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Thursday, February 23, 2006

And Now the Rest of the Story--Trip to Philadelphia, Part Tre

I got so caught up in my trip last week that I never shared the rest of the story. I enjoyed Philadelphia a great deal! It was a remarkable city! I did not like the fact that it was dirty, but I guess all cities are dirty to some degree. What I liked about the city outweighed the dirtiness, I assure you.

Friday I got up to rain. It was 54 degrees, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to do anything until after lunch, so I did the good teacher thing and attended part of the conference. I tried to go to a session, but because I got caught talking to a book rep about some upcoming technology for the classroom, I didn't make it. So, I loafed around a bit, went back to my room, watched some tv, and then came down for lunch. I also went to check on the ipod I had signed up to win (it was a silent auction and the price was good) and discovered that I had won the darn thing!

Lunchtime came, and my travelling companion and I decided to walk the six blocks to Independence Square. We also decided that we'd wait till we got there to eat. We wanted Philly Cheesesteaks, but we also wanted to eat inside. Lucky for us, we got to Independence Square before we were too hungry to care. At first we didn't know where to go for lunch, but then we found The Bourse. The Bourse originally housed a stock exchange, but was converted into a shopping area and food court. It was there that we found our Philly Cheesesteaks. All I can say is, "WOW!" We watched as they cooked the steaks and onions with the can of Cheese Whiz on one side of the grill staying hot, and then as they put our sandwiches together. I know some folk warned me about people behind the counter being rude, but I didn't find that to be the case here. If anything, the man behind the counter (I assumed he was the owner) was quite interested (especially in yours truly) and chatty. We talked for several minutes while our sandwiches were being prepared, and he was very curious about the South. It was a fun moment. The sandwich was to die for. Absolutely one of the best things I've ever eaten. So, if you're ever in Philadelphia, go to the Bourse, go through the revolving doors, and head straight toward the back of the building. I believe the place was called Rick's Philly Cheesesteaks. Yu-um!

After filling our bellies with Cheesesteaks and some of the best fries I've ever eaten, we headed out to see the Liberty Bell. It was like going through airport security. Before we could see the museum and the Bell, we had to be scanned, and so did our bags. I guess it's all part of that homeland security thing now. Anyway, we finally made it through and got to look at the museum. I love all the history, it gives you a real sense of why this is an important American icon. Then I laid eyes on it. All things considered, it's not that big of a deal. Really...I guess that's why I almost cried when I stood next to it. It was amazing. I wanted to touch it but couldn't, of course. It was broken, and the wood supporting it was obviously old, and in all that, it was one of the most moving things I would see that day. Took my breath away...

Once we were done paying homage to the Bell, we crossed the street to Independence Hall (also known as the Pennsylvania State House, thank you very much). Unfortunately, we were number 86 and 87 and ended up having to wait for thirty minutes to get inside. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except that the temperature was dropping outside. When we started at noon, the temperature was right at 54 degrees, but by this time, two hours later, it had dropped to a stiff 40 degrees. Fortunately, we met a family that was also waiting to get in, and we talked for the longest time. I also got to examine the statue of Washington and see a few other smaller things while waiting. I learned that Washington actually had a house right where the Liberty Bell stands now.

We got to see Independence Hall, finally. It was worth the wait. All I could think of is how much my dad would have loved the place. Even though most of the furniture is reproduction, it's still really cool to see. Also the flooring is cool. Yes, I look at the flooring. It was either pegged or put together with hand made nails. Very cool! All of the rooms were really small, and the furniture was too.

Finally, we spent our last half hour at the Franklin museum. It was so great. There was furniture from his house, comments by people from his period, and then, outside were the foundations of his house. I even got a look at his privy. I would have taken pictures there, but my battery died while I was on this excursion, so I have to deal with memories.

We left for the hotel at around 4 and it was 38 degrees outside. To say we were glad to see the Marriot was an understatement. Overall, the trip was well worth it. I learned a great deal, and I enjoyed what I experienced while I was there. I would love to go again!


  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger SDF said…

    Your trip sounds great! You'd make a wonderful tour guide. I bet Philly would look much prettier in the spring and summer.


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