Thursday, April 17, 2014

Unfrozen -- Spring in Philadelphia

Last weekend, I went to Philadelphia for the NCAA mens hockey tournament, otherwise known as the Frozen Four. I was supposed to go down with my friends Joe and Allison, but unfortunately they had a death in the family and were unable to make it. So, as the official ticket courier, I headed down to meet Joe's grad school friends alone.

The weather was beautiful in Philly and I had a great time seeing a lot of outdoors things. One of the first things I did was stop by Philadelphia's magic gardens, a studio and lot turned into a giant mosaic grotto by the artist.

The outside was covered in tiles for multiple stories.

I liked the grotto feel.

Not just random tiles; there were words, figures, and designs.

At the end of my visit, I tagged onto a tour and got to meet the artist, Isaiah Zagar. I stayed back to ask him a few questions, and at the end he said, "Can I get a hug?" so I said "Sure!" Then I asked if I could get a picture with him. "A selfie?" he asked. Yup, exactly what I had in mind!

The next day, I got to do some historical touristy stuff. We stopped by Independence Hall and although the signs said the tickets were sold out, the Park Ranger came out and gave us some tour tickets for free. It was really cool seeing the place where our Founding Fathers formed our nation.

George Washington sat in that chair at the back
Hard to believe that what happened in this building changed the world.

I also learned something -- Thomas Jefferson did not write the Bill of Rights. I totally thought he did, but he was busy being an ambassador to France at the time. So although he was a big proponent, and gave some ideas to the authors, the true authors were James Madison and George Mason. Oops. I had to correct my history there!

Friday we also went to a baseball game: Phillies vs. Miami. I'm not a big baseball fan, but it was still fun. We started out near the top and finished the game in some empty seats near home plate.

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack, I don't care if I ever get back...

Blurry because it's a close up. And I had beer. 

Saturday was market day! I started out at the Reading Terminal Market, the oldest continuously operated farmer's market in the U.S.

Flowers are the prettiest, even if food is my favorite

Then I visited Ben Franklin's grave. At one point he wrote his own epitaph, although in the end he decided he didn't want that on the grave itself.

Good old BF certainly had a sense of perspective: "Food for Worms" indeed!

After that, I met up with the rest of the gang at the Italian market, an outdoor market. It was interesting because the northern end of the market was definitely European, but the southern end was more Latino in nature, and there were lots of Mexican restaurants around and you started seeing things like prickly pear pads in the veggie stalls. We also found a butcher with whole, skinned goats hanging from the ceiling! I'll save you the picture out of respect for my squeamish or vegetarian friends.

What is a trip to Philly without a Philly cheesesteak? Everyone else had already eatern theirs, but I needed to get one before I headed home. And it was fantastic! I got provolone, no "Whiz", but I was eager to forgo a little authenticity in favor of taste.

Certainly not a misteak in my opinion!

I also got mushrooms. What? I like mushrooms!

So far I haven't mentioned much of the hockey -- it was really good. The first two games were fantastic; an action packed game between Boston College and Union College, and then a slower game between University of Minnesota and University of North Dakota -- which finished with a surprise goal by U of MN with only 0.6 seconds to go! The Championship was a bit disappointing for U of MN fans (Joe and his classmates), 7 to 4, Union College. But they really outplayed Minnesota and I felt like the best school won.

So, a whirlwind trip that really gave me a nice taste of what Philadelphia is like! Overall, a very positive experience. Philadelphia has a lot of neat neighborhoods, fun things to do, and good restaurants. I call that my kind of town.


Anonymous said...

It IS a great town! Abbie, your Dad and I really enjoyed it, even tho' we nearly froze while there. Returning to see some of the things you saw but that we missed is on my bucket list.

Carlw4514 said...

You are not allowed to start rooting for Phil. sports teams, is all. [g]

Uncle C

Joseph Fong said...

Louise, great posting. Wish we were there to experience first hand.

Andria Crowjoy said...

Ok as a 3rd generation "Philly" girl I must insist that no Whiz EVER ruined a REAL cheesesteak. Provolone is exACTly what you should get. And mushrooms are perfectly acceptable. I'd swap the peppers for mushrooms any day!

Nice to see photos of my original home city! I love how you always chat with the folks you run into and I'm not surprised they all want a hug.