The day we ate all the food in Philadelphia

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
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Trip End Sep 21, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This morning we got up and left the hostel at around half nine, and headed straight to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. We'd read on the internet last night that the Amish Bakery would be open this morning and we were NOT missing the chance to eat their famous 'home cooking'. They aren't there every day, so we were quite pleased with this. We had a leisurely walk down and quickly located Beiler's Bakery, where I bought an apple cider donut and Laura got a big ole' slice of pumpkin pie. We topped this off with some fresh local apples and a smoothie each from a produce stall and then sat out in the sun eating our delicious breakfast. Needless to say, the bakery goods were unreal. Sooooo nice.

After we'd eaten, we walked through the city down Chestnut Street to visit the College of Physicians of Philadelphia - the Mutter Museum. I'd been really looking forward to this, as when we'd been researching what to do in the city, before we'd come away, I'd seen it and it looked really interesting. Basically the Mutter Museum is a medical museum that contains medical oddities, wax models, specimens and historical medical equipment. No photos were allowed, so I'll give you a little description of the museum. 

It's all done out in dark wood, with low lighting and glass cases with brass fixtures, so it's quite old fashioned and eerie inside. It was also really quiet, as there were only the two of us in there for the most part. In the middle of the main floor are two sweeping staircases that lead you down onto a sunken level, so you're essentially in a basement filled with skulls, brains and foetuses. It sounds awful, but if you're interested in that sort of history, it was awesome. They also have one wall dedicated to a special exhibit that they change, and luckily right now they're focusing on Grimm's fairy tales. This was fantastic, as I adore these fairy tales; they basically took a selection of the stories and explained which medical conditions could be attributed to the themes. There were obvious ones like magical beings making off with children to explain high childhood death rates, but also things like deformities being rationalised in the tales. They also had exclusive illustrations in amongst it all. It was BRILLIANT. 

Some of the most famous artefacts in the museum include:

-  'Soap Lady' - a corpse turned to adipose or grave wax, which contemporary people thought was soap. 
- A cast of Chang and Eng; the original Siamese Twins
- Some slices of Albert Einstein's brain 
- A piece of John Wilkes Booth's thorax
- A megacolon 
- Loads of foetuses with various genetic abnormalities 
- A wall of skulls from various races and nationalities, that were collected in order to study the differences between them.

The museum was awesome, and I would definitely recommend any visitors to the city visit it, as it's so unusual and interesting. 

After we'd finished with the Mutter, we walked up Benjamin Franklin Parkway through Eakins Oval, towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so that Laura could re-enact the 'Rocky Running up the Steps Scene'. We walked past a huge fountain which was really lovely, featuring George Washington atop a horse, and surrounded by pairs of animals in each corner - 2x Bison, 2x Elk, 2x Moose - and then, infuriatingly to my slightly OCD sensibilities, a bear and a longhorn. Why couldn't they put a pair of animals in the last corner?! Grr!

We had our photos taken with the Rocky statue, and then Laura 'ran' up the steps. In fact, she walked up the steps with great big swinging motions of her legs, so that on the photos I was taking, it would look like she was running. She wasn't fooling anyone! There were loads of people actually running up it though, and half of them looked like they were going to pass out, so she probably had the right idea.  

After spending some time here we walked back down into the city and Rittenhaus Square where all of the upmarket shops are (needless to say we didn't go into any of them - we definitely have the grungy backpacker look going for us. We stopped for lunch at a place called Pandora's Lunch Box and had our first authentic Philly Cheesesteak, which was lush, but incredibly filling (still not used to the massive portions!)

As we continued walking, it became more and more obvious why Joey from Friends had to 'get into the map' when he came to visit London in the show - the majority of the streets in the North East corner of the US are just big squares - it's hard even for me to get lost! Very different to back home. 

We had a leisurely walk back through the city and to the hostel. Philly isn't massive so we'd managed to fit in everything we wanted to see, without leaving the city itself, so we headed back to chill out a little. After a while we were itching to get back out into the sunshine, so we popped over to the Fountain Franklin ice cream parlour, which was featured on Man Vs Food, and which -amazingly - does Soya Ice Cream! We chose the Mount Vesuvius; a huge mix of vanilla and chocolate ice creams with brownies and fudge sauce....it was very, very good. We sat outside on the street in the late afternoon sunshine and people watched whilst we ate, and then afterwards, because we're massive fatties, we headed next door to the sister store, which was an old fashioned sweet shop called Shane Confectionary (one of the oldest candy stores in the US) to purchase some sweeties. We bought bubblegum and...wait for it....chocolate. covered. bacon. YES!

It sounds gross, but it is divine. We snaffled it back at the hostel, and then fell into a food-induced coma. A good day!

Deej x
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