Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Thinking and Getting Inspired in Philly! OLA:Pennsylvania, Part 2

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thinking and Getting Inspired in Philly! OLA:Pennsylvania, Part 2

inspired by Rocky at the Philadelphia Art Museum whose steps he used to train and finally win!
Ann and Carol ready to train at Rocky's Steps 
In Hershey, Pennsylvania we became children. In Pittsburgh we were charmed by the former steel capital of the world. But Philly…Philly is special! Rodin’s masterpiece, the Thinker, sits pensive right before you reach the Philadelphia Art Museum, on whose steps Rocky trained to win (a Rocky Statue is at the ground level).  And all around downtown are many reminders that make one think of the greatness of this nation, its history, and its early leaders. One will surely get inspired with fervor!
Thinking with The Thinker, Rodin's masterpiece
The Walking Tour

Liberty Bell, world's symbol of freedom
with the Independence Hall at the background
My American education was most intense in the 2 days we spent in Philly, one by ourselves, and another with friends. Independence Mall is the nexus of the historical places: the National Constitution Center, the only museum of its kind in the world, the President’s Site from where Washington governed the nation for 2 years, Liberty Bell, world symbol of freedom, and the Independence Hall, where in 1776 55 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence and in 1787 39 great men signed the Constitution.

Assembly Room at the Independence Hall
where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed
last resting place of Benjamin Franklin,
Christ Church Burial Grounds
In the immediate vicinity of the Mall is Benjamin Franklin’s simple grave at the Christ Church Burial Grounds. Franklin is the gifted man who discovered electricity, among others. He so influenced the shaping of American thought, serving as a statesman and later diplomat during the critical revolutionary and early government days. Inside his former neighbor’s building is the replica of his print shop (of particular interest to Bill whose career revolved around the industry) near where his home was at Franklin Court.
passage way to Franklin Court, where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood
Carpenters' Hall, site of the First Intercontinental Congress in 1774
Nearby is the Carpenters’ Hall, built by the craftsmen of that period, where the first Intercontinental Congress was held in 1774, paving the way for the American Revolution in 1776. Around the area are three distinguished homes of:  Betsy Ross, the woman who made the first American flag, the Todd House, grandest first lady during the Madison presidency, and the Declaration House where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. A block away is Washington Square where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honors those who fought in the American Revolution. 
the National Constitution Center, only one of its kind in the world

Declaration House, dwarfed by modern buildings,
where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence
The Driving Tour

A little further away is the Philadelphia City Hall. At 548 ft tall, it is the world's second-tallest masonry building (weight of the building is borne by granite and brick walls up to 22 feet rather than steel), only a foot shorter than Mole Antonelliana in Turin. Atop the building is the statue of William Penn, founder of Philadelphia. Up to 1987, all buildings in Philadelphia could not be taller than City Hall. Then a few more blocks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are the Rodin Museum and the Rocky steps and statue. 
City Hall with William Penn's statue on top
Eastern State Penitentiary Museum
Several more blocks to the north of the Philadelphia Art Museum you will find the Eastern State Penitentiary, an American prison until 1971, now a museum. With a unique wagon wheel design, it redefined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail, emphasizing principles of reform rather than punishment. It was the largest and most expensive public structure ever constructed in its time. Quickly it became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.

St. John Neumann's body under the main altar of St. Peter the Apostle Church
we are left to imagine what went on
 at this cellar of Edgar Allan Poe's home
And another few flocks to the east is The National Shrine of St. John Neumann who in 1977 became the first American male to be canonized (he is only 1 of 7 American saints). Located in St. Peter the Apostle Church built in 1843, his waxed body lies in a glass-enclosed reliquary under the main altar of the lower church, after it was exhumed from the church grounds in 1862. A few more blocks east is the Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site, only one of two homes where he lived still preserved (the other one in New York). This is the home where he wrote most of his significant works and also where he was happiest.

enjoying good food and even better company
at the popular Philly hangout, Reading Terminal Market
Lilet and Loy's unforgettable Amish chicken
The Eating Tour

But we were not just frazzled and bedazzled tourists. The 5 of us (Loy, Ann and I were colleagues at the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Philippines) met at the Reading Terminal Market, famous for its large variety of food outlets, a smaller version of Granville Market in Vancouver, Bill and I thought, but also as interesting. Looking for low fat cheese and nice pates to bring home, we found yoghurt cheese and pate de la champagne at La Salumeria. Loy and Lilet’s Amish chicken smelled like the Filipino lechon manok! Ann and I regretted our orders but Bill was happy with his shawarma and tabouli.

Pat's King of Steaks, home of the original Philly Cheesesteak!
photo doesn't do it justice
Loy and Lilet were making their way to Maryland from New York so after the tour of Independence Hall and the National Shrine, they left.  Loy worked in Philly for 2 years so he knew of these good places to eat. But they were not able to join Bill, Ann, and I at Pat’s King of Steaks where the now very popular Philly Cheesesteak was originally concocted by the Oliveri family in 1930! After a long, history and food (spiritual and physical)-filled day, we brought Ann home to her sister’s at Somers’ Point, only about 30 minutes away from our campground.

House of Betsy Ross, maker of the first American Flag
Todd House, early home of the grand first lady
of the Madison presidency
There were no long good-byes because we plan to meet Ann again probably in October in Arizona where her youngest sister lives and/or December in southern California where her daughter has a home.  On the other hand, in July, Loy plans to join Fides, Bill, and I in Toronto where Marissa and Mon live! Such is the vagabond life of cruisers. But in Philly we were moved with fervor thinking about the greatness of the history of the United States as we now enjoy the fruits of its early leaders’ genius and sacrifice! 
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier