Monday, March 4, 2019

Away for the holidays - Philadelphia - 1

The Philadelphia Bus Tour, what we did see

To start with, we first joined this tour at stop number 6.

We had to find it first and that meant some pedestrian navigation, which took us first to the City Hall, a rather imposing structure, which we found later had a profound effect on Philadelphia sports teams.

According to the map, stop number 6 is Reading Terminal Market, Convention Centre, on 12th street on Filbert.  This was where we bought the tickets and boarded the bus that had a rather interesting guide aboard.

His favorite says was “And we’re good to go.”

Soon we would discover that his commentary was more orientated towards a younger audience, not that it bothered us.

Given the time restraints, we had, this was always going to be about looking and learning.

Stop number 7

City hall, Love Park.

This we had seen on our walk from where we left the car at the Free Library, near the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Park, the landmark that Rebecca had remembered from her last visit to Philadelphia.  Of course, then, it was not quite so frozen.

Love park, of course, was only notable to us in that it had a sculpture in place with the word Love rather stylized.  Apart from that, you’d hardly know it as a park

The city hall, well, that was something else, and when we looked at it, before going on the tour, it was a rather magnificent stone edifice.

After, well the guide filled us in, tallest building, highest and largest monument on William Penn, you get the gist.  37 feet tall, when eclipsed, the Philly sports teams all suffered slumps of one kind or another, until the problem was rectified.  Interesting story.

Stop number 8

18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or Logan Circle

This is the location of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.  A place where the Pope decided to give an audience and sent the city into a spin.

The same church that has very high windows for the reason in the early days there was a problem with people wanting to throw Molotov cocktails through the windows.  A bit hard when they’re so high up.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway, of course, is interesting in itself as an avenue, not only for all of the flags of many nations of those who chose to live in Philadelphia.  We found ours, the one for Australia

This was also the stop where we needed to get off once the tour was finished, and time to head to the car, and go home, but that’s another story.

Stop number 10

Is that the stature of the Thinker, made famous, at least for me, from the old Dobie Gillis episodes, of God knows how many years ago?

Or, maybe it's just the Rodin Museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

There's a whole story to go with that Statue and the fact it is one of many all over the world.

This one was made in France, cast in 1919 in Bronze, and is approximately 200cm x 130 cm by 140cm.

Stop number 11

Eastern State Penitentiary.  NW corner of 22nd Street and Fairmont Avenue.

This had a rather interesting story attached to it and had something to do with ghosts, but I wasn’t listening properly to the guide's monologue.

But, later research shows, the fact it was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world.  Many also think it is haunted and is a favorite for visiting paranormal visitors.

Built around 1829, it was the first prison to have separate cells for prisoners.  It held, at various times, the likes of Al Capone and Willie Sutt

Stop number 18

The Philadelphia Museum of art, where we stop for a few minutes and look at the steps which were immortalized in the movie Rocky, yes he ran god knows how far to end up on the top of these steps.

Sorry, but I’m not that fit that I would attempt walking up them.  The view is just fine from inside the bus.  Of course, they might consider cleaning the windows a little so the view was clearer, but because it’s basically Perspex and scratched so that might not be possible.

Stop number 17

Back at Logan Circle, or Square if you prefer, but on the other side, closer to the Franklin Institute.  Benjamin Franklin’s name is used a lot in this city.

After that, it’s a blur, the Academy of Music, the University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Hospital, South Street, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the USS Olympia, Penn’s Landing and past the National Liberty Museum.  I’m sure somewhere in that blur was the intention of seeing the Liberty Bell, but I think I heard that it was not on show, and only a replica could be seen.

So much for the getting as opportunity to see the real liberty bell, crack and all..

We get off and stop number 27, or Number 1, I was not quite sure.

What were we after?  The definitive Philly Cheese Steak.

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