This past weekend I was lucky enough to be able to meet up with the Hardersen family in Philadelphia to help kick off their vacation. Philly is a little less than 2 hour drive away and I’ve been itching to check it out for awhile, so when the Hardersens invited me to join them I couldn’t say yes fast enough. You know what else is awesome? I got a round-trip bus ticket from MegaBus for $2.50. Score!
This was one trip I really didn’t do any research prior to my arrival. Usually I look up a city map and at least try and figure out places I’d like to visit, but I decided to wing it for the first few hours I was alone in the city. So as I stepped off of the bus, I really had no idea where I was going to go or how I was going to get there. Sometimes you just need those kinds of adventures in your life though..
When I got off the bus I headed to what appeared to be the train station in search of transportation. There is something magical to me about old train stations. I’ve never been in one that didn’t transport me back to their prime while being awed by the majestic architecture. Decades since trains are not our main form of long distance transportation, they still stand with such beauty.
My initial hunch of finding transportation at the train station was a success and I found the subway line and my first destination of the day, Reading Terminal Market. I had a rough start to figuring out the subway system and a few run-ins with some unhelpful and rude people.. but I wasn’t going to let them rain on my parade and I figured out which direction I needed to head.
While I may not have had the best first impression of Philly’s subway system, I will say that Philly along with Boston’s subway systems are much nicer and cleaner than ours in New York. A few short stops later I was on my way and at Reading Market. I headed to this destination first for one reason…. FOOD! By that time in was after 1 p.m. and I hadn’t eaten yet for the day so that was something that needed to be taken care of. I sure came to the right place for food too. The market was huge! Full of eateries of every ethnicity and type of meal you could want. I had my eye on one in particular though. Being the little foodie that I have become, I was in search for DiNic’s Pork and Beef.
Why DiNic’s? The restaurant was featured this summer on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America on the Travel Channel. Not only was it featured, but their roast pork sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe won!
The line was long, but I had a few hours to kill before the Hardersens arrived and decided nothing else was going to do for my first meal of the day other than this sandwich. I probably waited near 40 minutes, but it was well worth the wait. The pork is cooked italian style and was some of the juiciest I have ever had. And their bread? To die for. It had a light taste of garlic and was the perfect combination of being soft inside with a little crunch on the outside. You know I enjoyed it because I ate the WHOLE thing! That never happens.. I’m the queen of leftovers! I think the combination of the level of my hunger mixed with the sandwiche’s deliciousness put me over the edge though.
By the evening I was reunited with the Hardersens and their friends and we did a little more exploring before heading for an amazing dinner to celebrate Kathy’s birthday at The Palm!
The next day we were up early and ready to make the rounds of the city. For this trip, we took a bus tour on a double-decker bus around the city. Such a great way to learn about the city and see the sights!
Philly was an interesting city because it has a lot of history because it served as a temporary capital of the city before Washington D.C. was finished, but it also didn’t seem to flow very well. Maybe I felt like this after just visiting D.C. in August, but there were some really beautiful buildings and historic sites, but then right next store there was a modern sculpture. Sometimes cities can mix the two seamlessly, but I didn’t get that vibe here.
Something that I can really appreciate about Philly is.. Benjamin Franklin! If there was one thing I really enjoyed about the city, it was learning about Benjamin Franklin, who I am convinced never slept. Did you know he started the first post office, helped start libraries, hospitals, and the fire department? Let’s not forget he also signed the declaration and was one of the founding fathers of our country. I can also safely say, he seemed to have ran things in the city of Philly. You can’t go far there without being near something he touched.
Another thing I can appreciate about the city is their cheesesteaks! A quality food staple that has come from the city!
I truly had such a wonderful time with the Hardersens and am so happy I was able to check Philly off my city list! We saw… and conquered! If you want my humble travel opinion on the major east coast cities from my experience though.. I would suggest the following: If you have the option to visit New York, DC, Boston, or Philly.. I’d stick to one of the first 3 and skip the latter. There are definitely some cool things about the city but I have to say it is my least favorite of the 3. Travel on!