Monday, August 11, 2008

Vacation - Day 8

Days are starting to drag into weeks here as we continue our little journey. We are now firmly planted on the East Coast. Without a rental car, we are left to our feet to get around. Today we are experiencing a typical summer storm. Lightning, thunder, and rain. Sometimes heavy. We had to jump into a KMart and grab umbrellas to stay dry. At least it's warm out.

We started out a little late today. The plan was to walk to Independence Mall, then to the Rocky Steps. Eventually we need to get over to 30th St station to get a train to NYC. We spent time wandering around Independence Mall. I wanted to take a tour of Independence Hall, but the next available tour was 3:45 PM. So, we ditched that to roam around for a while. We saw the Liberty Bell, then went over to Ben Franklin Court. Eventually we found ourselves at Carpenter Hall, where the first Continental Congress convened and where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech. It is cool to be around all these places where this country has its roots.

There is one thing that this little tour made quite clear to me. All of those guys who started this country - they weren't your normal guys like our history books have us think. They were the Bill Gates of their day. I didn't know - but Ben Franklin was able to retire by the age of 43! They were all wealthy, and I'm sure a lot of the motivation to declare independence was to save the fortunes that they had amassed here in the New World!

We were going to go over to the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but with the rain coming down harder, and the time approaching 2 PM, we made it as far as Love Park, and then decided it was time to go back to the hotel, grab our bags, and get to the train station.

Our last adventure in Philly was riding the subway (the "ghetto train" as my younger son put it) to the Amtrak station, where we caught the Keystone Express to Penn Station in New York City. Penn Station happens to be Madison Square Gardens. When we got off the train, we saw hordes of teenage girls. Turns out the Jonas Brothers were playing at MSG! We grabbed a cab and got over to the Marriott Marquis in the heart of Broadway and Times Square. Finally, it was off to the Carnegie Deli for Rubens, Cheesecake, and Lemon Chiffon pie!

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