It was a summer day, early July. I really love to walk, particularly when I arrive in a new city for the first time. I arrived in Philly by bus, with my Global Village group, we were dropped off near the Independence Hall, and the task was pretty clear – reach the Philadelphia Museum of Art by walking. I did not go alone for this adventure, but I was accompanied by two Chinese and three Peruvian friends.
So this article could better be called “6 Girls in Philadelphia”, but I want to tell you why this day was absolutely perfect, although the weather was moody, cloudy, hot, humid, sometimes raining, with short periods of sun. The shiny rainy atmosphere made this day even better, I think. It even accentuated the glamorous avenues, fountains, and buildings of this city.
Suggestion 1: see the Liberty Bell
First of all, coffee! We took some street coffee and I’m nostalgic when I start thinking of that nice guy who didn’t become angry when I gave him a 50$ note to pay only 2$ for a simple coffee. Only when I arrived in the USA, two weeks before, I learned that Philadelphia is commonly called Philly. It sounds cute. Philly is a historical city that played an important role in the formation of the United States, we all know it. The Independence Hall is the place where the Declaration of Independence was assigned.
But I did not expect such a beautiful city. That’s what I especially love in my travels – when I don’t expect anything and it turns out as something extraordinary. It happened first time when I visited Den Haag, also last year when I was in Munich and now in Philly. This was also the first large American city that I visited; I’m particularly glad to have started my first trip to America here, knowing that Philadelphia is the first World Heritage City of the USA.
The Independence Hall is the landmark of Philadelphia, the symbol, the brand, whatever I can call it. We had a walk over the large grass fields and their designed paths, to come into a visitor center where the Liberty Bell is exposed, at the end of a small storytelling exhibition area.
This is a story about one day in Philadelphia, but I would like to say to my fellow travelers that one day is not enough. Anyway, many travelers will have only one day, so it’s important to notice how to spend that day in its FULLEST. We were here at about 11 am. We had time to stay here for a while, enjoy the views and enjoy our moments.
In front of the Liberty Bell exhibition area you will see a huge line, but don’t become discouraged because of that. The entrance is free and security at the door is fast and efficient, so the line moves very fast. The whole area is pretty small and you get quickly to the Bell. Many visitors are taking pictures so you might wait a while if you also want one 😉
After these glorious moments of discovering one of the hearts of American history, we started discovering the streets of the city. We hadn’t seen the Museum’s building yet. We had just started seeing the city, feeling the streets, the architecture, the culture.
Suggestion 2: Go walking on the streets to reach the Museum of Art
The girls of my walking team come from different backgrounds. Some of them work in education, better said, on the schooling improvement projects. They were wonderful companions in discovering this beautiful city. We were talking about architecture, walking, and – eating street food. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of these wonderful sandwiches, because, hm, we were all busy eating them 😀
Philadelphia has a typical American, regular street pattern, so it’s really easy to get around, although it’s a pretty large city (5th in the USA). The architecture is a cute combination of skyscrapers and European classicism. I was a bit afraid of getting tired of walking so many miles from the Independence Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but that’s actually the recipe to have a perfect day in Philadelphia, dear traveler. On that way, you see this beautiful scenery from the panoramic picture above!
Suggestion 3: Enjoy the fountains, and the rain if it falls 😀
We had that pleasure to see the summer rain in Philadelphia!
There is another interesting thing about the streets of Philly. Fountains. They are many. There is a plenty of fountains. There are lots of fountains. It’s not like in Rome. Most of these fountains do not serve only to be observed, for selfies or to throw a coin in order to make a wish…
…because you see people walking inside a fountain. Seriously. Furthermore, there are several floor fountains that serve as a kind of public baths. You can even feel a smell of chlorine around them. An example is in the picture below. Although the weather looks cold due to this gray cloudy situation, don’t forget that it was early July. The weather was very warm and humid. For some it would be a reason to stay home, for us to have a perfect day, getting to the Museum!
Many fountains are just masterpieces so I really enjoyed to make my “interaction with art” photos around fountains (*laugh*).
These fountains are situated on the way to the Museum, oh yeah. We could even see the Museum building at the bottom of our way, but it was still away, and we even thought it would be closer on some moments. Anyway, we stayed quite a long time in front of this fountain. These fountains look like they are situated in some large, distant and secret park, but they are situated just between some busy streets.
So very soon we saw this kind of scenery. In Croatia, many people complain that there are too many works on roads. They even think that it does not happen in other countries. Come on! Reparations of basic infrastructure are necessary, everywhere. We just had very diverse moments while exploring Philly! We could even see how a new skyscraper was in the ways of construction. None of us is an engineer, but we loved to see it.
Suggestion 4: Notice the creativity on the streets
We thought that we got enough fountains, but they continued appearing in front of us. When we bought our street lunch, we decided to look for a place to sit next to a large avenue. We found it next to something that can’t be called a fountain but rather a pond, but its flat water looked so nice. We were almost in front of the museum 😀
Guess what? We sat down at the same place where these two people, with bottle and bag, were sitting in this picture. After walking for more 15 minutes, we found something even more astonishing. A color fantasy in construction. It started to rain, but we didn’t mind 😀
When I was taking this picture, I had this scenery behind my back:
Suggestion 5: Visit the Museum. Then return, and see some shopping places.
This was just a beginning of that wonderful day. We visited the museum, and continued the day, until 9 pm. The visit to the Museum lasted about two hours and a half. Thanks to the courtesy of my Global Village Guide, I got a nice discount, so we were six and each of us paid 6 dollars. The regular price is 20 dollars. Yes, museum tickets in the USA are generally more expensive than in Europe, unless the museum has free entrance.
After visiting the museums, we continued enjoying the fountains, lying on the benches and seeing beautiful vintage shopping malls around China Town. We met an Indian guy who was a friend of our Indian friend and got a perfect dinner in an Indian restaurant.
Could the day be more beautiful?