Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Quick Stop in Philly

We jumped on the mega bus from New York, and headed south to Philadelphia. It’s only 3 hours from New York, which meant we would be in Philly by lunch time.  People would ask us before this trip, why Philadelphia? and the answer is simple. After a hectic 5 days in New York, we needed some relaxation time and it was also a good half way point to our next stop, Washington DC.  But don’t get me wrong there is still plenty of things to see and do in Philly.  If you ever find yourself in Philadelphia for 24 hours, there are a couple of things you absolutely must do. 

The first “Must-Do" is to run up the famous “Rocky Steps”, as seen in the movie. As cheesy as it sounds, you can’t help but laugh and have fun doing it.  As Cara and I arrived in Philly, we dropped our bags at our hotel, and headed straight for the Philadelphia Museum of Art to conquer the famous 72-step climb.  The steps have now become an icon of the city and attract thousands of tourists every year. We made our way down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and straight away we could see the steps in the distance. Once we reached the steps, we were surprised to find not to many other people were mimicking the sprint up to the top.  So we had the steps mostly to ourselves.  Cara and I took it in turns to make our way to the top, laughing and smiling the whole way. You can’t help but get into the mood and sing the Rocky theme as you reach the end of the steps. Once we conquered the climb, we had the chance to stop and take in the view over the city on a gorgeous day in of Philadelphia. 

Once we departed from the steps is was time to relax, so we headed to “Old town”, a part of Philly which is famous for Independence Hall and also being the home of our second “Must-Do”, which was having a famous “Philly Cheese-Steak”. The cheese steak was a concept which was invented in Philadelphia, but it’s now a popular meal served all across America. As we explored Old Town, we found a local bar which was advertising the Philly Cheese Steak (along with a very appealing happy hour), so we decided to set up camp for the afternoon, sit outside and enjoying the warm 30 degree day.  As you can see by the photo, the Cheese Steak is not the most attractive looking meal, and in true American style, it’s far from the healthiest. It is basically a baguette, filled with shaved steak, and diced fried onions, topped with melted cheese and served with more than your average serving of fries. Cara and I figured we’d earnt it, after our run up the Rocky Steps, so we were looking forward to this Philly tradition.  I also decided to try one of the local brews sold in many bars around Philadelphia, the “Yards Pale Ale”.  The Yards Brewing company is a local Philly company which began in 1994, when friends Tom Kehoe and Joe Bovit decided to mass produce their Ale, after having been home brewing since 1988. At first they were only able to produce 6 kegs at a time, making the beer very exclusive. When demand increased and popularity grew, Tom and Joe were forced to move to another much bigger brew house, just outside Philadelphia and began mass producing their beers.  The Pale ale is a solid well rounded beer consisting of clean and crisp flavours. It has a slight citrus aroma and after taste. It is easily one of the most popular beers in Philadelphia and you can tell that there is a lot of local pride when it comes to the Yards range of beers.  

As we spent our afternoon, relaxing, eating our cheese steaks and drinking yards beers, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to chill out after the hustle and bustle of New York City. Philadelphia is probably not on the list of must see places when coming to America, but it does have a lot to offer. It was the perfect stop-over on our way to Washington DC. 

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