8 October 2014

Philadelphia

We were up early as there was lots to see today. Being a tourist is sometimes real hard work. A quick breakfast and we were out the door to catch the train to town. Chestnut Hill West is the end of the line, so there were plenty of carriages and seats to choose from. However, what we did not know is that here there is one carriage designated the "quiet carriage" no talking or telephoning allowed. Alan knows one or two English commuters who would welcome this rule on British Rail. 

In town it was a few blocks to the Independence Park and the visitors centre there. And who was the first person we saw there?


After getting an impression of what to see and when, we booked ourselves into the next available tour of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written. Needless to say we had to go through the ubiquitous security checks. Strangely here they did it all by hand, someone rummaged through our bags. But guess what, they didn't find us, but we were there!

Independence Hall



The main courtroom in the Hall




The room where the drafting of the Declaration and the Constitution were done

Sadly the Ranger that took us round had an awful accent and mumbled a great deal so not all he said really came across. 

The Liberty Bell was next on the list and again we had to have our bags searched and again they did not find our hiding place!


By this time the boys were gasping for a coffee so off they went to find a suitable watering hole. That done it was down to more walking to the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Now as a printer, George was in his element and remembered doing his apprenticeship on such machines.




Then we walked towards the harbour. In a park close by it is a modern memorial to the great Irish Famine and emigration. 

It should be noted that George is wearing his new jeans!


In the harbour we came across a strange vessel. It had a modern motor vessel hull and a Heath Robinson house construction superstructure. It came with a floating garden and floating chicken coop.


Close to this odd ship were the USS OLYMPIA a battleship built in 1892 and the USS BECUNA a submarine built in 1943. We now had fun on both.

Diving Stations!


I see no ships, only hardships ahead.


Fire as she bares.


More walking was called for as we then walked down the oldest continuously inhabited street since 1702.


Then another coffee break was called for on the way to the US MINT where we saw how the coins were made.

We should perhaps just mention one unusual incident which occurred to Alan during the day. A coloured man came by in a clearly agitated state. In his hand he had some papers, which looked as if them came from a hospital. He also had a $20 note in his hand. He showed his left arm at the elbow which had a plaster and on it and on his wrist he had the sort of identity bracelet one gets in a hospital. In the crook of the elbow it looked as if he had three golf balls under the skin! His eyes were clear and he did not look as if he was on drugs. His clothes were clean too. His story was that he was on kidney dialysis and had just come out of the hospital find his car had been towed away! He now needed to find $3 more for his rail ticket home to Lancaster! And you guessed it Alan actually gave him the $3!! We think he was conned, but it was a good trick.

After the Mint we were pooped and so made our way slowly back to the station and home. We leave you with the thought for the day which we passed. We think Alan is ready for some now too.