“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharal Nehru

Monday, September 5, 2011

The City of Brotherly Love

Nick and I took an overnight trip to Philadelphia for the long Labor Day weekend. We wanted to get out of the city for a little bit. Philadelphia is only an hour and a half train ride from the city so it made for a great overnight trip.

We arrived Saturday morning at 10:30. We went straight to our hotel... luckily they had a room ready. So we dropped our bags off and headed out into the city. We had booked a walking tour that showed us the majority of the historical sites in just over an hour. Since we were only there for such a short period of time we figured it was the best way to see the sites.

Our tour guide was really great and super knowledgeable about everything. I learned quite a bit or I re-learned what I was taught in school! For example, I didn't know or forgot Philadelphia was the capitol of the U.S. before Washington, D.C., I learned that the Liberty Bell is not the original bell - it's actually the third bell made, I learned about where the concept of "I'm American" came from, and all sorts of other interesting facts.

The tour was really fascinating... we thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll show some of the pictures we took and include some information about what our tour guide told us:

In front of the Declaration house.. where the Constitution was signed! The house was a replica. The original house was destroyed.

There was a sidewalk called "The Signers" It had plaques of all the men who signed the Decleration of Independence. Apparently a few years ago someone stole John Hancock's face. They haven't replaced it yet.

Nick in front of Washington's statue

Original brick - 200+ years old. The black checkered pattern is known as the colonial style.

Benjamin Franklin's grave. You throw a penny on the grave and it's supposed to bring you luck. Franklin famously said "a penny saved is a penny earned".

Nick and I at Elfreth's Alley.. this area dates back to the 18th century and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential street.

After our tour we decided we had to try a Philly cheesesteak. It's a must in Philly. We went to a placed called Jim's Steak on South Street. By the time we walked there it was about 2pm and we were starving. We were not prepared for the line that greeted us. It was around the block! But, Nick said we had to do it. I was seriously considering the nice Mexican restaurant across the street. But secretly I wanted to try a cheesesteak too! So we waited. It's like a well oiled machine... sandwich after sandwich. About the time we ordered we had waited for 50 minutes. I kept thinking this better be worth it! And it was! We ordered one with provolone cheese and one with cheese whiz. They were both good but I think we both decided the cheese whiz was the best! Another thing to mark off the bucket list.

The very long line!


After lunch we grabbed a cab and headed to Eastern State Penitentiary. When I initially told Nick about this he wasn't too thrilled. I knew about it because of all the haunted places TV shows I've seen. A lot of shows have visited because it's apparently haunted. But that's not the only reason I wanted to go... it has a lot of history. It opened in 1829 and was the worlds first "true" penitentiary.

We were given self guided headsets and the guy who spoke on the audio was Steve Buscemi. Pretty fitting. It really was fascinating. Years and years of history in the place. It had a eerie sort of feeling in certain places. It was pretty dilapidated. Here are some of the pictures we took with some interesting facts:

Inside the grounds

Typical cell

Hospital Wing

On the second level

I joked with Nick that we had a "spirit" enter this picture - see the black shadow at the bottom left corner.... you never know!

Al Capone's Cell

Once we finished we headed to Rittenhouse square and relaxed while eating gelato! Much deserved after a lot of walking. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night. We headed to a bar to have some drinks before our dinner reservations at Amada. Amada is a tapas bar and apparently is pretty popular.

We had reservations at 8:45... now, I believe when you have dinner reservations you should be seated shortly to that time. 5-10 minutes after the reservation time is acceptable but after that I start to get a little frustrated. Nick, however, believes with such a popular restaurant it's expected to be like that. I did not agree... I wanted him to go check but he didn't want to "annoy" the hostess. We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation. We were sat in a really cool area but the only negative was we were right by a vent and it was actually pretty cold. We asked for another table but they didn't have anything and we didn't want to wait for one to open up. We were pretty hungry. We got off to a rough start but the food was amazing!

We had garlic shrimp, a cheese-cherry dish, ham croquettes, shrimp flat-bread, steak flat-bread, and this chichen-broiled egg dish that was literally to die for. I mean amazing... I absolutely love the idea of tapas. Small portions of all different kinds of food! It was so good I forgot to get the camera out!

Needless to say once we returned to the hotel we passed out! It was a long and fantastic day!

The next day we saw the Liberty Bell up close and walked a long the water and saw some really cool ships. We had a nice brunch and then headed to the train station to make our way back home.

Liberty Bell (which is actually the 3rd bell - the first and second were melted down after they broke to create this one)

Nick in front of a torpedo!

Such a great trip! We loved the City of Brotherly Love!

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