Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, also known fondly as Philly and the City of Brotherly Love, is one of the oldest and popular cities in the USA. Formerly the nation's capitol, the city is rich with history, arts and cultures. I visited thrice in recent years- twice as a tourist and once as a guest to a friend's house. My first trip to the city consisted of visiting UPenn and the historical area. I returned to the city with my parents and sister and concentrated our visit around the old city. My fondest memories of the second trip were eating at an Afghan restaurant while talking about the war with its owner, and watching my mum piling up her Philly steak with every possible condiment and fixing at Geno's. Let's just say the latter was a mixed feeling of appalled and amusement. My recent trip to Philadelphia was visiting my friend who lives near the city border and works downtown. After our surprisingly 5.5 hours drive from Upstate NY, we arrived at her apartment, exchanged pleasantries and ate homemade idli and sambar. After a slow start the next morning, we had brunch in Reading Terminal Market, an enclosed public market that sells local fresh produce, meats and seafood as well as hosts a variety of international-inspired restaurants. Our meal consisted of gyro served with a bed of Greek salad, French crepe stuffed with fresh strawberries, bananas and nutella spread, Italian American pizza and pastries. While eating, I succumbed to my curiosity and observed college shirts and sweaters people were wearing. I noted there were plenty of UPenn, Temple, Penn State and occasional Eagles, the city's NFL pride and joy.

We bade goodbye to the host's husband who had to work that weekend and hurried our way to Comcast Center, the tallest building in Philly, where my friend works. Upon entering, we were delighted to find the wall right above the receptionist has moving 2D and 3D images. We zipped to the 43rd floor where the cafeteria resided, took many photos of the city's skyline and spotted some of the surrounding buildings that have facilities such as running tracks, tennis courts, swimming pools and helipads!

We rode the elevator to the highest possible floor and peeped in the conference rooms. My friend claimed that viewers could see fog beneath them on a foggy day.

The day continued to be promising so we left our first street parking spot ($2.50 per hour) and found free parking off of Kelley Drive. We ambled towards the Art Museum, captured a few photos of Rocky statue and climbed the steps where I bumped into a group of Malaysian freshman students. We conversed for a bit and they took a Polaroid photo of us on the top of "Rocky" steps overlooking the city horizon. We then headed to the Boathouse Row, chatting while enjoying the view of the antique houses, people rowing and lapping waters of the Schuylkill River. After the walk, we drove to a local mall to get pretty and swung by Whole Foods so I could purchase items needed for my bubur cha cha dessert and fried noodles lunch for the next day. There was a IKEA nearby so we shopped and had evening snacks there. We returned to the apartment, exhausted but eager to start on my dessert.

On Sunday, I quickly whipped up fried noodles for breakfast. We drove to Wissahickon Valley Park and strolled on the trail, enjoying the spring-like temperatures. The trail snakes along the river and offers fishing and stone skipping opportunities for adults and kids alike. We shared the path with other hiking enthusiasts, cyclists, canines and my first-horses. We had another quick meal and left for Rochester.

You may realize that I didn't mention much of the usual things visitors would do in Philadelphia. I think you can find useful information here. The point is I'm sharing a perspective of a resident, not a tourist. It gave me a glimpse of living and working in Philadelphia and I thought you might enjoy this.

Modified on Nov 12, 2012.