Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's all too Phun to make Puns about Philly

Today was our day to go out and tour Philadelphia to go get to know the city that we’ll be spending the next month in. We all enjoyed sleeping in a little bit, but we still did a lot during the day. We met downstairs in the hotel’s lobby and walked a few blocks looking for a restaurant. We unanimously agreed to eat breakfast at a classic American diner that looked straight out of the 50’s. I enjoyed the abundance of shiny chrome surfaces reflecting the slightly overcast morning light. I ordered an omelet with hash browns on the side, and within a couple of minutes I was savoring the delicious mix of eggs and potatoes in my mouth. After breakfast, we decided in lieu of a taxi to try out Philadelphia’s subway system. We found a subway station only a block or so away from the restaurant, and after some brief confusion on how to pay our fare and which train line to ride, we rode the subway downtown. The subway station that we exited our train at was located close to the restaurant we ate at last night. Although we already had our hearts set on a double-decker bus tour like the one we had in Washington, D.C. we decided to walk around the downtown area first. We took in a nice view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and Alex, Julia and Mr. Miranda enjoyed some frozen yogurt.

Our stroll downtown with the Franklin Bridge in the background

Soon, we walked over to the starting point for the tourist buses, and although there was one that still had room on the first floor, we decided to wait for the next bus so that we could ride on top. Our wait was definitely worth it because we got to enjoy great views of Philadelphia as well as the company of our tour guide. Our tour guide was great because he knew tons about Philadelphia, but also had a great sense of humor and was therefore very entertaining. Though there were literally dozens of cool things to see, I enjoyed seeing city hall again, as well as all of the places that Ben Franklin was involved with. We saw the firehouse Franklin founded the place where he allegedly discovered electricity, where the constitutional convention was held, and the university he founded-the University of Pennsylvania-. I’m looking forward to visiting the Franklin Institute which is a hands-on museum that set the bar for similar museums. One last fun thing that we saw on our tour was the Philadelphia Museum of Art which is famous for the shot in Rocky where Rocky runs up the steps.

Philadelphia City Hall


One area we lacked foresight in was forgetting to bring enough water with us on the bus. I brought one small bottle, and in the intense heat, it was gone in about 10 minutes. Therefore, as soon as we got off the bus, we headed straight to the nearest restaurant and ordered a round of ice water and soda. Our waiter was friendly, and we realized it was getting near lunchtime, so we decided to try out the restaurant’s lunch. I had an excellent dish of pasta with pesto sauce on it.

The cold soda in front of me took precedence over everything else at the time

Julia behind Art School gates

We decided to head back to the hotel for a little break from the heat and humidity. The air-conditioned room and soft bed were a little too comfortable, and soon I fell asleep for a couple of hours. Once I woke up, I was disoriented because I never nap during the day, so I thought it was already the 4th of July and that we needed to move in in a few hours. Alex got me back on track, and I soon adjusted to the fact that it was 7 P.M. not 7 A.M. Soon enough, we decided to head out for dinner. Even coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, I was impressed at the variety and density of restaurants in the area. Because Mr. Miranda had been letting us choose where to eat for the last couple of days, and knowing that he’s into food, we pushed him to decide where we should eat. He picked an Italian place that was only a few blocks away from our hotel. We were awarded for our faith in his restaurant choosing abilities, because the restaurant was excellent. While I was busy enjoying some bread and olive oil, I forgot that I had had pasta only a few hours earlier, and I ordered the cappellini pasta.

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