Adventure in Philadelphia Part 2

Posted: 21 February 2017 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Chinatown Friendship Gate

Day 2

The weather today was much better, but I was still not feeling that great. We woke up late thus missing breakfast and really didn’t make the greatest effort to leave early. We still had a few snacks from when we left the day before, so we ate those, got some coffee (and tea) from the lobby, got ready, and then left.

Dragon.pngToday we made a huge attempt to see as much as possible. And boy was there a lot to see. Our hotel was located right next to Philly’s Chinatown, so we got to walk through it to get to the Old City. In the picture at the top, you can see the Chinatown Friendship Gate. It marks the entrance to Chinatown and is very beautiful. A short distance away are also some bronze dragon statues. My boyfriend loves dragons and since I had seem them from the bus on the first day I knew we needed to find them. He thinks they look more like horses than dragons, so oh well.

Before long, we arrived at our destination: the Independence Visitor Center. Here you can find pretty much all the information you need about what there is to see, do, and eat in Philly. Besides grabbing a couple maps, our main purpose going there was to get tickets for Independence Hall. Under normal circumstances, you must get tickets with an allotted time to visit Independence Hall (which are FREE!!!), but since we came during a time of year when not many tourists visit we didn’t need any.

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Independence Visitor Center

Directly across the street to the south of the visitor center is the remains of the President’s House. While there is not much left but a few walls, this building has had quite an important history. It was the first ‘White House’, and was also where Benedict Arnold (the infamous traitor) corresponded with the British. It is cool to see, but other than taking a few pictures and reading some placards you won’t need to stay there long. One thing I liked was that there is some excavation at the back of the ruins with a layout of how the site once looked. That kind of stuff always fascinates me.

In the building south of the President’s House is the iconic Liberty Bell. It was so cool seeing such a significant symbol of our nation. The cracked national icon is one we learn about early on in high school and has even been featured on our coins (like the .50 cent piece and silver dollar). It is definitely a must-see when visiting this historical city.

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Liberty Bell

The bell is located near the southern part of the visitor center. It is guarded and out in the open where you can stand within a couple feet of it. The nice thing about being there in January is that there was literally almost no one there. I was actually able to get a clear shot of it without having to wait for people to move!!! As we were standing there, a person asked the guard a question to which she replied that this was indeed the actual bell, not a replica. Pretty cool.

From there we crossed the street to the south to go tour Independence Hall. Like pretty much all the major sites in the Old City, you have to go through security. It is exactly like going through TSA at the airport. Except you don’t always have to take your shoes off. Thankfully. There are six buildings on the plot. The only three of significance are the Independence Hall, Old City Hall, and the Philosophical Hall, which the only one available for us to go in to was Independence Hall. We waited by the front door of the building for the tour, which runs around every 20-30 minutes. Inside, they give you a glimpse of what happened leading to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It was pretty cool being in the room where this nation was officially born. It is amazing to think about what they were willing to sacrifice to ensure freedom for themselves and all their countrymen (well most of them at any rate). Considering what we know and the world today, I wonder how many of us would be willing to do the same.

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Second Bank of the US

After there, we went east across the street. I got pictures of the American Philosophical Society building, and the Second Bank of the US. What I liked about both the Second and the First Bank (which is a short distance away from the Second) is the pillars and how much both buildings look like Greek temples. I really can’t wait to go to Greece and see the real things!!!

A little further east from the Second Bank is the Carpenter’s Historic Hall. To get to the building, you have to walk down this old, small road. I love seeing the size of the roads of that time. Reminds of living in Europe. So the Carpenter’s Hall is the original site for the oldest guild in the USA (300 years in 1724). Pretty cool right? It currently has around 200 members. Definitely worth a quick stop by to check out.

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Beck’s Cajun Cafe in Reading Terminal Market

Across some grass next to the hall is the First Bank of the United States. I really wanted to go in, but it didn’t look open (despite not being 5 yet) so I just took a picture instead. We were in dire need of something hot (and a toilet) so we walked up the street to the nearest Starbucks (don’t judge me), which is also across the street from Betsy Ross House.

The last part of the day was spent eating. As we’d been walking around all day and hadn’t really had much to eat, we were tired, cold, and starving. We decided to check out the Reading Terminal Market. It is such a visual feast. There are so many delicious looking places to eat. It was really hard to choose, but we opted for a place called Beck’s Cajun Cafe. It was phenomenal!!! Jeffry had the gator gumbo and I had the jambalaya and we split the fried mac and cheese. I highly recommend eating there. We then walked around and found a place selling cookies for $1 each!!! It was because it was the end of the day, but still.

For the remainder of the day, we relaxed in our room watching tv until we decided to go get dinner. We decided on burgers and found a wonderful place called Burgerfi nearby. We both got the Breakfast All Day Burger and goodness it was delicious. I had no idea it was a franchise so you can possibly find it close to whether you are (if you are in the USA). I definitely recommend it.

After our nice dinner, we were surprised to discover a protest had been going on just down the street from where we were eating. Kinda crazy. We checked it out for a minute, but then went back to the hotel and ate cookies. A nice ending to a nice day 🙂

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