Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The rest of Philly

Now it's time for the rest of the things we saw in Philly.
 I won't lie, I cannot remember what this is at all...

 Ok, these were the COOLest! Maybe that's just my nerdiness coming out because I work in a Disability Office. But it's a small version of the city, so blind people can feel the layout of the city and find their way around easily. I mean, I was there for a Disability conference!! I had to nerd out over this for a few minutes.

So cool!

Where Alexander Hamilton's house once stood.
 This was seen just while we were walking down the street, on our way somewhere else. When you see these little plaques you have to stop and read them because they could be something really significant, but you don't even realize it because it's just in a place nowhere near anything else historical.

 This was the Philadelphia History Museum. It was actually kind of lame, only because they were moving and remodeling. So there were two rooms. One (the size of half of our hotel room) full of a small timeline of Philadelphia, and the second being this giant room with a big map on the floor. Good thing THIS was free! ;) So we probably spent a good 10 minutes in here. But I'm sure it will be very cool when it's all finished.

Revolutionary War Monument
 War monuments always get to me. This one was very cool, with the ever burning flame for the soldiers and people that died in the Revolutionary War.

 The tour guides educated us. The above picture is actual cobblestone. The picture below is NOT cobblestone.

 As I mentioned, a majority of things in Philly are named after Benjamin Franklin. So we naturally decided to go to Franklin Ice Cream. It was a yummy vintage-y place.

 These really old boot scrapey things were outside like 90% of the buildings and houses.

 We went to the Consitution Center and saw a cool presentation, and saw lots of cool things in the museum there. Again, we were not allowed to take pictures inside. But we WERE allowed to take pictures in the Signer's Hall. WooHoo!

So we got into some deep discussion about the Constitution with some of the signers of that document.

Me and Benjamin Franklin!!

Some signers deep in discussion

We even got to SIGN the Consitution!! We got a certificate that says we signed it and everything.

There were three dissenter representatives from the country that did not sign the Consitution. This guy is quite the thug. He ain't signin' nothin'!!
President George Washington
 Mr. President even oversaw all those that signed the Consitution.

 We probably passed Ben Franklin's burial place every day that we were in Philly. But there were always 1,452 people around it. So we waited until a time it was less crowded. It was really neat because it's tradition for you to throw pennies on his grave. The pennies get collected regularly and they are donated to a local hospital.

This is a view from a different entrance into the cemetery where Ben Franklin was buried. I just love all the history you can see here. The graves are so different.

There are all the odds and ends we saw in Philadelphia. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Philly Bus Tour

Time for the very lengthy recap of the things we saw on our Philadelphia Bus Tour. It was on a doulbe decker bus, and (obviously from the pictures) the top was open. It was so fun! And it was a quick and easy way to see the sites that we weren't going to have time to go inside of (or that were too pricey). But it was fun!!! So here was our first tour guide.

This bald guy was in quite a few of our pictures. The danger of being on a bus tour where you can't move to get the best picture. But I think I used the pictures that he is not in.

U.S. Mint
Steve REALLY wanted to go the Mint, and I thought it would have been very cool. Sadly, they were closed while we were there. But we did get to go to the place where they destroy some money. (Can't remember what it's called.) But we were not allowed to take pictures there at all. Most of the places did not allow pictures inside.

Friendship Gate
 This archway was in the little Chinatown area of Philly. It was given to Philadelphia by their sister city that is in China. I thought it was SO cool looking. And the guide said it was super duper heavy (as you can imagine). But there was something special about how heavy it was and what it was made from.


This was like their City Hall type place. When it was built it was the tallest building in the whole town/city. But now many other buildings tower over it. It is also that old and still has not been reinforced or anything. I think that's incredible.

William Penn
 William Penn was the founder of PENNsylvania. He was on top of this City Hall building, overlooking the whole city. The guide said that about 6 buses could fit around the rim on his hat - holy huge.

This is a statue of one of the former mayors of Philadelphia hailing a cab.

Thinker Statue

Eastern State Penitentiary
 And out of nowhere, right in the middle of the city ... a CASTLE!! Just kidding - it's a jail. That is the Eastern State Penitentiary. This was probably the one thing we REALLY wished we had gone on the tour for. We just didn't have time for this one. But it's a SUPER old penitentiary (obviously) and it was in operation and used up until the 1970s. I thought that was incredible.

