Passing through Philadelphia 2011

Posted: May 15, 2012 in Travel

Like a knife through cheese? For some odd reason we thought we may not need a full week in Washington – duh?- so organised for a day trip from Washington on the train to Philadelphia to see why the cheese was so damn creamy. Apparently it played a fair role in American history but that is not as well known as its cheese. The other interest for me personally was to try and track down Smokin Joes gym. I had recently watched the rather excellent Thrilla in Manila doco which for a change had told the story more from Joe’s point of view and had recent interviews with a still proud still bitter man. Alas it was not to be on this short trip but we did come across that other “boxer”

Off the Acela Express and straight to The Liberty Bell which is not all its cracked up to be. Get it?? This was located next to The President’s House where George and John lived for a time ( Paul and Ringo were around the corner apparently). It appears that they also had trouble with Builders Unions back then as it definitely had an unfinished feel about it.
Given the limited time we had a 2 hour bus tour around the city to see the sights seemed like a good idea. So we bought our ticket and while waiting the 10 minutes ducked around the corner to have a gander at Ben’s grave site. Struck by lightning apparently – who would have thought eh?

So off we went on our bus tour and while the city is steeped in history there are not the recognisable land marks of a Washington or NYC. It is still an impressive skyline though with Liberty Place (bearing a striking resemblance to the Chrylser Building)and City Hall standing out.There was some brotherly love to share around and some rather impressive murals on the side of buildings. The tour guide was suitably knowledgeable and the part this burgh played in American history was impressive but where was that damn cheese factory??

So anyway it was time for a break and a bit of morning tea before the “higlight of the tour” ?? The 3 raw eggs served up should have been the clue. As we rounded the corner and approached the Museum of Art it all came flooding back to me. I hate museums – if I want to see something ancient but well preserved I need to look no further than the mirror in the morning. However out of the corner of my eye I saw Sylvester Stallone giving some acting lessons. It took me 5 minutes to realise it was only a statue so reminiscent of his acting skills it was. The tear running down my eye convinced Bob the Bus Driver this was a photo opportunity not to be missed and he gladly pulled over. So I ran up the first 2 steps and promptly threw up the raw eggs – who knew you had to shell them first?

Back on the bus and a trip around Penn’s Landing which was about as thrilling as it sounds before heading back to the station for the trip back to Washington. So the eternal hunt for the famous Philadelphia Cream Cheese ended up much like the Monty Python sketch.

We could never do this city justice in the short time we spent there but our aim on this holiday was to see as many different US cities as we could in our short month but the focus was clearly on NYC and Washington. We were surprised at the significant role that Philadelphia played in the American Revolution. Much like the subway system the intercity trains run well although we were spoilt with our first Acela Express ride which was first class from NYC to Washington – no rail trip after quite lived up to that. Now we had to experience internal USA flights. Next stop – Bawston.

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