One day in Philly

On Thursday, I drove to Philadelphia for the day. I went alone, almost on a whim. I had been planning for a long time a day-trip to get out of DC, and on Thursday, I felt a real need for a change of scenery. I knew Philadelphia only for stopping there for a few hours on a trip back from New York years ago with family and friends, tasting the cheese steak and visiting Independence Hall (of which as a first-generation immigrant from the "Old World" where history is ancient, present, and alive, I deplore the significance since almost everything has been rebuilt, nothing is authentic... But well, more on the "Identity Crisis of the First-Generation American" later, or should I say the Search for a Historical Identity in a Very Young Country. Again, more on that later).

But two days ago, I experienced Philadelphia by alone, and resorted to the Sophie way of exploring a new or more or less unknown city: walking around, getting lost, asking my way. In other words, the raw experience that has nothing to do with visitor centers or tour guides, but like I have discovered every city where I lived in the very first days.

Pho. <3 

I have enjoyed being away and alone, listening to a total of four operas on the way there and back (La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata and Tosca). There, I parked in the first secure lot I found and enjoyed walking around, visiting the Reading Terminal Market, a gastronomic paradise, (unless you've lived in Paris, where you've got one like this every three blocks or so.) where I stocked up on chocolates and such goodies. I also went to Chinatown, where I enjoyed delicious Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant (you'll find the info on my Address Book page) and shopped around for a few Chinese trinkets (I collect small Buddha statues).

I also came to a few observations:
- On the architecture and street art, which are a mix of classic and modern: the older, classic buildings like the Episcopalian Church and the Masonic Temple have this European feel that I love so much. And by modern, I mean particular. Like the crashed plane above.

- Hell, the accent is difficult to understand. I had less trouble with the "accent du Sud" in Toulouse, France. Then  again, I became so in love with Toulouse that I spoke with the accent after a few days there. But when I asked a lady for directions, I had to make her repeat ten times to understand. Well, America sure is diverse.

- Drivers are not nearly as bad as DC. They just go very fast; meaning that on the highway a few miles before getting to the city, where the speed limit was 65mph, I got overtook (or, as we say, passed) by a police car who was doing a good lil' 90.

- I had the wrong shoes. Stubborn as I am, I went in my black leather open-toe high heels, and I died after two hours of walking. Not to mention, my feet became a little sweaty, and the shoes being slightly larger, they kept sliding off à la Cinderella in the middle of the street. That is, when I didn't nearly fall and twist an ankle.

- When driving back to the DC area, it's worth taking the toll road. Take it from a certain little redhead who didn't because she realized only too late that she had ran out of cash and who didn't want to stop in the middle of the night at an unknown rest stop for an ATM, and who took the long road and ended up in the infamous dangerous area of downtown Baltimore; this very redhead who kept praying she wouldn't get murdered by a blood-thirsty psycho-killer or kidnapped by a brothel owner (because yes, there were brothels there all right, and they had the "now hiring" sign).

- Philly is really a great place. I will be going back, preferably after I shop for better shoes, because my stubbornness has taken a blow (of which I will recover by next week, but well...).

 Some goodies: Chocolate, ginger candy and postcards!

Essentials for a road-trip (defined as a trip to a relatively unknown area where this little redhead might get lost): survival food of the tropical variety, retro sunglasses, iPod loaded with operas featuring Callas (of course), and pepper spray. Cf. the whole "getting lost in dangerous area" part.

On a different note, you will have noticed that I have finally invested in my own custom domain. Being somehow a bit of a novice still, I had a little trouble figuring out a Google Checkout bug which really tested my patience. But well, I have decided to celebrate this victory (and also the fact that was available! Not that I wasn't ready to get in a verbal catfight with its hypothetical owner, and go mine! mine! mine! like all the birds in that scene from Finding Nemo) with a giveaway next week. It will be my first ever, and I'm thinking of a few exciting surprises. So stay tuned!

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Beauty Follower said...

I would love the try the chilies& cherries choco!!!

Καλη εβδομαδα!
Have a lovely week!

Anna said...

There is no better way, and I mean NO better way, than getting to know a city by getting lost in it ... My bf and I love to travel and wherever we go we do it on whims and gut instincts. As long as we have money to find our way home if we get tooo lost. Philly looks fantastic and I love you a) did it on a whim and b) did it by yourself. I am from Australia but if I doooo ever get to the U.S (morgs and I are planning for 2 years to be there) then you've put philly on the map! P.s congrats on becoming .com 

Anna xo 

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