Joan of Arc
 This was a statue of Joan of Arc. It's not gold. But I think it looks cool. I couldn't remember what it was made of, but I just Googled it and it said it is gilded bronze. I thought it was pretty random to have in the middle of Philly. I don't remember anything else about it, so maybe there actually is some relevance to it being there...?? Still cool.
 I couldn't resist posting this picture of us in front of the Rocky Stairs. It's at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We thought this museum would have been cool to go into, but we just weren't digging it. Maybe if it had been free. (I'm making us sound like cheapskates...but we went to see tons of other things, promise.) Anyway, it was windy.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
 This was on one of the sides of the Museum of Art. I thought it was interesting. The detail amazed me.

 This is the view from the top of the Rocky Stairs - please notice the other people running up the stairs. We did NOT run up the stairs...

Yo, Adrian!!!
 Yes, we had to stand in a line to get this picture taken. This statue used to be up near the Museum of Art entrance, on top of the stairs. But it was moved eventually because it was "not art" and not a part of actual Philadelphia history. P.S. It was worth waiting in line.
Delaware River

Fresh Prince of Bel Air
 We went through West Philadelphia and the tour guide talked all about all the historic facts about West Philadelphia. I don't remember ANY of the facts he told us, because every time he said "West Philadelphia" I started singing: In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of the days....

Drexel University
 The dragony thing is the Drexel mascot. I just thought it was cool. I also loved the random piano covered in fabric behind it. And someone was playing it!

Franklin Institute
 The Franklin Institute is a cool place, and we read all about the cool exhibits they had there. We were really set on the idea of going there. But we really only wanted to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, and decided that just that exhibit wasn't worth all the money we would have paid to get in. Sooo we settled for the outside.

The "invisible" building
 The tour guide said this bulding was designed to be invisible and camoflauge into the sky. I'm not sure what they are trying to hide it from - or what they were thinking when they thought it was invisible. I can see that....  But maybe from the sky or far away it's more camoflauged?

 I thought that the tour guide said that all those people there were doing the Occupy Wall Street thing in Philadelphia. But I didn't hear it all. Turns out these people were just having a party. I had a good laugh because I was thinking, "Occupy Wall Street doesn't seem as bad as they're all making it out to be!" Yeah...

 This was some sort of church. I just thought the architecture was beautiful. Then I took the picture and my artsy-ness surprised even me.

This was one of the first Quaker hospitals. That clear bubble-like thing on top is where they used to do surgeries so they could get the best lighting (I think). It's still in use for something today. I don't think it's still a hospital. But Quakers still gather there sometimes.

 This is a random monument to Christopher Columbus - Mathematician & Cartographer. Pretty fancy.

Penn's Landing
And good ole Penn's Landing. It was a beautiful ending to our tour. Lovely.

It was a good tour, and I would definitely recommend the bus tour for a quick and easy way to tour the entire city, even the far away things you don't want to walk to. And it was neat because there were multiple buses. You could get off the bus, and about 20 minutes later another bus would come by to pick you up. And the tickets were good for 24 hours! THAT is worth our precious money! ;)

Rainy Philadelphia

Tuesday in Philly was very rainy, all day long. We still went to see a few things, despite the wet feet from all the puddles we had to walk through.

Here is the courtroom in Independence Hall. The coat of arms is there above where the judge sits. All the furniture in Independence Hall is most likely not original, but from the same time period.

 That area with the jail bars around it is where the defendent stood when they were on trial. The defendent was not allowed to sit all during the trial. The guide we had said that he's heard that that could be where the phrase "stand trial" came from.
Where the defendent stood
 Here is the room where all those important documents were signed!! It was very cool to be in that room where such amazing events took place. There was Thomas Jefferson's actual walking cane there, and another signer's pipe there. The chair on the platform is where the president (George Washington) would sit during the proceedings.
There was a golden sun on his chair. I thought it was interesting that it was so similar to the sunstone we see on the Nauvoo Temple. But I think it was Thomas Jefferson that said he would ponder on that figure of the sun a lot. He always wondered if the sun was setting or rising. He said, after they signed the Constitution (I think), that he now saw that the sun was rising. We had such insightful leaders.
Independence Hall

I won't lie...can't remember who this statue is or what his significance is. His last name was Barry. And he was on the grounds of Independence Hall. :)

The Benjamin Franklin Library...on Library Street. :) Another thing I loved about this city was all the statues. There are TONS of statues all over the city...and probably half of them are Ben Franklin. Also, pretty much everything is named after Ben Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin Library

On one of our tours of the city, the guide told us that there are two parts of Philly. There is Historic Philadelphia and Downtown Philadelphia.

Like I said...statues everywhere. Even though that first one creeped me out, I loved seeing them. It just added to the historical aspect of the city.