I really liked Philadelphia. That’s how I’m going to start this post I think. Something nice and simple. Our flight landed from Manchester not in Phildelphia International Airport but instead in JFK so before I got to touchdown there, I had a few tiring hours in New York. I know, I seem like the most ungrateful brat in the world for not devouring my time in the Big Apple but by the time I eventually saw Times Square and had devoured a Shake Shack, I was exhausted from our seven and a half hour flight over the Atlantic. I was very relieved to see Philadelphia later that night after we’d been awake for a staggering 25 hours.
For someone who requires and adores a lot of sleep, that was hellish. But for the brief time I did spend floating around one of the cities I’ve dreamed about for like forever, I can understand why people adore it and I will DEFINITELY be going back. Maybe one day I’ll do a little north eastern-middleish city tour of the US, hitting up the likes of Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C, sweet Philadelphia again and of course, New York. Stay tuned for about ten years to see if I ever manage to finance that one.
Anyway, back to Philadelphia. It was simply delightful. Ali and I were visiting one of her best friends from the Bahamas. Well Ali was visiting, I was tagging along en route. I’d never met Rebekah before and had had no contact with her besides a few Instagram likes and Facebook comments. She was a lovely host and I really enjoyed my time there and getting a feel of an American university or “college” as those kids over the pond call it. Drexel University was cool. It is very different from Glasgow University as it was a super cool campus smack bang in the middle of Philly. The freshman dorms (how American am I with all my lingo, you should hear me say Connecticut) are all in one area, a lot of green space with events organised and lots of food outlets on your doorstep. Rebekah had a food plan with “dining dollars” and “meal plans” which meant she treated us to breakfast every morning we were there at Urban on campus. I had a weirdly shaped bagel twice and a croissant once so that’s a riveting tale for you all to enjoy.
So Philly. It was mega hot on the Thursday (our first full day there) and I chaffed like crazy. Lol over-share much? It was about 31 degrees celsius (hot for a little Scottish girl like yours truly) and we headed into city centre after breakfast. We stopped by the Porch, this cool outdoor giant “porch” near 31st Street Station and took some photos near the “XOXO” sign as all good tourists do. We then headed into town to browse some shops including a Gap outlet and Victoria’s Secret. I could spend hours in Victoria’s Secret and I am very chuffed with $20 bra I managed to find. It just feels such good quality and I am so so so excited to wear it. For lunch we had Chipotle which I had never had before, the UK needs it ASAP. It is Mexican fast food, quite well priced, you get loads and it is DELICIOUS. 10/10 recommend. In the city centre we also saw the “LOVE” sign which I loved lol. Soz not soz. It’s pretty iconic in Philly and we saw a couple kiss underneath it which I both found cringey and cute. We got some cute pics obv. We then tootled back to Drexel to chill out on the grass before getting some sort of chicken-y fast food (WOW what an awesome description Kirsty good job) and by then I was well and truly ready for my bed.
Day two in Philadelphia has been one of my favourite days of the year so far. Mainly due to Reading Terminal Market but more about that later. After another yummy breakfast in Urban we got on the Subway to the Philadelphia Magic Garden. This place is basically a giant outdoor artwork covering half a block by artist Isaiah Zagar. It was so beautiful, so intricately designed and so detailed and whilst I’m not usually one to be attracted by artwork (I do try), I was totally immersed in this. Definitely for all lovers of beauty, not just art lovers. If anyone asked me to recommend them something in Philly, it would be this. Also only $8 with a student ID (even British ones!) so check it out if you can. After a cultured morning we headed to Reading Terminal Market to meet some more people and have lunch. This is the best place on earth. It’s basically a huge indoor market with stalls ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables to Chinese food from Philly cheese steaks to 99c doughnuts. I could have easily ate something from every stall. Just walking around you soak up the atmosphere and your nose is entertained and it was honestly an amazing place. I finally settled on a delicious chicken sandwich with lots of yummy extras like mozzarella and jalapeños followed by a delicious M&M chocolate doughnut for only 99 CENTS. REPEAT 99 CENTS. After this we delicious meal we headed to Old City to soak up some history by looking at the Liberty Bell and then wandering around. On our way back to campus we stopped off at Paws, an animal shelter place and I bonded with a cat named Onion. A true love story. That evening I also tried my first Philly cheese steak and they are also amazing. So yummy and tasty and really fill you up. Get that on your bucket list for Philadelphia. Later that evening we also headed to an American party. Yes they drink out of red cups. Yes they play beer pong. Yes it fulfilled every American cliche from American teen movies. I LOVED it.
Suddenly it was Saturday and it was time to move on to our next destination: the Bahamas. After a final breakfast in Urban, we headed to CVS so I could buy birthday cake oreos and Hershey’s chocolate to take back to the UK and then headed to the airport. We had a two hour stop in Atlanta before touching down in the Bahamas, the home to the next two weeks of adventures and me getting sunburnt.
I would definitely recommend Philadelphia to anyone. It was a beautiful city with lots to see and do and I wish I could have spent more time there. I felt very at home and welcomed and I am itching to go again!