Fabulous Philly

Trip Start Sep 06, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Monday, October 5, 2009

After enduring the lashings of a distinctly easterly wind in New York, it came as a pleasant surprise to find Philadelphia not only several degrees warmer but mercifully wind free.

The main reason for our visit to Philly was to catch up with my brother, Mark, who is doing an MBA at Wharton.  We were met by Mark and he lost no time in showing us around his new adopted city.  We arrived in time for the city's "First Friday" event when privately-owned art galleries open their doors to the general public and offer drinks and nibbles.  As many of them are clustered around two or three streets, there’s a great party atmosphere and it was a great introduction to this most European city we’ve so far visited in the US. 

The following day Mark had organised tickets for us to visit the fabulous Barnes Collection.  As many of you will already know, this is an amazing collection of art put together by a Dr Barnes.  He was essentially an amateur art collector who sought to educate through his collection and it is his unorthodox hanging of the paintings that makes the place so special.  The collection has some of the most wonderful CÚzannes and the way they are hung is a revelation.   We were taken on a tour by a very knowledgeable blue-blooded Philadelphian lady who had been giving classes at the Foundation for years.  She told the most wonderful story of how they used to quite casually take down a couple of paintings and prop them on kitchen chairs to compare and contrast them in class – with these paintings now being worth several million, those days are well and truly gone – the insurers would have a blue fit!!

The next day we spent the morning on a bus tour of the city and ended up at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  We really enjoyed this museum too and were once again lucky to join a tour with a very knowledgeable guide.  We met Mark at the front of the museum afterwards and had a little Rocky moment on the front steps – those of you who know the first Rocky film will know this scene!

We spent the afternoon wandering around the City with Mark as our guide and later, visited one of the City’s most famous sights: the Liberty Bell.  Contrary to general myth, the bell was not sounded at the Declaration of Independence, but subsequently became deeply symbolic in the American psyche and became a symbol for the anti-slavery movement and subsequently in the anti-segregation movement.  We also visited Independence Hall, the State House of Pennsylvania and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence a beautifully preserved and very evocative building.  We even saw the very chair that George Washington sat in!

We really enjoyed our time in Philadelphia – it is a lovely, very liveable city which has a laid-back air to it.  We particularly loved all the parks, cafes with outdoor seating and its independent arty shops.   Our time there had flown by all too quickly. 

Time and motion wait for no man and the leaves of New England were calling us.  Reports were reaching us that the leaves were turning and we needed to head North.  Time for some “leaf peeping”…

(Postscript: The Tooth has been reattached.  Keep your fingers crossed for us…..)
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tinaor on

I agree !
Glad you liked Philly. We had a great time there with friends who live there. Looking forward to re visit

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