Chatting with our Chicago and Wisconsin friends here in Philly has meant much anticipated catchups, long days of site seeing, walking the pavements and devouring the delights on offer….and Anna’s excitement during our day trip to Lancaster county and Amish country. Philadelphia was chosen as a half-way spot for us to renew our 10 year friendship founded in Ireland on a bus tour…….we have made a couple of trips to visit in their home towns, but this seemed like a chance for us all to see somewhere new.
Our digs in the Sth Philly ‘row’ area are a talking point – though initial reservations about the shafy area have proven to be unfounded…..very diverse, friendly but neglected by authorities like garbage collectors etc.
Plenty of discussion about the pros and cons of airbnbs has been generated. This one would be better suited to 2 people, young single and with a car………however, the price of Uber/ Lyght car services has been extremely low to get to and from the city. The area continues to grow on us!
Initially we took a PHLASH bus loop, where we could get on/off at all the major sites…….just to get our bearings. $5 a day for adults and Seniors free. An air-conditioned ride in what were very hot summer days. First tour was that of the Eastern State Penitentiary – a world first in individal cell incarceration, which design others followed until it became evident that the cost was prohibitive. Famous for housing Al Capone for 7 months of his year long sentence (in very salubrious cell furnished by bribe money). Contemporary use of the facility other than the public tours, is the Haunted theme nights around Halloween.
Those intending to visit Philly, the Museum of Art is closed on Mondays. This didn’t stop us being typical tourists and retracing Rocky Balboa’s run up the steps and posing with his statue. The most interesting part of that was the sight of the police giving a violation ticket to the con artist taking tips from the tourists lined up to get their pictures taken at the statue…it’s an outdoor public park with no need for anyone to boss people around re the photos and then demand a tip. Seemed a bit like karma!
The Independence Visitor Centre was a mine of information, great short videos on some aspects of history, and very smelly male toilets apparently. We planned our future schedules and headed off to taste a Philly cheesesteak. Marlene was very particular about the quality of the steak but we ended up with a delicious version at Sunny’s on Market St. Certainly a ‘must do’ foodie feature.
Day 2 was a full day private tour to Lancaster County and its surrounds. This was a much anticipated feature for Anna who was on a quest for a genuine Amish quilt. The Amish Farm Museum and craft wares was a good solid overview of the housing, clothing and customs of the large Amish community. Then Anna and Marlene struck pay dirt! The quilt shop was being manned by a gangly Amish lad ( typical haorcut and no shoes) who really knew his quilts. He made two sales and two women very happy. His grasp of how to use the cash register was limited, however.
The photos here show a typical Amish school house and the now disused double helix arched covered bridge just outside Paradise ( we loved the quirky names of the smaller places around Lancaster). Marlene spotted a T shirt in Lancaster at the Central Markets which said Intercourse…somewhere between Blue Balls and Paradise. And we saw the map to prove it! 😃
I am still mulling over all the historical info we soaked up on Day 3………😨