Although wary after the long walk to Capito Hill, a mound crowned by the impressive Congress building almost as big as the “Palais de Justice” in Brussels, I mustered the remaining energy to visit the edifice. Among hundreds and hundreds of fellow visitors, mostly Americans, the guides shepherded us with commendable efficiency around the premises. We were allowed to visit the huge room under the cupola, as well as the former Hall of Representatives. I was pleasantly surprised by the building, as well as by the guiding organisation, both of them to be copied, as soon as possible, by the European institutions.
Having said this, the whole inner city of Washington DC exhibits an air of subtle elegance that is, to my regret, completely missing in the capital of Europe. It could be that it takes hundreds of years of painful piling, stone upon stone, to get the desired effect, rather than piling concrete like elephant dump on suffering neighborhoods, as they do it in Brussels. To compare, the Congress building was finished first in 1886, some 90 years after the building started. The European Parliament was rushed through (with only scant planning) within 15 years. Not to speak about the Commission building that is still showing its disgrace, despite 15 years of refurbishing. Fortunately, none of the European buildings are set in stone, as the Washington buildings are, so they could easily be replaced once Europe would get its act together.