Monday, October 08, 2007

On the streets of Philadelphia

The second stop of our trip was the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. After a long ride on the Greyhound from DC (we sat for about 90 minutes in gridlock traffic), we arrived at our adorable bed and breakfast. We then asked the owner for a recommendation of the nearest location of where we could find authentic Philly cheesesteaks. He directed us to Jim's Steaks on South Street, only a 15 minute walk away. We were both starving, and hurriedly power-walked over to Jim's, both salivating. We were not disappointed. I wolfed down my sandwich (and it must have been a foot long!) and almost wanted to order a second, but then realized that I might regret that decision later on in the evening, so I abstained. By golly, Philly cheesesteaks are a simple yet amazing combination of thinly sliced steak right off the grill, with slices of provolone cheese (or American cheese, your choice) on a long roll. That's it, no vegetables or special sauces or other such nonsense. Just meat, cheese, and bread.....and really, that's all you need. Ok, moving on from my cheesesteak obsession.
Besides the cheesesteaks, I have to admit I wasn't that impressed with Philadelphia initially. The area we walked around in South Street was kind of shady, I felt that one in every seven stores there was a kinky sex shop. So we headed back to our B&B and called it a night. The next day though helped my attitude towards Philly take a total 180.
The next morning, we walked to the Old City Historical District. This included Independence Hall, where if you recall your US history, was where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitutional Convention took place. We then saw the Liberty Bell and I was surprised at how small it is in real life. We also walked to the cemetry where Ben Franklin is buried and strolled down Elferth's Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited residential neighborhood in the United States, it's first tenants began living there in the early 1700's. My first impressions of Philly were quickly replaced with a great appreciation for a city with a rich historical background and a desire to share that history with others. Even though our time in Philly was brief, I'm glad we were able to see most of the historical sights that we wanted to see. Being in Phildelphia helped me to get a glimpse of why this city was the birthplace of American democracy, at least in many aspects.