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Yesterday in Philadelphia was all about the food, so today we dedicated ourselves to discovering the role that Philadelphia has played in US history. Both of us knew about the main attractions/events like the Liberty Bell and the signing of the Constitution, but we were actually very surprised to understand just how much of the American way of life is revealed in the city.

The morning started with a spontaneous walk through Chinatown. As Dani was taking shots of the friendship gate, I was eavesdropping on a pair of women – one black, mid-40s, the other Chinese-American, early 70s – discussing the plight of the Irish during the potato famine, each of their relatives who passed through Ellis Island, and current immigration policies. All this in the heart of Chinatown on a Wednesday morning.
The architecture of the charming buildings throughout the Old City and South Philly are gorgeous, and we were both so interested in the similarity to the streets of some neighborhoods of London.

philadelphia brick housesPhilly is very tourist-friendly, and in addition to what must be a multi-million dollar Independence Visitors Center, these Walk! Philadelphia signs guided us around the city. What caught our eye about these signs is just how much they represent the principles on which America was founded. The religious freedom which attracted both the Quakers like Mr. Penn who founded Pennsylvania and Jewish settlers is prevalent, along with the melting pot of cultures in Philly which are celebrated prominently alongside a more textbook look at American history, including like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center and the U.S. Mint.


Philly is also playful, artistic and cosmopolitan… the mosaics, the street art, and music played on so many street corners, like Geoffrey here outside of Reading Terminal Market…

In the end and above all else….Philly is still, for us, a foodie paradise! We finally had one of those delicious Philly pretzels that came highly recommended to us – so good!

And before we left Philadelphia for Washington DC, we stopped to eat again at the Reading Terminal Market. We loved the variety of food there – Classic Philly cheese steaks (not for us vegetarians though), quite possibly the world’s best cookies, Mexican, Vegan, Indian and this very funny fish restaurant below.

No question about it – we will definitely be back in Philadelphia again one day soon! The city is a historical gem and a true reflection of the melting pot that is America! We write tonight from Washington, DC. We’ll be exploring the nation’s capital for the next two days, so stay tuned for more about our Great American Road Trip 2011 as we make our way from New York to New Orleans.

What should we do in DC? Let us know must-sees and must-dos on our Facebook page, or tweet us!

Tags : Great American Road TripNYC2NOLAphiladelphiaphilly

7 Comments

    1. Thanks Rodney! Philly really surprised us – in a good way! We had no idea that it was such a great city.

      I can highly recommend starting your trip at Niagara Falls, even though it is quite a bit out of the way, but the Falls were just stunning. If you go, make sure to see them from the Canadian side, the views from the American site were not as good. You can even walk over to the Canadian side on a foot bridge – just bring your passport 🙂

  1. It looks like you were in Society Hill, or somewhere around South Street (street with flag). Yes, parts of Philly look like neighborhoods of London – most of the houses in this neighborhood were build shortly after we decided not to be Brits anymore 🙂

    Those pretzels are jumping off the page – nice picture! I hope they lived up to the hype I was spreading.

    You are heading to two areas we also lived in – DC and New Orleans (I actually lived in Baton Rouge, but close enough – my wife lived in New Orleans). We were only in DC for less than 2 years, so I can’t really give you any tips there – I would say to see all the museums you are interested in.

    As for New Orleans, we spent a combined 11 years in that area, so we know it well. Some things have changed, but we go back every year for Mardi Gras. You thought Philly was a foodie town?… you are in for a treat with New Orleans. I think it has the best food in the nation – if you like flavorful food. If you want some recommendations there, let me know. You could do a search for New Orleans on our blog, and you’ll see where we go.
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    1. Don, thanks so much for pointing out your New Orleans posts – we will definitely check them out before we get there! We’re so excited to finally visit New Orleans.

      The Pretzels did live up to our expectations – absolutely! The honey mustard dip that came with it was also delicious. And thanks for telling us about the Italian Market, we would’ve never found it if you hadn’t told us about it.

      1. Dani – Glad I didn’t let you down… since German pretzels are so good. The Philly pretzels are kind of bready, but I like that as an alternative to a round soft pretzel.

        Did you have a chance to speak in German to some of the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch in the Reading Terminal Market? I’m guessing they don’t speak the exact German you speak (just like we don’t speak just like the British).
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        1. Hi Don, I actually tried to start a conversation with the Amish girls who sold fudge in Reading Terminal Market, but they were not very talkative 😉 I really wanted to find out if I’d be able to understand the ‘Low German’ they speak. Maybe we’ll come across some of the Amish in Illinois when we make our way north to Chicago…

          P.S. I actually preferred the Philly pretzels to German pretzels, because ours are so big. The ones in Philly were much smaller and they were also fresh out of the oven… mmmmmh 🙂

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