For Spring Break, IB and I wanted to go to DC AND Philadelphia. As we searched for flights, it was just way too expensive to fly into DC and out of a different airport in Philadelphia. Somehow, it was cheaper to fly in+out of DC, and take an Amtrak train to Philly and back!
So that’s what we did.
On the second day of our trip We woke up at 7 and Walked the 15/20 minutes to the nearest Metro station and took it one stop to a major station where the trains also ran. The Amtrak from DC to Washington was about an hour and a half and I slept most of it. I think at one point we were going 120 MPH!
At the station in Philadelphia I bought a pop-out map for $7 and it was the best purchase I made. It was compact, easy open, and had all the major points of interest. I wish I had bought one in DC instead of using my phone’s navigation the whole time. If I started to think non-digital maps were becoming obsolete, I was totally wrong!
It was a straight walk from the station to the city center and City Hall. Walking in the city made me think that Philadelphia was very much like DC. If anything we thought there were less parks/plants around, but there were still overwhelmingly tall buildings and busy sidewalks/crosswalks.
The only things on our list for the day was to eat a Philly Cheesesteak and see the Liberty Bell, Rocky statue, and Mutter Museum. On our way to the Liberty Bell we chanced upon the Reading Terminal market. Even though this was an unplanned visit, it was actually my favorite part of Philadelphia! We walked into this building and found ourselves in a bustling super farmer’s market! There were all kinds of shops selling all kinds of food and other goodies. The first thing we saw was a bakery with very Italian-looking goodies so we purchased a cannoli and some other pastry that IB said looked like an Italian “Conchiglia” pastry. (but he said it didn’t taste like it)
IB waited in line for 45-minutes to order an authentic Philly Cheesesteak from Carmen’s Famous; it actually is famous and there was a picture of Obama ordering from there too. IB said it was a fantastic sandwich and I’m glad for the experience of being there. (I’m a vegetarian so no I didn’t have any.)
We followed our handy-dandy map through Chinatown and to Franklin Square park to eat. (We also stopped by the Sanrio store and while I saw some cute things, nothing I thought to buy.) The park was small but it had a fountain, carousel, and mini-golf course. IB and I were just happy to have a place to sit/eat, even though I think the park must be much prettier in warm weather when the plants are green and thriving.
The Liberty Bell is located in a building, and we had to go through security (like all the other historical sites) before we could go in. There were just some murals talking about the bell’s history and at the end of the short walk was the actual Liberty Bell. I’m not sure what I actually expected from an old, broken bell but I felt a disappointment. Maybe it was smaller than I expected, and was so clean and polished it looked fake and not historical. I’m still glad I saw it!
By then it was getting a little later and we were worried about not having enough time at the Mutter Museum (it was the only place that had a closing time). We decided to ride one of those Rental bikes! It was $4 for 30-minutes, which was exactly enough time for us. I was really anxious because we didn’t have helmets and I don’t think we were supposed to ride on the sidewalks! But the cars were aggressive and the drivers honked at us so we rode on the sidewalks when it was safer than the road.
The rental bikes are nice because you can pick up and drop off at any station, and you only pay for the time you use it. (I think the bikes in DC had a daily membership fee which was too much for us.)
After we dropped the bikes off we walked to the Mutter Museum, which actually part of the College of Physicians. The only pictures allowed were in the lobby so I posed by the posing skeleton XD
Fashion: I bought this hat and shirt at a three-story Forever21 in DC specifically inspired by my friends (and) the Coven. I’ve heard that American Horror Story shot some episodes in this Museum so I thought I was dressed appropriately.
The museum consists of Mutter’s collection of bones and organs that he used as lecture tools when teaching other medical students. I really liked the collection of skulls from different eras and places in the world. Taking human anatomy and studying physiology as part of my fitness degree definitely helped me appreciate a lot of what was there. It also had a few educational Murals about the history of different surgeries as well as how Grimm’s fairy tales reflected some of the medical misconceptions of the past.
The most interesting part of it was The medical anomalies they presented. There were deformed and diseased organs/bones, Including a lot about fetal deformities with skeletons/wet specimens of conjoined twins.
After that we made a longer walk to the Rocky statue. We had to walk down this long median/park and past the Thinker statue. Right before the Museum of Art (where the Rocky steps are) there was a beautiful sculpture with multiple figures and animals. I didn’t know what it was until I looked it up.
IB took his iconic picture by the stature and on top of the steps after having me video him running up them. I could see other tourists running up the steps and taking the same photo with them facing Philadelphia, fists above their heads. Also, there were lots of locals doing their actual workouts here! Maybe they were taking inspiration from the movie, but I think that was a good place to workout in general. Running up and down the stairs, lunges with weights, other bodyweight exercises.
I haven’t seen the Rocky movie so I didn’t really feel like taking a picture there, but I did find a cherry blossom tree! I thought it was magical because I desperately wanted to see one.
We circled the building and traveled down a bike trail near the water. I was surprised and pleased to see so many people biking, running, and exercising. I think it could be a really nice place and time to run. I was able to enjoy the walk (despite painful knees haha) because I was just happy to see people being active!
We couldn’t find a place to eat so we walked around in stupid circles but finally stopped at Kennedy’s Food Garden. I had a vegetarian cheese steak, but it was just a tasteless boca burger. I’m still glad we stopped there even if I ended up leaving my pop-out map there on accident. It was fine because we were done with Philly for the day!
The last thing we did was buy some souvenir postcards at a shop and rode the train back home. Overall a very successful day!