This past week I had the pleasure to experience the sights and sounds of Philadelphia, the birth place of American democracy. Six months ago visiting Philadelphia was not on my” bucket list” of places to see but some opportunities are too good to pass up. My lovey wife was making the trip to attend a conference and invited me to tag along. Besides, after twenty-five years of marriage, if nothing else, I have become a skilled baggage handler.
Things I learned while wandering the streets of the city:
- If you have an interest in history, Philadelphia is the place to visit. The city is the home of Independence Hall where representatives from twelve of the thirteen original colonies met to debate, draft, and sign the Constitution. The interior of the hall is rather small but given that there was no central heating in the 1700s it should come as no surprise.
- The Liberty Bell was originally known as the State House bell when the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered it in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania's original Constitution. The Liberty Bell gained iconic importance in 1851 when abolitionists, in their efforts to end slavery, adopted it as a symbol of their fight. Today it is a favorite photo op for tourists; it was very entertaining watching visitors compose and shoot their Facebook moments!
- The city’s buildings represent just about every major architectural style known from the 1700s to the present. The best part is that you can see it all and not walk more than a mile in any direction.
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art houses one of the finest collections of medieval arms and armor in the United States. Even if art is not your thing, making a visit to see the interior of the building is well worth the price of admission.
- Look before you cross the street because the drivers tend to be very aggressive and they make liberal use of their horns.
- The one down side is that the noise level can be a bit overwhelming at times. From our hotel I noticed that people were moving about the sidewalks and streets at all hours of the day and night.
If you one day get the chance to visit Philadelphia don’t pass one it, just be sure to get a map and a comfortable pair of walking shoes.