Philadelphia is such a proud city. I could tell all the owners of the shops were happy to serve such a unique community. Red and blue lights lit up buildings to show off Philles colors and everywhere you looked were red caps. I walked out of the station in Philly and headed down Market Street.
I started seeing an older building fill my view and the street ahead of me. It was City Hall, a ghostly building because of the way it just glowed in the center of the road. It was very dimly lit and I would spend a great amount of time over the next few days staring at this great building.
I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton with Steve, a friend of mine. He left a key with me downstairs and I made my way up to my room. Despite the fact that I'm not used to such high class amenities, I liked the hotel. It was definitely quite a change from my earlier street corners and grassy areas. Steve came home from work shortly after I arrived and we decided that we would kick my first night off right with some legendary Philly Cheesesteaks.
We took a taxi to "Pat's King of Steaks" and ordered a few cheesesteaks. I ordered one pizza steak and one pizza steak with prove and wiz. Not only was there apparently an art to making the steaks but also ordering. There were signs posted directing tourists how to do so correctly. I went over the top ordering and sadly, I waved my tourist flag.
I did a lot of walking in Philadelphia, and because of this I rarely felt full at anytime during the trip. After the two steaks I could have gone for another but I decided that it was probably best for my heart to wait a day.
We made it back home and I formed a bed out of chairs and an extra blanket. I slept like a baby and it felt good getting a full nights sleep after D.C. When I woke up, I grabbed my camera bag and headed out — it felt great not to have all that extra weight.
This was the first time on my trip that I was able to leave my house bag at home. I felt light as a feather, walked twice as fast and covered a lot more ground. It was more of the same, but Philly introduced me to something that would change my trip and lighten my wallet: her shops. I shot less and enjoyed myself more.
After being all about the photos of the trip, my first day in Philly was all about taking in the culture and the views. I snagged a few images but mainly walked about town. When I got home Steve and I went out to Marathon Grill for New York strip steaks.
The next day I spent it with Mr. Liam Lawlor (@llawlor) and we started off with breakfast at Marathon Grill. We ate and, as I said earlier, I have an appetite that cannot be tamed. I mentioned jokingly that I could do a steak over at Pats after barely finishing breakfast. Next thing I knew we were at Pats ordering another epic steak.
We cruised north along the river and we discussed where he and sister could drop me off. We checked out Mount Pleasant and then headed to Strawberry Mansion. The mansion was being restored but they dropped me off there anyway and I ventured toward some abandoned buildings.
After being scared by the local wildlife (people), I headed to Fairmont Park. I walked next to the river and enjoyed the sun setting over the water. Before it set I made my way back to the mansion on Pleasant Hill. I walked behind the mansion and discovered some train tracks, I know they are cliche but these tracks were hidden in the bushes.
I made my way from the tracks and up to the mansion on Mount Pleasant. Up the hill, covered with autumn leaves, I spotted the place I had seen once before. The small road leading up the mansion had trees on both sides leaning over it. I started walking up the road looking all around and I noticed the sun bursting from behind the mansion. I made my way over there and spent a good deal of time laying in the grass snapping images. One thing I love is that in all these places I was the only one in sight so I could just sit and stare without interruption. I did this often, probably a bit too often.
After daydreaming for a while, I headed south toward the river once again. I enjoyed my walk home and the city over the water where the sun was still casting its golden light. I eventually arrived home and did nothing but rest. I wanted to do more but that day had been one of the longest walks yet.
My last day in Philadelphia was spent doing laundry and eating more pizza, well, for the most part. I didn't even pull my camera out until the sun was about set. Honestly, I was shopping and loving it. I'm sure I will regret this later but, oh well. I spent the night roaming the streets with my tripod and 24mm 2.8. I shot alleys, cobblestone streets, telephone booths and things I thought were interesting. I did this all while of course wearing my new fashionable jacket which a guy at Wendy's apparently liked a lot.
I made it home for my last night's sleep on a desk chair/ottoman/seat in the lovely city of Philadelphia. I woke up in the morning, packed my backs and headed to the station. The station was 15 blocks away and every block hurt with the new weight of my bag. But I love my new stuff so much, which will keep reminding myself.
New York City here I come!