Touring like a Tourist

Touring like a Tourist

Throughout the past week I have been a bit of a tourist. I have actually started to feel as though I am a true resident of DC, but sometimes I walk so fast that I do not recognize the magnificence of what I am briskly passing by. As an intern/student I am constantly on the go, as my schedule keeps me consistently booked. Luckily, the offices of Congressman Yoho and Senator Rubio of Florida were able to accommodate my desire to tour just like a typical tourist. This past week I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of The Capitol and The White House. As I stood in line with people from all across the country I was reminded that deep down, I am just as excitable as the average DC tourist.

 

Initially, The White House seemed massive and ultra-secretive. The guest exit, although I could barely see it past the crowd of people, was completely closed off from the public and the rope was guarded by a few officers from the Secret Service. Despite being a tad bit intimidated, I presented my ticket that Senator Rubio's Office had secured for my visit and joined the long line. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and after making it through security and walking around the back, I entered The White House and was immediately astounded by the beauty and history that surrounded me. My eyes darted from portrait to portrait as our group continued to walk through each room on the first floor. My head was constantly tilted up as I stared in awe at all of the magnificent chandeliers. Unfortunately, all photography is prohibited inside of The White House, but luckily I have visual memories to last a lifetime, or at least until I can secure an invitation to an event when taking pictures is allowed. The tour was fascinating and by far the best view was from the Blue Room; as I stared through the window both the Washington Monument and The Capitol were in perfect view. This was the perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon!

 

 

The Office of Congressman Ted Yoho (FL) was able to accommodate my desire to see The Capitol from an insider's perspective as I attended a lovely private tour given by one of his legislative assistants. Instead of listing all of the typical historical facts that are basic knowledge about the different aspects of our nation's Capitol Building, our tour guide discussed with us a more contemporary view of the functionality of The Capitol's different sections. Although once we reached the Rotunda, I could not help but drop my jaw in awe of the ceiling:

 

 

Additionally, we were able to view the Old Supreme Court, which is far smaller than our present-day courtroom. However, the elaborate clock, chairs and decoration throughout the Old Supreme Court was quite impressive, as a most of the room had been preserved quite well. Next, we explored the Old Senate, which was dimly lit and closely guarded by The Capitol's security officers. Naturally, we felt that it was necessary to show our school pride while on such a cool tour of one of the most influential and monumental buildings in the country.

 

Thinking of everyone from USF, Go Bulls!

(And I suppose Go Gators as well...)

 

Later in the week I took a trip to the Russell Senate Building, which was quite a treat, as I was able to attend a meeting with two legislative aids. In hopes that there was no one around to judge my touristy desires, I felt that it was necessary to stand on the steps of the building's entrance, just as a memory of my first time in Russell. I'd like to think that it was definitely worth it!

 

 

In my opinion, being a tourist is pretty fun. Although I feel as though I have become an actual resident of this great District, some days I still feel like a tourist, and I truly enjoy seeing and experiencing everything that Washington, DC has to offer. These two incredible tours reminded me that being a part of The Washington Center has allowed me to not only intern and further my academic pursuits, but truly become acclimated to living in this historic city as well.

 

Until Next Time,

R.A.S.

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