Monday, 22 September 2014

Very last day in America

Bags packed and in the locker room in hotel as my flight isn't until 10.15pm. Was up early to check in and seats changed. Breakfast eaten and out on the streets. Lot to fit in today. Decided to go to the Ben Franklin Institute, science Museum as they have a brain and heart that you can walk through! 
It was only a ten minute walk from the hotel and I was there before they opened. It's a huge building, 

      This is just the entrance hall. It has a video showing on the side walls.

wanted to walk through the heart but was disappointed to find out that it was out of action and was having a new valve fitted!
So off to the brain. This was a truly amazing exhibition, covered all aspects as to how the brain works with a lot of interactive things to play with.

 Couldn't imagine how they would build a brain to be climbed inside. This is it.

When they climbed on certain discs the colours changed.  The children thought it was wonderful. Not sure they understood how it worked though. Bit of a tight fit for adults.

Did quite well on this reaction test.

This was a room of tests, using all parts of the brain. These were excellent for children and adults alike.

This was a fun shopping centre full of tests.  A young boy, no idea who he belonged to, asked me if I wanted to go in a strange house with him. It was one of those that you sit in. Strapped in, lights off and door closed. You sit still. The room rocks and you are most quite sure which part is moving Can make you feel a bit sick but you only have to close your eyes.  I have been in one before, the boy thought it was wonderful! 
Came out of there and looked up and saw this young girl cycling way up across the room,

Was all to do with gravity.

Kids loved his.

There was a room all about trains..

Didn't know this went to Philadelphia. Also had a huge assembly shop...

Loved the space exhibition and played at getting these on the ceiling.

Just managed to get in the planetarium for the sky tonight showing. Was marvellous with a very funny commentator.
 Fired up by that I decided I would go up to the top floor to the observatory.

They were so thrilled to see me. It was 1 pm and I was the first person to go up there. Wasn't sure what I would see in the daylight but I actually saw three sun spots.

Seriously thinking this might be a new hobby, but found it very difficult to recognise the formation of stars but I suppose that comes with practice.

The man in the background is a volunteer and made me feel like a celebrity. He couldn't stop talking!
Suppose I made him feel it was worth while getting out of bed that day!

Spent longer than planned there of course, but earlier it had felt like autumn was in the air and I didn't mind being inside so much.  Now it was hot again. the Rodin museum. This is the other side of the Parkway.  As I said yesterday horrible to cross but managed it of course and strolled down to the museum, I had no time to go in  (I regret not going in) but I wanted to get a photograph of this

                                                    The Thinker

And this 

The tour guide on the bus had told us that a lot of wedding photographs are taken in the grounds of this museum and I could see why but she made us laugh when she said fhat Rodin's piece of work in the entrance is called 

The Gates of Hell!  

Passed Joan of Arc, a statue that doesn't impress the locals and is referred to as Joan on her pony, they would have liked the horse to have longer legs!

It was getting very late for lunch and not a cafe in sight so I had to walk towards town where I spied a little cafe in Logan Square. Couldn't see it at first for the 

This as all the others I've seen is pretty spectacular.....if you like fountains, and I do! Of course it entailed crossing the major roads again but that was Ok because a young man and his dog asked me if I knew where the ice shaving machine was! That one I couldn't help him with but as we were talking I followed him across the road. Didn't matter where he was going but fortunately he sort of thought it might be near the fountain. Don't know if he ever found it because I stopped to take photographs.

Had a good old cheese toastie in the cafe! 

Very impressed with this by the cafe and also this for the children to paddle in.

I started off a little bit indifferent to Philadelphia but the more I walked the more I liked, except when I walked back to 

Love Square. Another fountain behind it.

We had passed it on the bus but very quickly and she said they had music there every afternoon. Not this afternoon!

There was a sort of demonstration. Just these three with few people sitting around listening. There were two policemen there keeping an eye on them but the other one on their mobiles!

At first these three made me smile especially the one talking and the one with the bible, who couldn't read very well and was shouting. However, after a while I started to feel uncomfortable with what they were saying. Mostly about hating white people and said with such venom.

Oh...... He was there as well!

That must have annoyed them as he stood straight in front of them as they kept saying that Jesus was a black man.....

Later to be seen posing with some schoolgirls.....

