I’ve enjoyed every city I’ve been in so far – all for completely different reasons. But I really liked Philadelphia, and am a little gutted I only gave myself one full day to explore.
What a busy, packed, day it was!
As a pseudo history fiend, I made a beeline down to the Independence National Historic Park first thing in the morning. With my breath billowing out in big clouds in front of me, I walked the short mile for my hotel and enjoyed looking around at the locals on their way to work.
People watching is one of the best things about travelling. You can’t really know a place until you get a better understand of the lives and habits of the people who live there.
The Independence Hall tour and Liberty Bell exhibit were fantastic. Not knowing much about American history beyond ‘there was a revolution‘, ‘there was a civil war‘ and Abraham Lincoln was not a particularly attractive man, the rangers were extremely helpful and I left knowing a lot more than when I first arrived. I’d consider that a success, wouldn’t you?
The National Constitution Centre, outside the Park, took a completely different approach. It was great that everyone is introduced to a high level summary of events leading up to the drafting of the constitution with a presentation in the theatre. From there, visitors are guided upstairs to the interactive timeline displays. The centre has embraced modern technology, and have done it well. But I left the centre, as a non-American, feeling like I had been bombarded with nationalist propaganda. Especially the initial presentation.
I’m all for national pride! If you’ve got it, good for you! But as a visitor to the country I found the overly emotive spin to be quite alienating. And paid $14.50 for the privilege.
The Rangers at the Independence National Historic Park (Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc) did a much better, clearer, factual job and didn’t appear overtly biased at any stage. Kudos to them. Rangers – you made my day!
I wandered the streets after that, not so interested in the various museums as I was with getting to know ‘the lay of the land‘ in the area I was staying.
Philadelphia, your City Hall is gorgeous!
You have so many beautiful buildings. And people.
I’ve never seen so many people smiling in the cold before!