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Day 24 - Discovering Philadelphia

I had a really good night sleep, the hostel bed was very comfortable. Also the staff was really friendly. I could have just stayed another night there but I had to leave.  After a warm shower and some tea and biscuits I was ready to go and discover Philadelphia. The historic center of Philadelphia was only a block away from my accommodation. I first passed by the National Constitution Center which wasn’t open yet so early. The building however was really impressive and I took pictures of the building from several angels. Right next to the National Constitution Center was the Independence Visitor Center. I didn’t enter the center because I wanted first take pictures of the Independence Hall. I walked around the Independence Hall and took pictures of the building. I hadn’t gotten a ticket at the Independence Visitor Center so I couldn’t enter the building. It was supposed to be rainy in the afternoon so I decided to leave the visit for later. Instead I went to see the Liberty Bell as cues to the center were short at the time. After learning more about the history of the bell and its meaning I finally got to see the Liberty Bell itself. I had planned to meet my friend for lunch around noon so I had about 90 minutes left after I had seen the Liberty Bell. I decided to leave the historic part of Philadelphia and go to see the SS United States. I was first considering to rent a bike but the rent was quite high compared to going by bus. I chose the bus instead. I had to walk however all the way down to Columbus Blvd off Philadelphia Landings to catch line 25.  When I was approaching Columbus Blvd I saw a bus 25 arriving at the stop. I was lucky as the traffic light was just changing and the bus had to stop at the red light giving me time to cross the street and still catch the bus. The ride wasn’t very long, after about 15 minutes the SS United States towed at pier 82 came in sight. I requested a stop and got off just a block off pier 82. There she was, once the pride of America, still holder of the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing in regular service and the biggest U.S and one of the very last Ocean Liners built. Sure she wasn’t as large as the Queen Mary which I had visit in Long Beach last year but still impressive in her appearance. She went out of service in 1969 and sadly had been docked at pier 82 for years and been rusting since. Unfortunately pier 82 was not accessible but I still got some really good pictures thanks to my zoom lens. On the search to the closest stop of line 25 I just saw a bus approaching but couldn’t stop it as I was too far from the stop. The next bus was 30 minutes later. I returned to pier 82 to spend some more time with the SS United States. I was back at the bus stop 20 minutes later. The bus was approaching the stop but wasn’t slowing down until I signaled the driver that I wanted to ride on the bus. He apologized by saying that he has never seen anybody boarding the bus at that stop. Well there is always a first time for everything. After 15 minutes I was back at Philadelphia Landings. I walked down Market Street returning to the historic center. I had agreed with my friend to meet him at the Independence Visitor Center at 12.45 pm. I was still early so I used the time to briefly visit Washington Square Park and the tomb of the unknown revolutionary war soldier. Unfortunately my friend had fallen sick and couldn’t meet me anymore for lunch. I had lunch on my own. After lunch I finally visited the Independence Visitor Center also in order to get a ticket for the Independence Hall. Unfortunately there were no tickets available until after my train departure at 3.25 pm. I still spent some time in the visitor center before making my way back to the hostel in order to pick up my bag I had stored there. Thick clouds had formed and it looked after rain. I therefore decided to rather leave to the station early. Getting there took in the end slightly longer than expected as I had to wait quite a while until a blue line train showed up at 5th Street Station. The ride down to 30th Street Station didn’t take very long. I was just exiting the metro station when the rain started. Luckily the railway station was only a few meters from the metro station. I wasn’t surprised to learn that my train was delayed by 10 minutes. I spend some time in the Amtrak station, a beautiful monumental building, kept in Art Deco style. The delay increased every time I checked the screens. In the end the delay was 40 minutes. The cue again was endlessly long and I started to wonder how many seats the train had. Once the cue started moving boarding went quite smoothly. Of course I didn’t find a window seat anymore but that is something I have gotten used to. Finally train 42 “Pennsylvanian” left Philadelphia with 42 minutes delay. The “Pennsylvanian” called in Trenton, New Jersey and Newark, NJ before finally approaching New York Penn Station. Unfortunately the delay still increased and the final station stop in New York, NY was reached with a delay of 60 minutes. Finding my way through Penn Station wasn’t easy as the station was packed with commuters. However, somehow I managed to find the entry point of the subway system and I got myself a 7 day MTA pass before entering the platform. I had to wait some time until the A express train bound for 207th Street showed up. The train was packed with people but slowly it got emptier and emptier. I rode the A line all the way up to the final stop at 207th Street which took about half an hour. I exited the station and had only to walk about 50 meters until I arrived at my accommodation, home for the upcoming 13 nights. I had booked an Air B’n’B with a very friendly couple renting out a bedroom in their specious apartment. After entering the building and making my way up to the fifth floor I was greeted by the host. He showed me the room and provided me with a lot of useful tips for New York. I settled into my room and went to get some groceries in the nearby store. I spent the evening with my hosts before going to sleep.   

National Constitution Center

Independence Mall

Liberty Bell

SS United States at pier 82

Washington Square Park

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