Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Philadelphia: the birthplace of the United States.

We left freezing New York for a sunny, if mild, Philly. This whole trip the accommodation has been a bit all over the place. In Philly we booked into a hostel - the Green Apple - and stayed in a dorm. We quickly found ourselves in a group of two Aussies, a Brit and a German - sounds like the beginning of a bad joke!

The first night the hostel hosted Movie Night replete with free beer and Philadelphia themed films. Rocky was the second one, a film I hadn't seen before, and a plan quickly formed to go to the 'Rocky steps' the next day. These are actually the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We did some classy poses then raced up the 72 steps. I didn't win but I claim it was because of my jandals! (Also known as flipflops or thongs depending on your nationality.)

The view from the top!
Ready... Set...

It's on!

On the way home we were a little more cultural, visiting Rodin's 'Thinker' with more classy poses and checking out the amazing town hall building.

 The town hall.

Bell tower

There were some random other sculptures too.

We even stumbled across the New Zealand flag though it was looking a little sad.

The aisle of all the countries.

That afternoon it was back out for a look at the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence severed the British ties.

The famous bell with it's crack.

Our guide for Independence Hall

The room where they held court

The room where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed. Washington sat in the chair at the head of the room.

Another important room - mainly the eagle above cracks me up.

The actual ink well used in the signing.

Mum was exited to stand where JFK once did.
In the evening our hostel put on a ghost tour - spooky! We walked around the city and had various supernatural spots pointed out. We started off with a building that was used in Ghostbusters. We moved on to a building that used to be a bank of some kind. A beggar uses to hang outside and entertain people with songs and jokes , he also befriended a local horse. One day on of the bankers lost a lot of money, in his rage he hit the beggar. A lot. With a cane. Until he died. Talk about a sore loser. Karma was swift though and the friendly horse was suddenly not so friendly and kicked him, killing him too. Apparently ghostly hoofbeats can be heard on quiet nights.

Ghostbuster apartment.

Then there was the surgeon who didn't think he had enough light inside so took his patients to the garden to operate - the faint screams can still be heard over the fence.

Dr. Physick

Our guide.

The surgeon's garden
We also passed a couple of churches, one where British soldiers uses the gravestones for target practice during the War for Independence, and the other where many children died from yellow fever which is currently, creepily, a childcare centre... called Little Angels.

The first United States' flag - 13 stars for 13 states.
On the return trip we passed the 'moon tree', - a sycamore seed that was taken to the moon on Apollo XIV and planted in 1975 but has hardly grown - it's less than 2m (7 ft) tall!

After the ghost tour Ghostbusters was an obligatory watch! And the next day we headed on to Washington DC.

Before we caught the bus however, we discovered the Chemical Heritage Museum - science nerd Nina was in heaven!

Something I do have to add about Philly is that they know they're the birthplace of the States. Liberty, Democracy, Freedom and flags were everywhere (though the latter's fairly standard for the States). This was amusing to me in a clich├ęd way, especially as NZ's patriotism is so subtle you'd be forgiven for not noticing it at all!


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