided that I was going to have a giant steak, not just a big steak but an American steak! I was apprehensive whether they would have a free table and whether they had a dress code that would exclude me. I needn’t have worried, I was welcomed straight in and given a table on which I ordered their biggest rib eye rare! After dinner, I walked all 17 blocks along the H street back to the hotel dragging my heavy stomach along with me and feeling very happy that I made the best of a day that started very wet.