Don’t judge a book until you’ve met the characters.

Letter 43

Walking through Chinatown seeing rundown buildings, hearing beeping horns and shouting in the distance and only spotting faraway skyscrapers among the clouds peeping above, I thought I’d made a mistake staying for 4 nights in Philadelphia. It seems I was wrong.

The deeper I wondered into the city, walking constantly through the parallel streets I found beautiful buildings, green squares and parks as well as a whole load of character and culture that I hadn’t expected. By the end of our first day in Philly I had fallen a little bit in love with this quirky city.

We began in the Reading Terminal Market which was an overwhelming mix of food from all around the world which we are going to revisit on our last day here. We then walked aimlessly through Chinatown. It was a strange day because we hadn’t planned what to do and as a result ended up walking back and forth through the same roads to random areas of the city. In this letter I’ll just tell you about the main areas we went to and which were my favourite!

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The Liberty Bell is one of the most famous parts of Philly but we didn’t actually go in and see it. We were told it was a bit pointless to see, but we did walk around the park surrounding it and look at the striking buildings.

My favourite area we went to that day was the harbour front. This place is buzzing in summertime with so many things to do as well as loads of places to just sit and relax. I’m dying to see it light up in the evening which I hope to do on our last day here. There are hammocks, deck chairs and beach huts. Not only that, there are giant lawn games, a skating rink and crazy golf to keep everyone entertained; all to the back drop of music pumping from the speakers. Check this cool place out on their website for Spruce Street harbor park.

From here we walked all the way down Walnut Street which I really liked. The buildings towered above us either side and were a mix of modern and classical styles. There were also a couple of squares along the way, perfect for relaxing for a while.

This was the area that made me realise I was wrong about this city. It may not be as well put together as Boston, or as clean and tidy as DC; but it has a character of its own just like any other city. It enforced the reasons I love to travel – to fully experience new places. When I sat down on a bench in Rittenhouse Square I watched hundreds of people walk by. Some young, some old, some couples, families and solos; and I found it fascinating. There was a busker doing a circus act which was brilliant. The kids loved him and dragged their parents over to watch and take part. They begrudgingly followed but ended up enjoying it as much as their kids. I saw old friends being reunited, exchanging stories of the past few years. I saw a young couple with a newborn of only a few weeks looking happier than ever. I saw a family with 3 beautiful children having a picnic and playing ball. I saw countless dog walkers enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. The characters I observed whilst sitting for only a little while encouraged me to see their home in a different light. It’s a beautiful city with thousands of stories to be told. Just like any other.

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More Philly adventures to come…

From Lou

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