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Trip Report One day in Philly is not enough!!

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So on my way back to NYC from 3 days in D.C I had a day in Philadelphia. I should have known that one day would not be enough and I know that I will be back!

It was my 4th city on my 3 week trip to America and it was by far my favourite. I was luckily enough to have a friend organise a private tour guide for me. Lois met me at 30th Street Station at 8.30am on 21st Nov and we drove down Market St to park in the old part of Philly.

We walked to Elfreth's Alley, which was very pretty but I couldn't imagine living in the narrow houses. Then on to Christ Church, which at the top of my list to visit because I am from Christchurch in New Zealand and I have a plan that if there is a Christ Church where I am visiting, then I have to see it. It was gorgeous! The outside has a gorgeous red brick with what looks like black bricks scattered among them. The inside was a surprise, it was bright and lit up with lovely large windows that took in the autumn leaves outside. It was a definite highlight.

We then walked down to the visitors centre to pick up our 11am tickets for the Independence Hall tour. The Hall was another highlight (actually everything in Philly was a highlight!!). The park ranger was informative and knowledgeable, it was a great visit. We walked again back to where we had parked the car for a spot of lunch.. but before we did, I have to tell you about my near perfect moment.

We were walking back down Chestnut Street when we came across Carpenter's Hall. To me it was just perfect! I love buildings that are symmetrical in design and this building was just that. We walked around it and went through the little park on the side. I turned around and there it was - the moment that was pretty darn close to perfect: the red building with white shutters, the gorgeous autumn leaves of all colours blowing in the midday clear blue sky and a couple of girls in their 20's just playing in the leaves taking photos of each other. It was a bit of a surreal moment for me and one of my lasting memories of my trip.

So back to the trip... we had lunch at Sonny's - I had to try an authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.. well authentic apart from I choose not to have cheese wiz! Hmm.. it was interesting that is for sure. We then jumped in the car and drove down to the water front and then to South Street and through the narrow little streets with the beautiful buildings and homes. I think being there in autumn, gave the old part of Philly another dimension.

We parked and walked down Broad Street towards City Hall, checking out the ballroom and restaurant at Bellvue and the inside of the Ritz on the way. City Hall is extremely impressive, especially the carvings under the north gate. We then walked through Macy's and then back to the car. We drove down the Ben Franklin Parkway towards the Art Museum, where the steps were decked out in Christmas colours.

Another awesome holiday moment came when I saw the NZ flag. Before my trip I had wanted to trip and find something NZ in each place I went. I thought Philly would be the hardest! In Hawaii, whilst at Pearl Harbor we came across some NZ Navy guys, one of whom actually knew my brother! Then in NYC I saw the NZ flag at the UN and also at the Korean War Memorial in Battery Park. D.C was at the Korean War Memorial where they have a list of names of the allied countries during that time. Then in Philly as we were driving down the parkway, I noticed flags of the world down the side of the road. I was very excited for find NZ's one meaning I had a matching set of NZ things from my trip to America.

My tour ended about 5pm and Lois dropped me off at my hotel - Best Western Independence Park and I checked in, freshened up and went in search for dinner.. Ended up at Soho Pizzeria... very yummy, quick food. Next day I was leaving at 12m so didn't get up to much, headed to the 30th St Station and had a bite to eat from one of the numerous eating establishments in the building.

Overall, I loved Philly and I cannot wait to go back and spend more time exploring this gorgeous city.

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