tom911 goes to Philadelphia

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  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Good evening from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’ve flown in here a couple times over the years, most of the time just turning right around and flying home, and once I visited an uncle up in the Poconos (remember that trip because I was stuck at Washington Dulles a few hours waiting for a UA flight to get to Philadelphia and didn't make it to his place until almost midnight). Well, the planets have lined up and I found a good airfare, and a Marriott Christmas sale that offered 30% off rates, so I’m right in the city center within two blocks of City Hall, the Convention Center (hosting the auto show this weekend), and about a miles walk from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

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    Weather here has been cold---was -2C/28F when I came in tonight (same temps I had in Vienna last week), but really didn’t notice it during the day except when I first went out before 10a.m.

    This city is filled with plenty of old buildings and museums, so this was basically an orientation visit to get my bearings for future visits.

    THURSDAY

    Was out the door at 3a.m. for the hour long drive through pouring rain to the Sacramento airport. Caught the 5:45a.m. Sacramento-DFW flight on AA. Upgrade cleared. Had granola, a banana and biscuit for breakfast. Landed at DFW around 11 and was scheduled for a 3 hour layover. Off to the Admirals Club to park for a while. Think this is the earliest flight I’ve ever taken as the AA flights from SFO don’t start up until 6a.m.

    Went to the gate for the 2:05pm flight to Philadelphia and we boarded on time. Mechanic had to come replace a part, and then we had to wait for deicing as it had been snowing at DFW. Wasn’t in the air until 4p.m. and arrived about 7:30p.m. Meal was Cajun Shrimp served with cheese grits and southern succotash.

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    Caught the SEPTA train into the city at 8:12pm and was in my hotel lobby about 40 mins later. There aren’t any ticket machines at the airport and you pay the conductor $8 on board.

    I’m on the 22nd floor of a 23 floor hotel. Did visit the lounge on 23 just after 9p.m. for a Diet Coke and some biscotti.

    FRIDAY

    Back to the lounge for breakfast. It was like Grand Central Station during the morning commute. It’s one of the biggest lounges I’ve ever been in, but it’s a challenge maneuvering around other guests, with or without food. I had some scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt and a banana along with some pound cake and orange juice. This hotel has 1,332 rooms so likely a lot of guests are entitled to access.

    First stop was City Hall just up the street, and then the Reading Terminal which houses a produce market, food vendors, and lots of pastry stalls. Here’s one with some type of chocolate covered cookies and another with cupcakes:

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  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Next stop: the Liberty Bell. Wasn’t very busy there so had a chance to talk with one of the National Park Service rangers who said they do get a lot of Chinese tourists. There was one big group of about 30 there when I first walked in. Once they were gone I was able to get some pretty decent pictures of the Liberty Bell, though there was a bright morning sun coming in through the windows behind it.

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    From there I dropped into the visitor’s center and watched a 30 min History Channel presentation on Independence Hall which I toured later in the afternoon. They also had some displays on historical sites around the area that the Park Service maintains.

    Nearby was the Christ Church Burial Ground where Benjamin Franklin resides. Photos were from outside the fence as the grounds are closed this time of year. I also visited Christ Church a few blocks away which has marked pews showing where both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin sat during services.

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  3. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Walked down to the waterfront to Penns Landing. There was an Army landing craft there, and an ice skating rink just up from it. Across the Delaware River in Camden is the Battleship New Jersey. I checked and it’s only open weekends this time of year. I’d love to visit it but need to figure a way to get across the Delaware on public transit. First chance with the new zoom and did get a decent photo of the New Jersey’s big guns.

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    Back into the city center and I took a guided tour of Independence Hall. We visited a court room first and then the meeting room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

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    Back to the hotel. Dinner was a challenge. Was planning on going to Hard Rock across from the hotel but they had a private event likely related to the auto show. Found a large sports bar and was shown to a table. After waiting 15 mins I walked out. Was after 8:30 and I was hungry. Spotted a McDonalds and had a quarter pounder as I didn’t want to look around anymore. Not the best end to the day.

    Tomorrow, Saturday, I fly back home. Upgrades have cleared. Next weekend I'm in Boston.

    Philadelphia photos are here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-USA/2014-Philadelphia-Pennsylvania/i-X32Nmv9

    Marriott photos:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Hotels/Marriott-Hotels/Philadelphia-Marriott-downtown/i-GqwGnJS
     

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