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Philadelphia: It Really Loves You Back


Last weekend, my wife and I paid yet another visit to the City of Brotherly Love – being my fifth time since relocating to the United States almost nine years ago. Philadelphia is one of those towns that is always pleasurable to visit, not only because most of the local attractions are pretty much located just blocks from each other (The Philadelphia Museum, The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall), but also due to the fact that most of them are completely free of charge.

On our last stop there, we paid a visit to Franklin Court, http://www.ushistory.org/tour/tour_fcourt.ht which is located at the spot where Benjamin Franklin's house once stood (it was demolished in 1812). There you can visit an ancient, still-active post office an underground museum with information about the great Founding Father, inventor and diplomat, including three short films about his life, including the Academy Award-nominated “Ben and Me,” a 1953 Walt Disney fantasy about a Revolutionary War-era mouse who 'assisted' Franklin in many of his endeavours.

We also took a tour of Independence Hall, where we saw the very halls where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. Among the several items of furniture in the room is the very chair where George Washington sat as he presided over the Constitutional sessions. http://www.independencevisitorcenter.com.

It is specially thrilling to revisit this place, specially in the troubled times we are living now. Would the Forefathers – most of whom were slave owners – that one day we would have an African American President in the White House? Or that the nation would be so divided between red and blue states, white, black and Latino?

A few blocks down Chestnut street is the National Liberty Museum, a four-story structure dedicated to the history of the fight for freedom both here and abroad http://www.libertymuseum.org. One of the sections dedicates an entire wing to unsung WW2 heroes who risked their lives by helping Jews hide from the Nazis. The section also honors those who fought against dictatorship, tyranny and cruelty.

We had most of our meals at Rotten Ralph's, an inexpensive dining spot on the Second Street Bar district. I discovered it quite by accident when I traveled to Philadelphia to get my passport (you can get it processed faster there) renewed before a trip to Brazil. In subsequent visits, I have always made sure to make a stop there http://rottenralphsoldecity.com for a bite or a drink.

There is so much to see in Philadelphia – every time I go there, I discover something new that I hadn't even known about before – make sure to check the travel guide www.gophila.com before you go – they have various visit plans even for those of us on a budget. Now only if I could get their local editors to get me an assignment there...


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