Day 7: "Oh...Yeah, I Didn't Hit Anything."

Philadelphia!  Home of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad traffic.

...And independence and all that kind of stuff.

What was supposed to take four hours ended up taking six because of that traffic.  But lucky for us, the miraculous iPhone mapping service found us a way around I-95 and we got there slightly sooner than we would have if we had waited in the parking lot that was the freeway.

But get there we did!  I dropped Madie off at Independence Square to have lunch with her long-lost friend slash soul mate Mishel.  They went to have the famed Philly Cheesesteaks and Mad's reaction was thus "They definitely lived up to their hype.  Out of all the city food I've had, Philly Cheesesteaks are definitely my top vote."  (We'll be telling you about Madie's encounter with gross New York hot dogs in our next post.)  While they had a lovely lunch catching up about life, school, work and, of course, boys, I slept in the car next to the UPenn Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.  (By the by, I just happened to find a parking spot there, looked up and saw the name of the center.  I googled it while I quickly ate lunch and now I'm thinking it might be a viable spot for grad school.  Totally kismet.)

So, yes.  We went to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  It was great.  Mainly because we didn't have tour guides that droned on and on for. eh. ver.

The Liberty Bell just had a set up exhibit which was meant to be read at the viewer's leisure, which was read.  Leisurely.  Apparently the Liberty Bell is a big deal.  They have taken all these measures to protect it against attack and even built a trap door that slides the bell into a kind of bell bomb shelter... which seems a little bit ridiculous if you ask me.  But it is what it is.

My favorite part of the exhibit was this piece of art that has liberty written in myriad languages, representing diverse peoples from all over the world.  To me, that's what real liberty and my highest hopes for America are all about.

From there, we went on to Independence Hall.  Now, it was hot.  Like, really, really hot.  So we didn't really want to putz around for an hour with a tour guide telling us all kinds of inane details that we would never remember.  So!  We waited until after 5 and went on the abbreviated tour.  15 minutes.  2 rooms.  That's it.

And let me tell you:  that is the way to do it.

Of note, however, is the fact that whilst waiting for this abbreviated tour, my beige dress got me mistaken for a park ranger by a bewildered and somewhat tired looking tourist.  Not the greatest compliment ever.

Ranger Gus was a hoot.  He was super knowledgeable about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  And he had a funny accent and hunched over when he walked to boot.  All in all, he was super charming and made us want to learn about history.  *gasp*

That was about it for us and the city.  However, no trip to Philadelphia would ever be complete without a visit to Rita's for some authentic water ice.  We drove over to South Street and had the most ridiculous time parallel parking.  I say that because not only did I have my typical freak out over parallel parking, but an honest-to-goodness fantastic parallel parker had a really tough time doing it.  Nobody really hassled us for taking forever, though, so it was alright in the end.

Rita's was great, but not the amazing, heavenly manna that I recall from my former days of Philadelphia glory.  It was great nonetheless.  Madie and Mishel both got half coconut half Swedish Fish, which they swear was good, but sounded terrible.  Mad said, and I quote, "This tastes exactly like a liquid Swedish Fish."  And it did, no lie.  I had Georgia Peach and Florida Orange mixed together and it was good, but again, not the Rita's I remember.

All in all, a fantastic visit to Philadelphia filled with ridiculous laughter, a little bit of learning and a whole lot of awesome.


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