Thursday, October 13, 2011


I stayed outside of Philadelphia in a community called Coatesville. It was a short drive to catch the train into Philly, arriving downtown at the Reading Terminal.

Across the street, indoors, was the Reading Market. Everything from produce markets, meat markets, cheese markets, and any type of prepared food you could think of, along with a few retail shops. We had an early lunch here before heading out to see historic Philadelphia.

The old state prison. We wanted to come back and take the night tour (they say it is haunted), but we never did make it. Now I have something to come back for.

Old Germantown. Early immigrants from Germany settled here, just outside of what was then Philadelphia. They brought with them their unique architecture too. Now the area is well inside the Philly metro area.

But what I really wanted to see was the historic part of Philadelphia. The place where our Constitution was created, one of the key places in our founding history. This is Independence Hall, the first U.S. Capital. Where the Continental Congress convened and war was declared against Britain. Where Washington served as the first president.

And the Liberty Bell. It is now housed inside a controlled environment, but it still stands as an icon for our freedom.

Benjamin Franklin Square. Where Benjamin Franklin lived and worked for most of his life. Although his printing shop is a reproduction (it was actually located several blocks away), the buildings themselves are from the 1700s. In addition to his own house, he owned several other homes which he rented out. The visitor center here was under renovation, but the printers shop was open, as was the working post office. Since I have a National Parks Passport book, and I get it stamped at all the National sites I visit, I purchased a regular postage stamp, placed it in my passport book and had the post office cancel it with their Benjamin Franklin cancellation stamp.

The Betsy Ross house.

Elfrath's Alley, one of the early neighborhoods in Philly, dating back to 1736. These homes are still being lived in today.

The Philadelphia Mint. Since this was the capital, when congress, in 1792, authorized the minting of coins, the first mint was built here in Philly. But this is not the original location, but the 3rd, completed in 1969. All denominations of coins are minted here, but when it first minted coins in the late 1700s, in addition to the coins we use today, they minted $10, $5, $2.50, half-dime and half-cent coins as well.

And of course we had to come to the place where the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich began, Pat's Steakhouse. This is where Pat and his brother Harry Olivieri, back in 1930, introduced the steak sandwich, which has now become a classic across America. Did you know the standard cheese used today in their Philly Cheesesteak is Cheese Whiz?

Just 2 blocks away lies the 9th Street Italian Market. An open air market which is held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can find meats and vegetables of all kinds, along with every type of fish you could want. Sort of reminds me of Pike Street Market in Seattle.

You can even buy your own live poultry too.

But you can't go to Philly without visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now I didn't go inside, I'm not a fan of art museums myself, but this staircase was made famous in a movie, which many now consider a classic. Do you know which one I mean? Yes, Rocky, with Sylvester Stallone.

These are the stairs he ran up every day when he was getting into shape. So of course I had to too. There I am at the top of the stairs with my arms held high over my head, just like Rocky.

Down at the street is Rocky's statue, with Max posing in front.

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