Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In the footsteps of history...

This was the moment...

I visited Philadephia for the first time to attend the annual Educause conference from October 9 - 14.

This was my first visit to Philadephia - and overall I wouldn't say that I enjoyed the city.  Of course, I was coming off of the loss of Dippy and I fought a bit of a cold most of the week, but overall I just found the city dirty and I never felt safe walking by myself - except maybe in the historic area.  I feel very comfortable in Chicago, DC, and other large cities so it's not just that it was a big city - the city just felt as though there were too many people rambling about without any purpose.  That said, I was truly inspired by the historic area.  As with most conference trips that I don't extend (like this one), I only had about four hours to really play tourist so I chose to focus on the historic area and only got a brief glimpse of the museums.

The above photo isn't amazing or special from a photographic perspective, but it was a photo that captured a moment - a feeling - one of...Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington stood in this same spot and walked along this same path.  That connection to the founding of this great nation was amazing to me.  I took the tour of Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell before heading off on a narrated bus tour around the city that took me back up to the museum area.  I would have liked to visit the Rodin Museum - but it was closed for renovation so perhaps on a future visit I'll spend time in the museums and enjoy the city a bit more.

I did enjoy a lovely dinner with my coworker Kristen at a tapas restaurant called Amada and a lovely dinner with some other colleagues at Sole Food in the beautiful Loews Hotel.

George Washington was here
The room where our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted.

The tools to create a new government
The tools to form the most amazing nation on earth!

The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell.  I liked this photo that captured the outline of Independence Hall behind it - my photos of Independence Hall weren't great because of all the renovations going on at the moment, but this was a decent perspective. 
National Constitution Center
A new museum in the historic area...the National Constitution Center

Franklin Institute
I am awed by the life of Ben Franklin - wish I'd had time to explore the Franklin Institute.

Plant mural
William Penn atop city hall (I took this to capture one of the lovely murals around town.

There are some lovely places to see if you're in Philly.  Definitely stop at Reading Terminal Market for lunch and a fun exploration.  And there is a mural tour as well as lots of historic tours/experiences you could do.  And, while I spent the majority of my time at the Convention Center which was filled with some great art - which you are apparently not allowed to photograph even though there are no signs posted and absolutely no policies against it on their web site - which I checked before I went.  However, every time I pulled out my camera yet another of the ever present staff of the convention center was there to tell me I couldn't take photos - grrr!  Being told three different times I couldn't take photos of the art (I was never pointing at any people) was kind of the last straw - especially for a tech conference where camera phones used for scanning QR codes are the expected norm now. 

It was a great conference though and I am very glad I got to visit Independence Hall.  Ever visited a city that left you feeling a bit divided about the visit like I was about Philly?

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