The City of Brotherly Love! (08/14/03)

Last updated 09/05/03                                                                                                                                     Russian Translation Here           

First off I want to apologize for the long time it's taking us to catch up on the blogging, but we're pretty busy just trying to see stuff (and relax in between) so we end up with less time to finish these blogs. That said, onto the blog...

Did I mention how much I hate driving in cities? I've probably got a rant about city driving in another blog, but I could never complain enough, so here goes... I hate driving in cities, wanna know the reasons? 1. Horrible streets, and Philly is no exception. 2. Clueless and reckless drivers -- I find that cabbies and bus-drivers generally fall into the later category. 3. Indifferent pedestrians -- can people tell the difference between the little white walking guy and the red "DONT WALK" sign? Do they have trouble distinguishing red from green -- as in I have a "green" light not a "red" one, and hence have right-of-way at the intersection?? Anyway, Philadelphia, being a true city, shared this trait with all other fine cities including SF, NY, and DC (us networking types love acronyms, though these aren't TLAs..)

We stayed at a motel in Valley Forge, instead of Philly proper, and so we started our day by visiting some of the historic sights in Valley Forge National Park before heading out to the city of brotherly love. A little aside -- while trying to get to the motel at night, I accidentally turned into the park (it's actually off a major street near a business center with a bunch of office buildings nearby) and we got to see several deer just hanging out while I clumsily made my way to the park exit. Valley Forge is where General (not yet president) George Washington and the revolutionary army camped (we're talking REAL camping, not easy KOA style) for the winter. There were several trails (we didn't go on any due to intense heat and lack of time) and plenty of old buildings from the winter encampment (shown below). We also got to see a little documentary on why Valley Forge is an important historic place -- basically the US army became a determined fighting unit starting at Valley Forge and Washington showed leadership and courage which would become his hallmark. After leaving valley forge, we got to see a lot of historic stuff in the old historic section of Philadelphia. We saw Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Now you have to go through a whole security checkpoint, so be sure to leave your Leathermen, switchblades, and all other sharp objects behind before you decide to visit (I had to make a trip to the car because I left such items in my daypack). We also took a look at the Liberty Bell -- yup, it's cracked just like my history textbook said it was, and ended the day by taking a walk along Penn's Landing where you can still see moored boats to this day.


               Valley Forge is an interesting historic place, but architecture sucks.

                                Independence Hall.

                  Liberty Bell and Penn's Landing, places of no bathrooms.