Walking the streets of Philadelphia

After our stay in Washington DC, we headed to another big city at the east coast.  The 3,5 h drive from Washington , along Baltimore to Philadelphia wasn't as bad and busy as I had feared beforehand.  Clearly you are navigating along big metropoles so traffic is heavy but it was feasible.

Visiting the historic city center

Around 11 AM we arrived at the birthplace of the United States and parked conveniently right under the Independence National Historical park.  In and around this small park right downtown is the location of some (former) historic buildings that played a role in the American declaration of independence and the writing of the US constitution.

We first stopped quickly in the visitor center but that seemed more focussed in selling tickets for a lot of events or activities and a gift shop than a true interpretative museum on the history of the place. Maybe I did look properly enough. We headed out and crossed the street to go in line to visit the Liberty Bell

Somehow I was convinced that the historic bell was simply out in the open in the park, but it's well protected in the Liberty Bell House where you need to pass through security to visit (but it's free). With exhibits and video's you learn the history and importance of the bell, which was first the city bell hanging in the Pennsylvania State House but it was said to rang when the declaration of independence was signed and proclaimed to the people outside on July 4, 1776.  With its inscription "Proclaim Liberty throughout All the Land Unto all the Inhabitants thereof", it has become an important symbol of the US independence and has toured the country in previous centuries. It's liberty messages has also been used by abolitionists, human rights activists etc... Lots of history for this cracked old bell.

Outside we could admire the former colonial Pennsylvania State House , which is now the Independence Hall as here the American declaration of independence has been accepted by the representatives on July 4, 1776 with the statue of president George Washington in front.

We continued our walk through a continuation of small green parks with remaining historic buildings such as the Carpenter's Hall and the first bank of America and the Merchant's Exchange Building.

Visiting Penn's Landing and the Delaware river waterfront

Quickly we arrived at the Delaware river via one of several pedestrian bridges across the highway. We strolled along the maritime museums and fetched some lunch at the foodtrucks along the waterfront.  

The waterfront seems to feature a stretch of boardwalk, foodtrucks , a park with colorfull benches, seats and hammocks, some music.  That waterfront in fact had its official opening taking place 100m further from us - with cutting the ribbon and media etc - while we were eating a bit further.  Funny fact: in the evening we saw the opening on the tv in the hotel room  and all of a sudden we saw ourselves strolling by along the boardwalk filmed by a drone above the water :D. 

The Irish monument - decidated to the Irish Potato Famine and the Irish immigration to the US
City tour downtown 

We toured the rest of the city by open bus again and discovered that Philadelphia has some quite cool skyscrapers, some cool older residential arty farty neighbourhoods like antique row, a big Chinatown, ...
The bus stopped for a longer time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, apparently not for the art, but because it is a thing to go run up the stairs based on a movie scene of Rocky.  There is also a Rocky statue of Sylvester Stalone at the bottom of the stairs. The entire link with Rocky was totally lost on me, but it was a bit amusing to see our co-bus riders get out in the heat and run up the stairs with arms in the air, along with other tourists  and return out of breath to the bus. 


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