Day 32

Brotherly Love

We arrived in downtown Philadelphia at 10:30am and immediately got tickets for the tour of Independence Hall. The tour is free, but you must have a ticket for a specific time, and the earliest they had was 1:30.

We looked around the visitors center for about 45 minutes and then spent as much time waiting in line to get into the Liberty Bell Center. The bell looks like you would expect it to, but it's still cool to be in the presence of something with so much history behind it.

We milled around the mall visiting other historical sites such as the Federal Reserve Bank and the Second Bank, where they house many original painted portraits of famous Americans of Colonial times.

Like many old buildings, Independence Hall is much smaller than one would imagine. The tour began with a quick introduction speech by Park Ranger Gus and a short oral quiz on the painting of the signing of the Constitution that hung behind us. We were then lead into the actual building which housed the meeting room and the assembly room where the actual documents were signed. It's an amazing feeling to be standing at the exact spot that our nation was founded. The tour is only 30 minutes long, but very powerful.

For lunch we made our way to the famous corner that houses Geno's on one side and Pat's on the other. These two famous cheesesteak stands have been competing for years and are known around the world as the place the cheesesteak was invented. I headed towards Geno's as Dan headed towards Pat's. The line at Pat's was about twice as long, but once we had both sandwiches we split them in half and tried both. We both liked Geno's better, but the difference was negligible as both were excellent.

We (see I) got lost on the way down to the ballpark and with the computer running out of juice we didn't have the GPS to help us. Luckily we got a guy in the car next to us that led us to the ballpark exit and we were home free. Citizens Bank is located in the same complex as Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Eagles), the Wachovia Spectrum (former home of the Flyers & 76ers), and the Wachovia Center (current home of the Flyers & 76ers). All 4 structures use a common parking lot, which makes a lot of sense.

The Phillies open the Ashburn Alley section of the ballpark 2.5 hours early every game and have specials at the conession stands for the first hour. We were too stuffed from the cheesesteaks to partake, but we loved the idea. The Pirates did not take batting practice to allow for the Phillies annual Father/Child game. We spent most of the pre-game time walking around the ballpark instead of watching the kids play.

The actual game saw the Phillies jump out to an early lead with 4 runs in the first and starter Cory Lidle putting it on cruise control from there. There was excitement from the Bucs here and there, but they ended up falling 6-2. We thought that former Titan star Aaron Rowand made a great play to rob a home run in the middle innings, but it turned out that he came up a hair shy.

Tomorrow it's down to DC to see the Padres for the first time on the trip.

-Ty

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