Saturday, May 2, 2009

Philadelphia Starbucks (May 2, 2009)

Twitter is a new craze I have developed. The last few tweets have been - I am tired, I am dead tired and so on. You get my flow?

It has been a pretty good trip so far. I landed up in Philadelphia at around 9.15 am. The bus stop was near the Amtrak station on 30th and Market St. I had a bit of a walk to get to the area I had planned to visit which was Independence Park. The walk was quite nice as I passed through the towers of Philadelphia downtown which although were few in number, were quite commanding.

Also I passed through the Old City Hall which is an imposing building and a nice photo op.

Ultimately a 20 minute walk landed me at Independence Park. First I visited the Independence Visitor Center from where you can get free tickets for the Independence Hall, where the US Declaration of Independence was signed. You need to get this ticket else you cannot take the tour. Once this was done I went to the Hall and as I had some time to kill looked up the nearby buildings.

There was the Congress Hall which also had a short tour for free and a building called the Great Essential Exhibit. This contains one of the copies of the Declaration of Independence and it is a pretty cool thing. It feels like I was acting in a National Treasure movie.

I then took the Independence Hall tour which took us on a 15 minute walk through the hall. My final stop before lunch was the Liberty Bell exhibit. This is next to the Independence Hall and I really wanted to see this. Again a free entry and I was standing right next to the bell. It was quite impressive to look at and it was quite a reverent sight.

By then I was hungry and I was all set to eat the Philly special – either the Pork Roast or the Cheesesteak. I had looked up a place called John’s Pork Roast which was a 40 minute walk from Independence Park. I made the walk only to realize that the stupid place was closed on weekends. All that walking for nothing!!!

There was a subway opposite it, so I ate the cheesesteak there. Although you can’t call this an authentic Philadelphia experience, I was in no mood to walk somewhere else.

The walk back was another tiring one and I pretty much crashed on a bench at Independence Square which is right behind the Hall.

After a brief respite I walked to Franklin Court (Ben Franklin’s House), Betsy Ross House (The lady who made the first US flag) and Elfreth Alley (America’s oldest residential street). I did not spend too much time at these places as I already had my fill of history. Once all this was done I landed here and decided to recharge my laptop and my iPhone both of which seem to run out of batteries almost in no time at all, while sipping on a Chai latte.

I have one last walk to make and this is to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or more importantly to the steps in front of this also called as Rocky Steps. The movie Rocky was shot here and the famous scene of Sly Stallone running up the stairs and jumping in the air was filmed right here.

This should mark an end to a pretty uneventful and calming trip of Philadelphia. The rain has luckily not been too heavy and I have seen sufficient places to say that this trip was worth every penny I paid.

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