Friday, 31 August 2012

Philadelphia - Fabulous Philly!

I was very excited to arrive in Philadelphia. Another iconic city with lots of attractions and so much history.

Another reason I was looking forward to visiting is because we had arranged to meet up with an old friend who I went to school with. He'd moved to Philadelphia after graduating high school on a soccer scholarship and was now coaching soccer.

He recommended that we stay in the Old City and it was a perfect location! Philadelphia is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania and it was founded in 1682 by William Penn.

With all of this amazing history on our doorstep, we headed out to explore. We first went to Independence Hall which is situated in the Independence National Historical Park which is where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

An attractive red brick building, it was fascinating to wander around and soak in the atmosphere and amazing history associated with this building.

Next, we went to see the Liberty Bell at the Liberty Bell Center. There is a distinctive crack in the bell from when it cracked when first being rung after arrival in Philadelphia.

Whilst viewing the bell, we bumped into a fellow tourist, a lovely Australian guy called Luke. He asked where we were headed and we told him we wanted to try a famous Philly cheese steak so he asked if he could join us as he was travelling alone. Of course we were more than happy for him to join us as thats one of the best things about travelling, meeting interesting people and sharing stories!

We all set off to South Philadelphia as this is where we'd heard the famous rival cheesesteak vendors were located. Geno's and Pat's King of Steaks are sitiated directly across the street from each other at the intersection of South 9th Street. As we were walking towards them, several people in cars shouted at us to go to Pat's rather than Geno's. We decided to take the advice and it was delicious! A Philly cheesesteak is a sandwich made with thinly sliced steak and cheese in a roll and definitely moreish!

After our busy day of history and cheese steak eating, we met up with my friend for dinner and drinks. We had a great evening catching up and arranged to meet the following evening as he had to work the next day.

The next day we headed to Philadelphia zoo in the morning. Located on the west bank of the river, the zoo is the oldest in the USA. The zoo is large and at 42 acres we spent hours wandering around and admiring all the beautiful animals. I was so impressed by this zoo and it is the best one I have ever been to. There is a Rare Animal Conservation Centre, a Reptile House, Big Cat Falls and African Plains. I wholeheartedly recommend a visit.

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to the Museum of Art which is one of the largest art museums in the US. The paintings and collections were equisite and being far from an art aficionado (in fact this was the first art museum I had ever visited), it was very impressive.

The museum is also known for featuring in the 'Rocky' movies, and I just had to run up those steps like Rocky does!

A bronze statue of Rocky was originally placed at the top of the steps for filming purposes and later moved. The views of the city skyline from the top of the steps is breathtaking.

After a hectic but very enjoyable day, we met up with my friend again and he suggested an evening out in a suburb called Manayunk. It was a great evening and so nice to explore somewhere away from the tourist areas and somewhere we would not have even known existed if it weren't for my friend.

Another fabulous city that I would love to return to one day!

We stayed at Comfort Inn Downtown/Historic Area (100 N. Chris. Columbus Boulevard) which was great and I would recommend it.

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