Monday, January 8, 2024

Discovering Philadelphia: A Journey Through History and Urban Wonders

The last time I visited the USA was in 2018, when my friend Selma and I made our Pacific Northwest road trip. A lot of time has passed since then, and last year we started doing our big road trips again, when we visited Japan. There was something calling out for us though from the western side of the Atlantic Ocean, so a return to the USA was just waiting for the right opportunity. We made plans for this trip back in March of 2023 when we bought the plane tickets and the next 8 months were spent planing and researching the next big road trip: The Mid Atlantic of the USA. The idea came when we initially wanted to see New York City for Christmas. After that was settled the rest of the road trip came to be very easily. Our journey would take us from JFK Airport to Philadelphia, then to Atlantic City, then along the Atlantic ocean coastline, back inland towards Washington DC, Baltimore, Hershey and back to NYC. It was a very long but beautiful road trip and I hope to show you as much of this in this new travel series. This first part will be about our first stop: Philadelphia!

This post is part of a multi-part travel series from our Mid-Atlantic USA Road trip
For the other parts click here

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky Statue

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, stands as a cultural icon and it was our first stop of the day. It was a bit cloudy in the morning, but as the day went on, the sun came out. Renowned for its vast and diverse collection of art spanning various periods and styles, the museum offers visitors a journey through history and creativity. One of its most famous attractions is the iconic Rocky Steps, a grand staircase leading up to the museum's entrance, immortalized by the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa in the popular film series. At the base of these steps, we saw the celebrated Rocky Statue, a bronze sculpture of the legendary movie character portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. This statue has become an emblematic symbol of the city's spirit and resilience, drawing countless visitors who eagerly recreate the triumphant pose of Rocky at the top of the steps as did we!

A Stroll through Franklintown

Our journey through Philly started in the west part of town and continued all the way east to the riverfront. So naturally after our visit to the Museum we strolled through Franklintown which is right next to it. Franklintown is a vibrant and historic neighborhood that reflects the city's rich cultural tapestry. Named after one of America's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, the area is a blend of modernity and historical charm. Characterized by tree-lined streets and a mix of architectural styles, including classic rowhouses and contemporary buildings. The buildings are colorful and there were still leaves on the trees which made the walk even more appealing.

Downtown Philadelphia

I was looking forward to visiting downtown Philadelphia the most since it's an immersive experience through the annals of American history. At the heart of the city lies Independence National Historical Park, home to iconic landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, where the founding principles of the United States were forged. While we were visiting Thanksgiving had just passed and the Love Park was decorated for Christmas with a huge Christmas tree and market. Strolling through the cobblestone streets of Old City reveals charming boutiques, art galleries, and diverse dining options, creating an eclectic atmosphere that pays homage to the city's colonial roots. The bustling energy of Market Street and Broad Street showcases Philadelphia's contemporary vibe, with skyscrapers, theaters, and a thriving arts scene. There is so much to see, and every corner in the Downtown area reveals a wonderful sight.

No trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a Philly Cheesesteak. We had ours in the famous Geno's Steaks.

Day's End in Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley was the last stop on our discovery tour through Philly. It's nestled in the heart of Old City Philadelphia on the far east side. Recognized as the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the United States, Elfreth's Alley preserves a captivating glimpse into colonial-era America. Lined with meticulously preserved 18th and 19th-century homes, adorned with charming brick facades and wrought-iron gates, the alley exudes an undeniable charm even in the twilight when we were visiting. Walking along its cobblestone streets feels like stepping back in time. The houses, once home to tradespeople and artisans, now serve as private residences and museums. Elfreth's Alley is a cherished historic gem and was a perfect way to end our day in Philadelphia.

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  1. Your pictures were even better than your usual high standard. Nice to see Selma again, too. A truly excellent post, Mersad.

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  2. Such a clean city. The streets are wide and square. Beautiful city indeed.

  3. Great post and awesome photos. Take care, have a great week!

  4. Mersad, I love seeing your photos and accounts of your road trips, and this one is especially good. Philadelphia is an icon American city, so let us hope the principals of democracy laid down here can continue in the U.S.

  5. It is so nice to see your visit to Philadelphia!

  6. Wonderful photos. Looks like a good place to visit. I am loving the colours of the leaves and the trees :-D

  7. so nice to see places in the worl that I will probably not see in person, thankyou. Have a fabulous 2024 and thankyou again for the linkup.

  8. Good likeness of the statue. I do like autumn.

  9. Such great pictures. Amazing. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.



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