I know it’s too trivial but every time I think of this city, I immediately start singing in my mind the words of the song of Peter Cincotti.
I got the inspiration for this one from a post of a young Italian traveler who I follow, Martina and her nice travel blog, Martinaway. She wrote an article about what are the places she would give a second chance. Places which for some reasons she didn’t fully appreciate the first time she’s been there. True told, I first commented I don’t wanna go back to places I didn’t like, but then it occurred to me that indeed there’s a place that perfectly suits the feeling. Philadelphia.
I’t strange how sometime you get to spend just five hours in a city you’re never been before, and you’re going to remember those hours forever, while you’re going to forget even entire days of a longer vacation somewhere else. For several coincidences it happened that a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to spend half a day in Philadelphia with a colleague of mine. Or I should say a friend. When you spend most of your time at work, after a while you come to consider your colleagues as part of your life. But that’s a different story.
This story is about a couple of years ago, when I decided to spend Christmas Holidays in Miami and for the return flight I had a nine hours layover in Philadelphia. My friend was spending hers in Orlando with her parents, but had to come back earlier because she didn’t have so many days off work. Being her, let’s just say, not comfortable traveling alone, she asked me to flight back to Rome together. And so we met at Miami Airport on our way home. Needless to say, having a layover in Philadelphia, I caught the opportunity to visit one of the oldest city of the US. I can’t tell you how it was like, coming from the heat of Miami to the freezing winter on the streets of Philly. But it was fun.
It was fun, really. Maybe because I was with my friend and you know, you got a day in a foreign city with a friend, you make the most out of it. I remember a lot of laughing. We got lucky because from the airport we took a shuttle van, and the driver was so kind that before dropping us in the historic city center, took us to a couple of places otherwise not easy reachable. One of them was the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, also known for the famous movie scene where Rocky climbs the steps. Who doesn’t know that scene?! So now, thanks to that nice driver, I got a touristic picture with his statue. I mean, it is very touristic but I couldn’t help it.
After that, we spent the following three hours hanging out in the historic city center. We went to see the Freedom Bell which is probably the most famous symbol of freedom of the US. I remember asking my friend to take a picture of me with the Bell. You wanna see what was the best she could manage?
Do you see the Bell? Neither did I. That’s why when I saw the picture I yelled at her “What the hell?!” We got a great laugh out of that. And I got another picture. I also remembered why I like traveling alone. Just kidding.
But while I had fun, I really haven’t been so impressed by the city. I found the city center not so exciting compared to the other American cities I’ve been in. I remember struggling to find a good place to have lunch, ending up eating a crappy pizza in a cramped deserted deli. Not so many people in the streets that day either. I’m told the University neighborhood is more crowded and full of cool places, but we didn’t have the time to visit it that day. Actually I guess five hours for one of the most famous American cities is not that much to appreciate it wholly. So, if I had to choose a place to give it a second chance, I’m pretty sure that would be the nice city of Philadelphia.