We were all up by ten the next morning. I had a decent night's sleep for being away from home. It was fitful, but I still got quite a bit of sleep. We got ready, left our room and went to check out before eleven. We put our bags in the van and then walked to the Subway Station. After figuring out how the subway system actually works in Philadelphia, we got on our line towards Downtown. It was mostly empty on our way there.
Once off the Subway, we walked the (many) blocks to the historic part of Philadelphia. We went to the Welcome Center and got our tickets for Independence Hall, but had to wait about two hours for our tour. First, we walked across the street to see the Liberty Bell
Nick and Devin
My President Friend
The Famous Side
The Other Side
Afterwards, we walked around Independence Square, Washington Square, and looked around at some of the museum things inside the Welcome Center. The favorite Monument I saw this trip was in Washington Square
Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier
Then we walked outside into Independence Mall. We chilled there/people watched for a bit. Next, we walked over to see Ben Franklin's Grave. Then went inside the "Free Quaker Meeting House.*" We slowly moved back across the Mall and then went to a food mall. Then we went into the Old City Hall, which is right next to Independence Hall. The Supreme Court met in that building from 1791-1800
Then we went to wait for our tour of Independence Hall to begin. The tour was pretty quick. It's not a big building, but there's more of a story than the 30 minute can tell. It was awesome though.
The Court Room in Independence Hall
Assembly Hall in Independence Hall
The Revolutionary period is on of my favorite periods of history. It's pretty hard to describe the type of reverence I felt towards these things. I have so much admiration for the bravery that every step of the Revolution took. Separating from the British, the bleakness of a lot of the war, the strategies of Washington, and then basically overthrowing their own government and drafting a new Constitution. That document ended up being one of the best that was ever written, in my opinion.
After the tour, we walked back to the subway and went back to our car. Nick was worried that it might be towed since we were no longer staying at the Hotel. We ended up taking the car back into Downtown Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We didn't have time to actually go inside and look at art, but we did need to go Rocky style and run up the steps. Devin, Nick and I ran up steps like bosses (them more than I)
We drove in the traffic of Downtown some more. We looked for a place to park to go to a Pub that Andy wanted to try, but it ended up not working out. Parking was either too expensive or full. We ended up heading back to the area where we got our Cheesesteaks and looked for a place to eat. Andy pointed out a place and that's where we decided to go. It was "Ralph and Rickey's
I didn't intend for this picture to be so artsy
The food was delicious, but our server was the highlight. She was just awesome. I ordered a small pizza for myself, but she said, "Honey, you don't want a small. It's fourteen inches." We told her that fourteen inches is a large in Columbus. I ended up with a mini Mushroom Pizza, which was still ten inches. She was funny, nice and provided great service. We each gave her a very generous tip. We even took her picture.
Then it was off to the stadium for the U.S.-Mexico game. We parked, got in our gear and walked to the Stadium. We were heavily outnumbered by Mexican fans. We walked around to the U.S. Supporters section and immediately we were singing and chanting
*Distributing bit warning*
Seriously ponder skipping this bit. We moved to the best place to stand we could find. It ended up being right behind this guy who was sitting with his head leaned against the back of seat in front of him. It was obvious he had too much to drink and wasn't feeling well. Before kick-off he started throwing-up. Eventually, after the surrounding people prodding his friends, they got him up and out of the section. Still there was the problem of a lot of throw-up on the ground and it's stench though. Nick texted the number that the stadium has for problems and quickly a stadium worker named Kevin was there to clean it up. We all started chanting "Thank You, Kevin."
*Disturbing bit over*
The game didn't go great for the U.S. in the first half. The Mexicans scored on a somewhat flukey goal on a short corner. The U.S. wasn't creating any chances either. The second half started much the same way. Then with about 15 minutes left in the game it's like the switch was flipped and the the tide turned. The U.S. dominated play and was creating loads of chances. When Robbie Rogers scored for the U.S. we went absolutely crazy. Not only did the U.S. score, but it was a Columbus Crew player** who had done it. It ended up a 1-1 draw.
We sung, yelled (I particularly yelled a lot of obscenities at the referee), and chanted for almost the entirety of the game. We even had dueling chants with the Mexican supporters as we walked out of the stadium. We were collectively hoarse as we walked back to the van. It was the first International Soccer game I've ever been to and it was amazing.
We drove back overnight and got progressively more delirious. We played 21 Questions for hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The sun started rising as we were near the state-line. The fog got pretty ridiculous in the Valleys in West Virginia. It was really pretty, though, seeing the fog when we weren't driving in it. Nick made up a ridiculously funny story when we passed the Guernsey County Fairgrounds here in Ohio. It involved gambling with Nickels at the Guernsey County Fair and a loaded six-sided die with Animals on it that would never come up "fainting goat." We decided that if someone had gotten in the van with us in Philadelphia they would've decided we were insane.
They dropped me off just before 8 am Thursday, which means it had been just less than 48 hours since we'd left. It was a whirlwind, but it was definitely the best trip I've ever had. Lollapalooza in 2008 gives this trip a run for its money, but this one was just better.
I slept about fourteen hours collectively between 8 am Thursday and 8 am today. I was still tired enough to take a nap this afternoon after work. I don't exactly what to this type of lag, but I'm sure I'll be back to as normal as I get soon.
Thanks for reading
*The Free Quakers felt the Revolution was too important to remain pacifists and were therefore expelled from the main Quaker community.
**Even if he is by far my least favorite Crew player.