Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Philly, the home of the nation, is full of history on almost every street corner. It is the home of Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa & the cheesesteak sandwich.

The Liberty Bell has its own visitor centre and is put pride of place at the end of an exhibition hall, to be honest it was all lost on me a bit. Even with the story of the bells significance to the American people, it seemed to me to be a lot of fuss over a broken old bell. I am very much a history buff, and I usually enjoy anything like this, but it just seemed a little OTT.

Anyway, we moved on from the bell, and made our way across the street to see the State Hall (where the bell used to hang) which was the building that saw the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. We were given a free tour of the building by one of the rangers, we saw the rooms where all the meetings took place, the original senate & congress meeting rooms too. The history was retold and explained in detail and it brought the whole experience together very well.

We took lunch at a street corner sandwich stall, where we ordered a Philly classic, the cheesesteak. This is a big sloppy, meaty, cheesy mess of a sandwich. I have to admit I failed to find what all the fuss was about. Not a lot of flavour going on, just a whole lot of indigestion!

I took a solo visit up to the Museum of Modern Art, not that I cared to even enter the building let alone see any of the exhibits. All I was here to do was to follow in the footsteps of one of my ultimate cinematic heroes, Rocky! Bounding up the steps like I was finishing the ultimate training montage, then pumping my fists in the air may have been too embarrassing for Kristina to see, so it was good she chose to stay at the hotel. After taking a photo of the massive bronze Rocky statue I finished off my pilgrimage by punching the crap out of a frozen cow carcass then chasing a chicken round an alleyway, whilst the Penguin from Batman shouted slogans at me!

Finally we made a visit to the German Christmas market in the centre of town, this was a pretty sorry attempt at creating the authentic atmosphere, but we did manage to get some good sausage & pretzels. This market did not have the true Christmassy feel though, so we packed up and headed for New York, surely this would be the place to get the holiday spirit going.

I suppose it was to be expected that the festive season would be the time that it became hardest to be away from home. Spending so long away from friends and family has been tougher than I expected, and although our travels have been fantastic so far, and I have so much more to see along the way, it is difficult to not let your mind drift back to England from time to time. It will be good to talk to family on Christmas Day, and with our friend Emily flying out to join us in New York on Boxing Day, home will seem a little nearer.
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