The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, May 19, 2014

Awestruck in Philadelphia

A room with a view!
Okay, I admit it. I grew up as a suburban kid. As an adult I've spent the last 20 years in a borough, you know, a small town, where parades and carnivals are still held and the public park really does have a bandstand. So, I get into a big city and I hate to admit it, but I'm awestruck, gobsmacked, really impressed. Our daughter was honored by a statewide organization on Friday night. She sang the national anthem for them and they put us up for the night on the 15th floor of the Sheraton downtown. That was impressive enough.

Nighttime ...
Dawn's early light ...

Then we opened the curtains and took in the view. I have to say, as a pastor I was very impressed with the dome and cross of St. Peter's and Paul's at nearly eye level with me so high in the sky. Nighttime and dawn views were equally inspiring. Seeing the sunlight slowly work its way down the sides of those skyscrapers in the early morning, I just couldn't help but be impressed with humanity's creative genius.

Centuries of architecture close together ...
Independence Mall, with the Liberty Bell, was worth a pause for reflection. The grounds are beautiful. The exhibit will make you think (once you get past the National Treasure movie jokes you just can't help but make when seeing Independence Hall, if you're a geek). The exhibit of Washington's house just outside the Liberty Bell pavilion with its well thought through discussion of slavery's complicated and awful history in the U.S. was fitting.

The artwork all around us was fascinating. The whimsy to be found with the giant playing pieces, the LOVE pavilion, sculpture, and fountain, and this unique airplane re-purposed into greenhouse were happy finds.

Finally, lunch at the Reading Terminal Market was a treat. Be prepared to make hard choices though with so many vendors and so much good food.

Philadelphia on a Friday and Saturday proved to be a very good walking city (easier than others I've ventured into, although many have had their particular charms). Come prepared with comfortable shoes and plenty of energy.

Then only snags to be found are getting into the city. The Schuylkill Expressway is a nightmare. It is too narrow for the major corridor that it must be, leading into and out of the city, but with the river on one side and rock faces on the other, there's not much to be done for that. Take the train if you can. If you must drive, find a central location near where you want to be and shop for the best parking option. You'll find many.  Enjoy your stay. 

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