July 11, 2007

One of Philadelphia's Hidden Gems

One of the joys of taking an on-line course, is not actually having to go to school. On most days anyway. Yesterday was one of those days where I actually had to show up for class.

For those of us who have grown up and lived much of our lives in the Philadelphia area, I think we fail to realize just how much stuff there is to see and do here. Yet for some reason, we never get around to actually seeing and doing it. Think about it: When was the last time you visited the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Mint, et al.? Lemme guess, it was probably a grade-school field trip, right?

Well, it was at around 2 PM yesterday, and I just got out of class. I was hungry as shit and was jonesing for some Taco Bell. So to satisfy my craving for a chalupa, I did one of those aforementioned "Philly things" that I always wanted to do, but hardly anybody from around here ever does. I walked across the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Yes, I walked from Camden to The Gallery for Taco Bell. No, I don't know what the hell I was thinking either -- I guess I was crazy from the heat! But let me tell you, if you ever get the chance to walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge, you're in for a real treat. In only takes about forty-five minutes each way, and it's pretty good exercise to boot. Just be sure to bring a camera, and not walk across when it's 95° out.

The two trademark "XXX" towers look even bigger and more impressive standing next to them, then they are driving underneath them. The sensation of standing on the sidewalk with a PATCO train in running directly underneath you is, at first, scary, but an exhilarating feeling as you feel the bridge sway ever so gently. And then there's the view! Standing at mid-span and looking south towards the Walt Whitman Bridge is an amazing sight to behold. Center City and Penn's Landing are to your right; and the Aquarium, Battleship New Jersey, and the fabulous slums of Camden are all to your left. And I'm sure that if weren't so damn smoggy, you'd probably be able to see for miles.

So if you're ever in Philadelphia -- or Camden for that matter -- and have a few hours to kill (or are unemployed and therefore have plenty of time to kill), I highly recommend taking a stroll on the ol' Ben Franklin Bridge. You'll thank me later.

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