I've lived in Pennsylvania for almost five and a half years and so it pains me a bit to say that I've never truly explored Philly. The first time I went to Philly was for a Charlotte Martin concert (my fave artist), the second time was for last year's Rock and Roll Philly half marathon, and finally this April for another Charlotte Martin concert - her final :''''( since she's decided not to tour anymore. The first time I went to Philly to watch her in concert I drove back to SC that same night and the trip was torture with an almost ticket included so this time I figured I'd spent the night and use it as an excuse to have a mini trip in Philly. I'm so glad I did! and also I'm so bummed I didn't do it before. I arrived Saturday afternoon and it was raining so I didn't do much. Took the train to my hostel (yes, I stay in hostels, and there are lots of pros and cons to them), looked for a place to have lunch (2nd Story Brewery - 4 stars), and checked in. I then took the train to the venue where the concert was at - World Cafe Live, which is a wonderful venue for small concerts, and barely got a seat! The concert was opened by Rorie, nice vocals, still young. Then came time for CharMar's performance which was quite emotional and wonderful as usual. I was exhausted after that so head right back to sleep.
Sunday I woke up early and decided to just walk. I normally travel alone, mainly because most of my trips are work related (yay for conferences!) and people seem to be shocked about this. I actually really enjoy alone trips. I mean, it's nice to travel with friends and such but there is just something very cathartic and meditative about traveling alone. You can stop whenever you want, you can go wherever you want, stay for as long as you want and just take everything in at your own pace. So what did I visit? I saw the Liberty Bell from outside a bunch of glass, etc. Not a big deal really. Then I had a bagel from this tiny coffee shop called Café Walnut (4 stars). However, this wasn't great planning on my part, because after breakfast I walked to the Reading Terminal Market and OMG!!! All the foods!!! Unfortunately, I wasn't hungry so I didn't get to try anything. I'm a true believer that if you want to get to know a place better, you should visit the market, so I always try to find one to go to.
After this, I walked pleasantly towards the Museum of Art while observing all the architecture and streets of Philly. I also took a detour into the Cathedral and attended a part of the mass (not planned). Back when I used to go to church I would always try to go to mass in whatever city I was visiting. No matter what your religion is, or even if you belong to one or not, you should try visiting a church once. One of those big ones. I always have a feeling that is difficult to explain. I tend to feel serene and hopeful. Not sure if it is because of being raised in the religion or because of how big these places look. Give it a try once if you never have.
Finally I made it to the museum, paid a little extra and went to the American Watercolors special exhibit. It was pretty cool and it included free narration so I learned a lot. Not sure how much I remember O_o. Then I took my time in the Contemporary and Modern section, so basically I spent most of my time on the first floor. The Duchamp exhibit was pretty neat. Second floor is a lot of medieval European pieces, and sorry but those bore me to death. So instead I went out to look for lunch. Found a restaurant called La Calaca Feliz (5 stars!!!). I tried their Mexican inspired eggs Benedict: it had a thick corn tortilla instead of an English muffin, pork belly instead of ham and a chipotle hollandaise. OMG! I didn't want it to end. Trust me, I'm an expert in eggs Benedict though not a purist clearly. Anyway, after that awesome brunch I went to the Perelman Building and took a look at some more exhibits. Spent the rest of my afternoon walking by the river and finally ended up at the 30th St Terminal where I was going to take the bus to come back home. As terminals go, this one is pretty clean and has lots of options for food and seating.
Once I got back lots of friends started suggesting places I should've visited. Well, too late! I'd love to make another trip to Philly and keep exploring, unfortunately (or very fortunately), I'm finishing my PhD this summer so I don't think I'll have much time to explore this summer. Overall, a great trip with music, art, and alone time which are some of my favorite things.