Philadelphia or bust!

When I was accepted into grad school, I found out that there was an 'Accepted Students' day in the middle of May that I could attend to get a better feel for the school and Philadelphia in general. Since all three schools I applied to were in Philadelphia, I decided visiting would probably be a good idea.

On Wednesday, Courtney, my mom, and I flew out and met Courtney's mom in Philadelphia. It was my first time flying in a couple of years, so I was nervous. After the first of three takeoffs and landings I was fine. Flying isn't too bad, the flight attendants bring you drinks and snacks and it's uninterrupted knitting time.

We flew from Sacramento to San Diego (didn't get off), to Nashville, to Philadelphia. We were in a holding pattern before landing in Nashville and I was so worried we were going to miss our connection. We didn't. In fact, when we landed my mom had enough time to go to the bathroom and buy Nashville mugs from Starbucks.

Since our flights were a bit delayed we didn't get to the hotel until almost midnight. Unfortunately the hotel screwed up our reservation and they didn't have the correct type of room for us. We ended up in a room with a Murphy bed and a pull out couch. Ick. We were able to move rooms in the morning and our first night ended up being comped along with free breakfast every morning.

On Thursday, our first full day there, we walked around trying to figure out the general layout of the city. We took the subway to the area where I'd be attending to school to scout out possible apartments. I was definitely not used to the humidity.

We also visited Eastern State Penitentiary, which was the highlight of the trip for my mom. Although I must admit, it was pretty interesting and I loved learning about how influential this place was in the development of our country's prisons. 

Friday was my 'Accepted Students' day. Unfortunately it was raining, so we caught a cab from the hotel to the school. We had a bit of trouble finding the right building so by the time we got inside we were completely soaked.

Although I was still iffy on the city of Philadelphia, I'm actually really glad I attended the event. It was informative and helped me imagine my future in Philadelphia. We were able to meet faculty, learn more about the program, and take a tour of the campus. Not to mention, they fed us a pretty good lunch!

Saturday, we were in full on apartment hunting mode. We called so many different apartment complexes and rode public transportation all over the city looking at different areas with no luck. Needless to say, at the end of the day I was tired and grumpy.

On Sunday we got to visit some of the touristy places. We started off at Independence Hall. Although we had a horrible, rude, demeaning tour guide, I'm still glad we went. It's crazy to think about how long that building has been there and that our country was born inside.

[Note: Every other tour guide/park ranger we encountered was just the opposite, polite and helpful.]

Next up and across the street was the Liberty Bell, one of my favorite parts. I had been looking forward to seeing the Liberty Bell for such a long time. It was pretty busy when we went, so I didn't get to read all the information before you see the actual bell. I guess I'll have to go back!

Then we headed to Reading Terminal Market for some food. I loved looking at all the stalls full of fresh produce, prepared foods, baked goods, and crafts. Since we went on a Sunday, none of the Amish stalls were open. Courtney and I ended up getting lunch from Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties and all the vegan desserts we could find from Metropolitan Bakery and Flying Monkey Bakery.

That night we discovered City Tavern, a period tavern, near our hotel. We stopped in, mainly to see the costumes, and ordered the bread sampler. All the recipes were from the time period as well. We must have been loopy when we were there because it was definitely an 'experience'.

 Monday we looked at apartments and finally found one! Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continually inhabited residential street in America.

We only had a few hours to spare on Tuesday before heading back home, but we put them to good use by visiting Christ Church, the Betsy Ross House, and the US Mint.

Christ Church was so pretty, even if there are people buried under the floor. The coolest part was that all the founding fathers attended this church! They had their own pews, so the guide pointed them out to us. 

We took the audio tour at the Betsy Ross house, which was pretty interesting, although crowded.

Another one of my favorite parts of the trip was the U.S. Mint. We couldn't take pictures inside, but it was so cool to see how U.S. currency is made. I rushed through the last little bit, so I definitely have plans to come back.

Then it was off to the airport! This time our layover was in Denver. We rushed to the Starbucks in the airport to look for mugs, but they were closing up. At first they refused to sell us the mugs, but we convinced them to open up the register. Needless to say, we left a nice tip.

I was exhausted when we finally got home around midnight, but so glad that we went.

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