I awoke on Saturday, July 5th 2008 morning in my hotel room in Washington DC. My Birthday. 31. As I was getting ready in the morning, I saw on the dresser beside my bed a happy birthday note from my girlfriend. I tore it from the notepad and stored it away in my suitcase. I went to her house and picked Mylene up for the days activities. I had already planned out the evening. But the day was basically open.
She wanted to go to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Facts about this temple from the wiki page include it being the largest Catholic church in the US, the eighth largest religious structure in the world, and even the tallest building in DC. There are 70 individual chapels within this one building. In my own words: it’s freaking huge. Me being not very religious, and definitely not Catholic, I was more interested in the idea of such as big ass building, seemingly inlaid with gold and various shiny things throughout. Ever nook and cranny seemingly has a little church, complete with altar, pews, and artwork on glass and or inlaid in the walls, floor, and ceiling. It is hard to convey the size of the main worship area, but this image gives a good example. Notice you can not see the ceiling. In the back above the pews is an enormous pipe organ. In front of the pews is a large ceremonial area I guess. To the left and right of the pews is a walkway, which connects to numerous other rooms that have their own chapel.
Then we went downstairs.
Downstairs is the crypt. The crypt is a large area with walls covered in names of people who I assume passed away and paid to have their name put up there. In the crypt, there are also numerous small chapels, and then one really large chapel. In the back was another larger pipe organ. They were doing a ceremony in there so we did not walk around much.
I created a Photosynth of the church. I suggest clicking on Grid view to get to different sections of the church, and then switch back to 3D view to navigate. Not all of the images meld together, so a full walk through can’t be completed, only due to that I did not take a picture of every single wall and area. But clicking the Grid view and choosing a new part, then 3D will give you another area to tour. There’s plenty of pictures of this place on my flickr you may enjoy if you’re into the church thing.
Afterwards, she found the way to the nearest metro station where we did the park and ride. I figured we’d be abandoning the vehicle here for the night so I got all my belongings.
We decided to go towards food while wasting some time until my evening plans. We got off the metro and went into the National Portrait Gallery. There’s paintings and photographs of American history and the people involved. Lots of famous paintings of each president here.