This is quite a nice park to go to in the daytime but dont think I would venture there at night.

Just one more thing to do before I go back to collect my bags and head off and that is a walk to Chinatown to get a photograph of the gate.

That was the nicest thing about Chinatown, the rest was a bit jaded!!

Couldn't forget good old William Penn, after all he was English and the city is named after him!

It's quite a spectacular building.

By this time I had been on my feet for seven hours practically and I was bushed so I was glad to get back to the hotel for a coffee and biscuits that are always in the foyer. Before long I was in the shuttle and on my way to the airport. Bit of an horrendous drive with me hanging onto the seatbelt, Ephram was in a hurry I think. Didn't need to be for me I had plenty of time to kill so planned on blog catch up. Typically the wifi at the airport was undergoing upgrade so I gave up! 

On the aeroplane the captain said that as there were quite forceful winds that would be behind us, would possibly be 40 mins early landing. Great news.... But would my son be there or would I be sitting around? 
I sat on the aisle seat and there wa a charming South African man sitting by the window, we were keeping our fingers crossed that the middle seat had not been taken and it hadn't so gave us a little more room. What a difference it made!  Managed to sleep for a couple of hours but  got woken up for a drink at 2.45 ( 7.45 our time) and breakfast.
We did land early and son was there!  

So off we set and I couldn't wait to get home. Home.... We were in England and of course we got stuck in a bad, bad, traffic jam on M25 and M1.  Couldn't understand why it was so bad, Sally traffic told us it was because the A 509 was closed at Milton Keynes. Closed???    From behind came the  be bah be bah. Must have been an accident, but no it was the bomb disposal lorry???   Daughter in law was needing the car for 1.30 chance and she thought we were joking when we said the bomb disposal lorry had come past.  So... Which way to go.. Try to get on A5... Everyone else thought the same! Eventually.... 3 hours later we arrived home and grandson told us that a bomb had been found in a car on the A509.   Welcome to England!  It's still the best place to be though!

My travelling journey/adventure has now ended. It wasn't just travelling it was a personal test and I'm pleased with the outcome. What a lot of wonderful memories. I've enjoyed every minute and now wouldn't hesitate to travel on my own.  I've met a lot of people, found great relatives and missed my music! lol Five weeks was long enough I think. I did think at times my schedule was too full. Although if I went for longer I wouldn't do everything at such a pace and would take more time off to chill. I've also taken nearly 3,000 photos but I suspect that when I get them uploaded onto the computer I shall delete quite a few. Thank you all for reading the blog, last time I looked there had been nearly 2500 reviews! I am amazed.  It's been fun to do but sometimes I've sat in bed needing matchsticks to prop my eyes open!
Sorry for spelling mistakes and punctuation mistakes I have re read and seen them! 
You never know there might be another one ..but for now I need sleep!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The last city-Philadelphia first day.

My first impression of Philadelphia - Amtrak station as rather nice. once outside noticed the temperature was lower! Soon in a cab and crossing the Schuylkill river, very busy, but interesting skyline. Had treated myself to a plush hotel, thought I might need to be central and have amenities, although I have to say all the hotels have been excellent.  It was right in the middle of what I wanted to see so didn't take a bus once except the hop on hop off, which I didn't ! It was a very pleasant ride around the city.  
Must admit the afternoon I arrived I was shattered and decided to eat in the hotel and plan my next day.
Liberty bell was a must so had my breakfast, picked up a breakfast to go (lunch) and set off for a viewing.  Decidedly cooler in Philly down to about 75. Lovely. Only half a mile. Had to queue for a short while and when I got in there had my bag searched and had to full twirl!  Quite funny seeing everyone doing that.
It had a massive viewing hall with much information and it's clear how this bell has become so important to the American people over the years.  In the fight for women's votes, obviously the slave abolition

and the treatment of the Native Americans.

The bell itself sits at the end of the long information hall and it took me a while to get a photograph of it as many wanted to have their photograph standing against it! 

As I came out the museum and walked around the corner the police! 

and these park rangers were all over the place, with guns!

