Ok, the first part of this post is for foodies, so be prepared.
We have been waiting to get to Philadelphia so we could have an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. We had heard that there are two places to get the best Philly Cheesesteak – Pat’s and Geno’s which are caddy corner from each other. Here is Wikipedia’s definition – a sandwich made from thinly-sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long roll. What we learned is that an official sandwich is made with white American cheese and onions are added. So, why all the other places in the country always serve peppers on this sandwich is a mystery to us. We got one sandwich from each place to do a taste test and Geno’s won. So, if you are ever in Philadelphia you know where to go for a great sandwich.
Christopher and Amanda’s apartment is a mere block and a half from Reading Terminal Market which is an enclosed public market with over one hundred merchants. This place sells everything you would think a market would – fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, etc., but it also has some great restaurants. We ate there three times and the last time we did a food crawl so we could try a lot of different things. A few highlights – Dinic’s has an outstanding pulled pork sandwich (not like Southern pulled pork) – which we knew to get because it had been featured on a Travel Channel show. Don also said he had the best andouille sausage and rice dish he had tasted outside of New Orleans from Beck’s. There was also the Olympian which had an outstanding gyro. We definitely recommend this as a stop.
The next picture shows the gateway to Chinatown. This is a half a block the other way from Christopher and Amanda’s apartment. They have an outstanding location!
The next picture might seem kind of strange, but it has an interesting story. Don and I saw this boat from a distance several times from the highway. We wondered what it was, but did not investigate it. We had to meet Christopher and Amanda at Ikea and we pull up in the parking lot, look across the street and there is the boat. Don says to me “I know what that ship is. That is the ship my mother sailed on when she came to America from Germany.” That was way too coincidental. The name of the boat is SS United States and it was a luxury passenger liner built in 1952 and designed to capture the trans-Atlantic speed record. It did capture the record and still holds it today – 3 days, 12 hours and 12 minutes. As you can tell it needs to be refurbished, but there is a group working on this.
We also went to the Helium Comedy Club to watch the graduates from a comedy class perform. We think we were the only ones there that were not friends or family of one of the performers. It was an interesting afternoon and who knows, maybe we saw the next great stand-up comic.
We spent some time walking around downtown Philadelphia. Here are what the next few pictures show:
Love Park is a plaza located in Center City and is nicknamed Love Park for Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture which overlooks the plaza.
Philadelphia City Hall, at 548 ft, including the statue of city founder William Penn atop it, is the world’s tallest masonry building. The weight of the building is borne by granite and brick walls up to 22 ft thick. It is a huge building and absolutely beautiful. This is the building that is in the cool reflection picture too.
The Masonic Temple, built in 1873, is a historic Masonic building, and serves as the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Free and Accepted Masons.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. Formerly placed in the steeple of Independence Hall, the bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, and was cast with the lettering (part of Leviticus 25:10) “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” It originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations. Bells were rung to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776, and while there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung.
Independence Hall is known primarily as the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitutionwere debated and adopted. It became the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783 and was the site of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. We thought the next to the last picture was interesting because it shows how Philadelphia has built around this historic building.