Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love…
apparently though, downtown parking is neither a love affair nor a brotherly issue. Holy Smokes.
But first things first. So, we checked out of the Red Carpet Inn in Brooklawn. Naturally we got no refund as there have to be 24hrs between the booked date and the cancellation to not receive a one night fee on the cancellation. Honestly? Those 30 Euros/45 bucks I will not miss.
As we only could check into the Days Inn past 2 pm, we decided to simply lug our luggage in the trunk of our car through Philly. Umm, yeah. The idea itself was to look for a place to park the car (the underground garage at the Visitor Center was recommended to us) and then first take a hop on/hop off tour with the Big Bus Company (a company we already know from London, they are great fun and good value).
The first sign that our plans would go a little funky was when we finally made it through traffic (ok, the ‘mericans have definitely no lack of experience in hostile downtown carmanship, seriously, at times it felt more like a jousting tournament than traffic…) and drove up to a sign telling us that the underground parking (the affordable underground parking) would be closed for some or other reason.
So what to do? We found a few parking garages. They charged…interesting prices. Half an hour for 8 Dollars. And I thought Cologne (the city in Germany) would be an expensive place to park your car at. The other option was EZ Parking lots, a kind of parking lot where you have to hand in your car key. Frankly with our trunk full of our valuables, including two laptops etc. not an idea we wished to follow. So…that left us…stranded kinda. Hmmmm.
What to do? Truth be told, we love our Tomtom, that’s our SatNav. I upgraded it for 60 bucks with a ‘merican Map, and now it not only knows its way around in Europe but also in the US, and trust me, it does. Especially in a big city you’ve never been to, it makes you gutsy to just GO, no matter what.
Which we did. We ended up at the Museum of Art. Rocky anyone? Yanno the drill, Rocky doing his jogging each morning, running up a bunch of stairs and cheering on top of them? That’s the museum. In front of it: Parking, flat out 7 dollars for 8hrs+. So…I got to see art. *sigh* Yay, European paintings again. As if I wouldn’t have seen most of the painters already. And the ‘merican stuff? Mostly too pop art or artsy itself. I swear, there’s an exhibit with a nail in the wall over which hang stripes of felt. Felt as in it looks like a carpet cut into stripes and that’s that. Or HUGE child doodles. Really, where’s the appeal in that? And Picasso’s cubic phase? Go. Away. I hated that period during arts class in school already. Interesting exhibitions were the rooms though, saved from all over Europe. But all in all, once was enough. So what to do next…I had the address of an AT&T store with me as a certain friend of mine from the Philly area never got back to me. If you want something done, better do it yourself I guess. Too true.
Turned out the store was smack-dab in the middle of College country in Philly. Parking lots, again not to be found. As another store was to be found in Cherry Hill, the place where we had our Days Inn room booked, we decided to try our luck there and make use of the sunshine we had by driving to Valley Forge (revenge for art…military history…MY creature comfort…)
To cut the story short: We missed exit 326 by some reason as we were unable to find the historic site with our sat nav on short notice (just figuring ‘Valley Forge sounds good, after all, there’s only one in Pennsylvania) was not specific enough for it. So we thought we could wing it by ourselves.
Wrong. So we called it a day and headed back to NJ to crash at our hotel. The rest of the day is quickly told…we checked into the hotel, got a few stares as neither of us was handicapped…well, see, they had disabled rooms available online for 10 bucks a night less than regular rooms, plus the regular rooms available were smoking rooms, we need non smoking rooms, period. Is it impolite to book a room? I mean, I don’t mind having a walk in shower, it’s not like I need one and I told them a few times that I wouldn’t have to have the barrier free room, I’d happily use any other they’d have available, but, well, we ended up in the barrier free room. Which was great, it wasn’t a room, it was a full-blown suite! Ten bucks cheaper a night than a normal room and the only difference to a normal suite (not a room) was the huge bathroom with a large shower instead of a tub…and a toilet that was accessible from two sides easily with a handrail on the other two sides. Do I have to feel bad about this???
Getting a SIM card for my cellphone was easy. We made sure at the store that my phone would be working with it (duh, as if I wouldn’t have informed myself prior to the visit to the store) and I got the card for free, no activation no nothing, basically I just had to put money on the balance of it and was good to go, in and out in 15 minutes. Pity a contract’s not an option yet as the rates suck, but comparatively they are OK. I don’t want the phone NOW for hour-long conversations, just to call ahead, being able to be reached and, well, because I feel naked without a phone and don’t wanna spend 4.5 bucks a minute international roaming with my German card.
Now it’s back to the hotel, ordering Papa Johns (8 years without PJ….we missed it), Zzzzzzs and tomorrow it’s off to Baltimore and the AQUARIUM. RAYS. SEA TURTLES…. been looking forward to that ever since we planned to honeymoon in the US……