Luckily, my meetings on Wednesday were in a government building close to the Smithsonian, so after I wrapped up, I walked over to the Mall.

Congress, via flickr

The National Air and Space Museum was completely nuts: hundreds of people were waiting to get in.

via flickr

So I went over to the National Gallery, which was much less crowded.

In front of the National Gallery of Art, via flickr

I spent some time with the Rembrandts and some other Dutch Masters, then ducked down to the ground floor to an exhibit of 19th century photographs of Paris. (When I was working at Britannica, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago every couple days, and discovered that I got a lot more out of each visit if I just focused on one room, or a few pieces of art– Impressionist crowd paintings, or Wright’s decorative windows.)

Then I caught the Metro back out to western Viriginia, promptly fell asleep, missed the West Falls Church stop (where you get off to catch the Dulles Airport shuttle), and had to double back. Fortunately, my flight wasn’t scheduled to leave for another three hours or so, so I was all right.

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