Anyway, I had a lot to see in my last two days, but where? Had fallen asleep while planning my schedule the night before!  I had though decided not to go on a bus trip and set off towards the Delaware River, just down the road. Well I got accosted by a hop on hop off guide and before I knew where I was I was on top of the bus.  The only thing with being on the top you have to keep ducking your head or else you get whipped by the overhanging branches. Glad I did though our guide was excellent and talked at such a speed, to fit everything in I guess

We didn't go down this street it's so tiny, the houses are no more than 16 feet wide.

                                                     Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

.. It was a very good tour although everything I wanted to see was all within walking distance. Everything noted, I got off and started to do it all on foot.   
Forgetting about the river as we had driven past and it didn't look very exciting, although apparently a lot goes on there in the summer, decided it was  lunch time, again, ( I had already eaten the breakfast to go) so decided to give the Reading Terminal Market a try. It is a huge indoor market, with I don't know how many restaurants and shops in it.
I could have had my shoes shined but as I was wearing my suede walking sandals decided to give it a miss!

Smuckers is the name of the leading family in Intercourse, (lots of Amish shops in the market) who own pretty much of Bird-in- Hand and the Motel I stayed in at Intercourse.

Decisions, decisions, but as I was deciding what to have I was drawn towards the sound of a piano being playing. I chose my Pretzel jumbo cheese dog. I didn't really fancy it but decided I had to try something very American!  Actually it wasn't that jumbo but it was delicious.  Just a hot dog sausage covered in a thin pastry and when bitten into it had a delicious runny cheese!
Went and sat where the piano player was and happily sat listening to him.

I wasn't going to put this in the blog but I still can't get over it. Telepathy or what! He sat playing about and deciding what he was going to play next and I had been thinking I would ask him to play Satin Doll which is a big jazzy favourite tune of mine and that's exactly what he did. (Without me asking!). Have to admit I've heard it played better but good never the less. Going to try this wave sending again!
The architecture in Philly is a real jumbled mix. Beautiful old buildings, some horrible modern buildings which don't necessarily go together..  But I like sculptures,  meaningful or whacky!

                                                         The clothes spin.

Been there since 1976. Supposed to depict "The Kiss" by Constantin Beancusi, which is in Philadelphia Museum of Art, which I didn't get to.

                             All those steps!

                                        The 13 Whispering Bells

In honour of Christus Attucks who on March 5th 1770 was killed by British troops in Boston while protecting conditions under the crown.
These whisperings grew into the crescendo of the Declaration of Independance and the first ringing of the Liberty Bell in Independance Hall.

Little known about Christus Attucks, but was probably a slave or freeman.

I noticed that when we drove down Benjamin Parkway there were the flags of I suppose all the countries. A very nice touch. 
 This parkway is a mile long road obviously with parks all the way down. Also the museums and a huge Free library. It cuts straight across city. 
 For a road it is very attractive, but one of the worst I have crossed in America. (Did that the next day) Normally there are the hands stopping you and the white go but here there are five (some of them four laned) roads converging, and it does remind you of the Champs Élysées, not quite as bad, and some have the normal signals and some have traffic lights and you stand there totally mesmerised ! Are the traffic lights for me, now which side of the road are the cars coming from, where are they going, is this a one way street and so on. I stood so long on one corner that a waiting car driver pipped at me and waved me over, leaned out of his car and said, it is a bit confusing isn't it?  For me, who is a bit prone to just stepping off the curb and following the locals when the sign is on red, Yes it was!

I noticed this place at the bottom of 12th which was a five minute walk from hotel, so mentally took note of that for the evening meal! 

Favourite place of daughter number two and myself when travelling together shortly after Alan died. We decided we would visit as many as we could. Well Carly, sat and listed the ones I've been in whilst waiting for my meal that evening and that was my 8th. 4 with you.
Always have the ribs with country style beans, fries and coleslaw.  Was a bit disappointed with this one, they put peppers in the beans. Oh no, couldn't eat them. Another mental note, ask Virginia for the recipe of the beans at her celebration! 
I thought I was in luck because a band was setting up and I thought I would have live music. Then they disappeared for ages so I bought a coffee so I might still be there when they started. It turned out to be different bands playing one song each and they weren't very good, so drank the coffee I didn't really want, bill paid, and off back to the hotel and because I had to walk under the convention centre and it was a bit empty and dark walked an extra block to get round it!
The telly was much better!