On one of our last days in Philadelphia, we went to breakfast with one of my longest-time friends, Joey, who I've known since I was a freshman in high school. Joey and I meet up for breakfast every time I'm in town at my favorite Philadelphia breakfast spot, Sabrina's, which is located in the heart of the famous Philadelphia Italian Market that I've written about before. I really like the food because of the variety of ingredients they use but, really, the portion sizes are scary! I took this photo of Joey, my dad, Diana, and I right after we ate but before we all slipped into food comas!
After breakfast, my dad dropped Diana and I off down the street from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence (from England) and the Constitution of the United States were both written and adopted. It's also the where parts of the unfortunate Nicolas Cage movie, National Treasure, took place. Regardless, it's cool to go inside to see how they've recreated the main meeting room to look just like it did when they signed the Declaration.
Across the street from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell pavilion. The Liberty Bell, originally hung in the tower of Independence Hall, was made as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of William Penn's (the founder of Pennsylvania) original constitution for the state. We didn't end up going inside during this trip because there was a HUGE line of people waiting to get in so I'm using a photo from when we were there last Thanksgiving (note that, at the time, Independence Hall, in the background, was undergoing renovations):
After leaving the Independence Mall area, we walked down Chestnut street all the way to Penn's Landing. From this spot, you can see the temporary ice skating rink, the Delaware River, the Ben Franklin bridge, and New Jersey on the other side:
Diana and I had visited many of the local sites last year so we didn't really have a plan of what to see and do during this trip. From Penn's Landing, we walked over to the Philadelphia Mint, which is one of the locations where they make U.S. coins. I had never gone to the Mint so I was excited to finally get to go in.
The tour is just okay with lots of displays of old coins, which I guess is appropriate, but the highlight, for me, was being able to look down on the production floor of the factory. You can see the incoming rolls of raw materials, the stamping operation where the blanks are made, the machines where the images are pressed into the blanks, and the finishing operations. Unfortunately, they don't give out samples AND you can't take photos inside because I guess they don't want people to be able to make their own money or something... Who knows. Oh, and yes, it was COLD that day.
We then walked up to the Reading Terminal Market, which is a large food market located in an old train terminal. It's similar to, but a much larger version of, the Lancaster Central Market. Every time I go there it's packed with people eating lunch, buying food, or just checking out the scenery. We were still stuffed from breakfast but not enough to avoid eating some cookies from the Famous 4th Street Cookie Company, which you can see on the right side of this photo:
By this time, it was getting later in the afternoon and we needed to get to the train to go back to my dad's house. On the way, we went through City Hall, which houses some of the city government of Philadelphia. When growing up in Philadelphia, I never noticed the architecture of the building but, after visiting France, and Paris specifically, I now appreciate the French-style architecture.
What's not readily apparent in the photo above is that there's something special about the statue of William Penn on top of the tower. If you stand in the nearby J.F.K. Plaza and look up, you'll notice Willie is quite the man:
Across the street from City Hall is J.F.K. Plaza, which is more commonly known as Love Park for the famous LOVE sculpture that you'll find there. I wrote about Love Park after visiting a similar park when I was in Peru last year. Oh, and my mom worked in that brick building just behind the sculpture for many years.
Thanks to my dad, family, and friends for making our visit to Philadelphia such a good time. We love and miss you guys a ton! See you soon!