Our Trip to Philadelphia, PA, 9/22-9/25/16
or
The "Program To Get Merle To Take A Walk By Flying Her To Another City."
After we checked in to the hotel, we went to an indoor farmer's market at the Reading (pronounced redding) Terminal to gorge ourselves on the sights and have some tasty food.
And of course, I had to have some ice cream from  their locally famous Bassets, in business since 1861.
After eating, we headed down...on foot!!!...to the historic district and saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and had a walking tour where we were the only two on the tour and got to ask all our questions!
Independence Hall in the background is where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Constituion was written.
As we were walking back to our hotel, which was just adjacent to Chinatown, I told Merle that the translation of that sign was
"Welcome Merle!"
:)
Next day, we visited Longwood Gardens, which was very pretty and more walking...for you know who!
Either:
Merle's phone rang and she answered the plant...
or
she was listening to hear what the plant was telling her...
or
she was checking if she could hear the ocean.
There was an Italian Water Garden with lots of different coordinated fountains that was really pretty.
They had a conservatory with tons of different plants from all around the world.  
 
Check out the size of the lilly pads behind us.
Since the weather patterns include freezing in the winter, and the staff was explaining how they drain the ponds and what they have to do to maintain the tubers to grow new lilly pads each successive year.  
A lot of work is needed to maintain such a place.
An indoor view near one of their water features, which was adjacent to a massive pipe organ which also had a small exhibition of sorts.  Very beautiful.
Even the bathrooms were uniquely arranged.  There was a semicircular hallway with plant covered walls, and each of these doors was its own unisex bathroom, with about 20 of them there.  
 
It was a perfect place for Merle to practice a move from her ballet called
"I gots to go!"
Next day, we took a walk up Franklin Parkway, an area with lots of museums.
Here we stop at the fountain in Logan Circle (also heard it referred to as Logan Square...so which is it!!!) where we are quickly schooled that anyone volunteering to take our picture has a high chance of following up the act with a short speech about their homelessness and then enter a plea for money.
We had a quick stop in the Free Library of Philadelphia, looking for that book by author
I. P. Freely.
At the end of the Franklin Parkway are the steps that Sylvester Stallone ran up in the movie "Rocky" in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Although I had heard the statue of Rocky was at the top of the steps, it's off to the side.
While I channel the spirit of Rocky Balboa, Merle fights for her right to drink great coffee!
...which then helps her sprint up the steps!!!
The inside of the museum was quite amazing as well, and this is just the lobby.
Merle felt inspired, here by Degas
...and here by the armor exhibit.
(how did they go to the bathroom in those things!!)
They had a lot of amazing and famous works there.
This painting by Van Gogh has been seen widely.
One of the tour guides noted that Van Gogh licked his brushes, and some of the paints had lead, so make of that what you will....
After the art museum, we walked across town back to the historic district to catch the last tour of Independence Hall, here seeing where the first Congress met.
Here's the back side of Independence Hall, and I have to suspect that the office building to the right was not there back in the day.
Now back to our regular life!!
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