Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Holiday Photo Diary: Philadelphia, Providence and Boston

This final leg of the American part of the holiday was a complete whirlwind. We'd originally intended to spend a few days in Philadelphia but ended up decided to put the time towards longer stays in the other cities we were visiting. But as luck would have it the backwards dating system caught me up and when I was going over our plans I noticed we had a day and night which fell between our New York and Boston stays.

So down to Philadelphia we went. And I'm so glad we managed to get some time there, even if it was unbelievably short. The people were so friendly. I wouldn't say people in New York were rude but they pretty much kept to themselves or the people they were walking with. In Philly we had two separate groups offer us help finding our hostel, one guy actually walked us halfway there and the guy at the counter wrote out a detailed itinerary so that we could see all the best parts of Philly in our short stay. It was just really, really nice.

We walked through the city up to the Museum district. We didn't go into any of them so I can't say how good they are, but if their size and architecture is anything to go off they must have been pretty decent. We took photos with the Rocky statue and walked up the  famous steps (it was too icy to run) of the Art Gallery. Afterwards we walked down the road to the Reading Market and had lunch (pretzels, always and forever pretzels) and then dropped into the Mutter Museum. This place is insane. Alley recommended it when we were at dinner and it was so perfectly us we had to go. It began as a donation from Doctor Mutter to the Philadelphia College of Physicians of a lifetime's collection of medical tools, specimens and information. It's actually fairly small in terms of museum size but the collections are dense. There are 100s of skeletons, fetuses in jars, tumorous tissue, and preserved exemplars of regular and defective body parts and organs. It's probably not for the faint of heart but it's utterly fascinating.

We finished our night with a walk through the city down past all the Philly cheese steak restaurants and finally finishing up for dinner and drinks at Mac's Tavern. If you've watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia this is a must visit. It's partly owned by Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olsen (Mac and Dee) and there are a few loving touches in the bar that hint at the owners. It's always really, really good food. Tom had a buffalo cheesesteak and he did not shut up about it for days. DAYS. And this was on the back of New York!

These photos were so incredibly awkward to take.

 After we left Philly we had a few days in Boston. Our first day was actually spent in a completely different state. Tom is a huge H.P Lovecraft fan. One of his few must-visits for the trip was a stop at Lovecraft's grave in Providence, Rhode Island. So that's what we did, we hopped on a train and sped down (up?) to Lovecraft's beloved home. I won't lie, visiting a town purely to see an author's grave is a little morbid and weird but Providence was actually a charming stop to make. I absolutely adore the houses in this area of America, they are so full of character and history. It's enough to put in my visa application and plan my move now. We never actually found Lovecraft's grave. It never occurred to us how big the cemetery would be and after walking around for two hours and getting hopelessly lost we had to give it up as hopeless.

 Back in Boston we had a whirlwind day and night. I had so many things I wanted to do and see, walk the freedom trail for instance, but we struggled with the time we had in the city and the tremendous snowfall on our second day and night. We did okay though, we walked through Boston Common, the theatre district and Chinatown, got to do a little shopping and saw The Hobbit. We also took a train out to Harvard where we mostly just drank a lot of coffee, visited comic and book stores and watching some students play a game of Quidditch in the snow. I wish we'd had more time in Boston, there's so much we didn't even get to think about seeing but oh well. You can't win them all.


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