Sailing to Philadelphia I
Not exactly, but I did take a train to Philly. I was there for a short trip, just two days and three nights to be exact. I had a lot of good suggestions about what to do when I got there. I had driven through Philly once before on the way to Washington DC but had never really spent any time in the city, itself. Since it was the week before Christmas, the train was crowded but not overly so. The on board Wi-Fi connection was adequate. This was my second trip on Amtrak. I would say that the experience is much better than either flying or driving on I-95. I have no complaints about Amtrak except for the lack of good options in the dining car. Not much choice, and everything was overpriced.
By the time I reached my hotel there was time only to go to bed. The first day I was there I decided to spend most of the day at Penn Museum of Archaeology. I was interested in the special exhibition about Maya that they had. I arrived there early before the museum was open, I decided to eat breakfast at a Potbelly Sandwiches opposite the Penn Medical Center.
The Mayan exhibition was wonderful and informative but it was the Iraqi Special exhibition that I found fascinating. It had artifacts from Ur’s Royal Cemetery. Agatha Christie wrote the Murder in Mesopotamia, based on her experiences in Ur. She was married to Max Mallowan, one of the archaeologists working on the dig. In the book, Louise Leidner, was modeled after Katherine Woolley, the wife of the of Sir Leonard Woolley, the head of Ur expedition, who was also Mallowan’s boss. Though I can’t say that MIM is among my top Christie favorites. I do have to say that the she creates the atmosphere of an archaeological dig remarkably well. She takes you there, you feel like you are in this dusty, hot place, a bit bored and fascinated by everything around you.
Among the permanent exhibits, the Egyptian exhibit in basement, with a gigantic Sphinx was impressive. Size does matter! The other interesting section was the one on Buddhist Asia. Many of the exhibits were from China. I wonder what the status of Buddhism is in China today and what exactly caused the decline of Buddhism in India. This exhibit also reminded me of the Sackler and Freer Galleries of art in Washington DC.
I did break for lunch at the museum itself and had ha salmon and cream cheese sandwich with salad and coffee. I especially liked the fact that they let me substitute coffee for the soda in my combo. I wish more places did that. By mid afternoon, my feet were getting tired and I was ready to head back to the hotel.
On day two in Philadelphia, my plan was to visit the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed but not before stopping for breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market. (To be continued)
One of the pillars in the Sphinx Exhibit at the Penn Museum.