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Trip Philadelphia Philadelphia   All of my happenings in the City of Brother Love. Not really a travel blog... Walter Ch (US)



All of my happenings in the City of Brother Love. Not really a travel blog, since I live here.

This will include some of the day trips from Philadelphia.

  • 08Nov 2008

    1 Around the Ben Franklin Parkway 11/08/2008 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    It was a family get-together for my mom's birthday (which would be a few days later), as it was me, my mom, and my sister, visiting the Franklin Institute. It is a science museum, that I've been to, many times over the years. We planned on seeing a couple films on the IMAX. When we bought the tickets, we would have to wait a while until the times came. First we waited around the Ben Franklin statue for a little while.

    So we went outside, and visited a few places nearby, along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. More commonly known as the "Ben Franklin Parkway" or just the "Parkway", this street runs from City Hall, all the way towards the Art Museum of Philadelphia, running diagonally. As you walk or drive on it, you see the flags of various countries from around the world. I can remember playing this game of guessing which country this flag is, when coming into this area.

    Across from the Franklin Institute, there was the "All Wars Colored Soldiers and Sailors Memorial", a park that commemorates the African-Americans from Pennsylvania, who have served in all wars for the US. Around the main one, there are individual ones to the different wars.

    We all then went to the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, the largest Catholic church in the US. Going inside, it reminded me of the churches I've seen in Europe. Very huge, with some interesting art inside. It was tough taking pictures inside, as I am still not familiar with the flash settings. Plus I am still new with the digital camera, having gotten my very first one only a few months back. We looked around for only a very short time.

    We also visited the Free Library of Philadelphia, the main central branch. It was huge, but we did not spend much time inside. I used to come there a lot, as I always looked to the travel section to figure out where to go next. I did see a model ship and a statue of William Pepper, the founder of the Philadelphia library. And now, there are numerous neighborhood branches around the city, some of which, I've gone to, depending on whether I am in the area. At that time, I did not know about reserving materials from another branch.

    We returned to the Franklin Institute, to watch the IMAX films. Every IMAX showing starts off with a short film about Philadelphia, showing the different parts of the city. I remember the old version, and now, a more updated one was shown. After the short film, it was the main feature. One of them was about India, and the other may have been about space travel. But I don't remember. Still, we ended up enjoying both of them.

    Afterwards, watching both films, we went back home. It was a nice family get-together in the city, for my mom's birthday. And we got to see some sites in our own backyard.

    Photos & Videos


  • 16Jan 2009

    2 My Last Time at the Spectrum 01/16/2009 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    After learning that this was the final year for the Spectrum, I decided to make a few more visits to this arena. Originally, I was going to go 3 times, but ended up only going once.

    While currently called the Wachovia Spectrum, almost everyone would just call it the Spectrum. Built in 1967, it was once the home of the Flyers and 76ers. That was until 1996, when both teams moved across the parking lot to the bigger building, the Wachovia Center (at the time). After that, it has been used by the Philadelphia Phantoms and other teams from other sports, like indoor soccer and arena football, as well as concerts.

    My personal history... I have been to only 1 Flyers game there, in 1990. And 1 Sixers game in 1992. And that's it! Yeah, I know, not really much, as my family were not really into sports. I have been to a Phantoms game, but that was actually at the Center. So this visit would be my first and last Phantoms game at the Spectrum.

    The Philadelphia Phantoms were a minor league affiliate of the Flyers. They started play in the American Hockey League (or AHL) in 1996. The AHL is like the AAA league of baseball. I have heard rave reviews of these games, even from some die-hard Flyers fans, but never got around to going. But when learning that the Spectrum would close down and get demolished, I had to make another visit. Originally, I was going to go 3 more times, but ended up going only once inside.

    Coming from work on this day, I went to the Spectrum. It was one of the coldest days that I ever experienced. Unbelievably cold! Luckily, the game was indoors. I went inside, and had really nice seats at a cheap price, at center ice. Looked around the place, and saw the banners for the Phantoms, who have won 2 Calder Cups. So they have had a really good history during their time here. And I would get to see Danny Briere play, who was rehabbing with the team, before going back to the Flyers.

    The Phantoms played the Lowell Devils. It was a very close game, but the home team would come away with a win, by beating the Devils, 5-4. I think that I even saw a fight up-close, which was really interesting to see. I tend to get upset when the referee breaks up the fight. :)

    After the game, I took one look around the place, before heading back. I would take the subway, then the regional train to where my car was parked. But unfortunately, the car battery died, as it was very cold that night. I had to call my mom to pick me up. And because of the car problem, I would not be able to go to another Phantoms game.

    I would make another visit there, on a nicer day, and walked around the building. I would see the different statues, like ones of Julius Erving and Kate Smith.

    While I would only actually visit there a few times, I have seen it on TV, or heard about it on the radio, numerous times. So I know this is a piece of Philly history, as this was where the Flyers won their only 2 Stanley Cups in the mid-1970's, and the last Philly championship happened, when the 76ers won it all in 1983.

    Rest In Peace, Spectrum!

    Photos & Videos


  • 20Sep 2009

    3 Fly Eagles Fly 09/20/2009 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I would attend my first Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field, also known as the Linc. And the first time since 1998, which was when the Eagles played at Veterans Stadium (often referred to as simply "The Vet"), which has since been demolished. I have only been to 2 games in my lifetime, both at the Vet. With football ticket prices being a lot higher than baseball, and since I was always on a budget, are enough reasons why I did not go to an Eagles game.

    But I thought it was about time I went to a game at the Linc. Earlier in the month, I took a tour of the place, but did not feel content with just touring. I really wanted to see a game. To me, a visit to a stadium only counts for a regular season game, not a tour. I may feel differently when touring sports venues outside the US, but I digress. The tour took me to the field, Eagles locker room, press box, club and suite boxes.

    I bought a ticket on Ebay earlier in the week. I got a head start, leaving my home early, and taking the train into the city. No way would I ever drive to the stadium, and deal with the horrible traffic, and pay the high parking fee. I got to the sports complex, passing by the Spectrum (now defunct), the Wachovia Center (home of the Flyers and 76ers), and Citizens Bank Park (home of the Phillies). People tailgating in the parking lot.

    I entered the stadium, and finally, I was at an Eagles game at the Linc. I went to my seat, which turned out to be in the shade. A great location, as I can't stand sitting in the sunlight. It was definitely a lot of fun to sing along to the Eagles fight song, with the entire stadium.

    The Philadelphia Eagles played the New Orleans Saints, in the 2nd week of the season. It was the home opener for the Eagles, who were without their starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who got hurt in the season opener at Carolina. So backup Kevin Kolb would get the start. Both teams were 1-0 to start the 2009 season, and after the way Eagles destroyed the Panthers in Week 1, I thought they would come away with a win after this game.

    The 1st half was close, with both teams first trading a touchdown, then a field goal. Then the Saints scored a touchdown, and the Eagles scored a field goal as time expired in the half. The 2nd half was a different story. The Saints exploded and dominated, while the Eagles just simply had no answer for Drew Brees and the Saints offense, who just scored at will. Final score: Saints 48, Eagles 22

    Needless to say, a lot of people went home not happy at all. Just getting destroyed at home, what a major embarrassment! I stayed for the entire game, even with a lot of people leaving early. Guess I just wanted to get my ticket's worth, one way or another.

    I don't know if I'll go on a quest to visit every football stadium in the NFL, since tickets are harder to get, and prices a lot higher. But if I decide to do that, this will be Stadium #1.

    Photos & Videos


  • 04Jan 2010

    4 The 2 Must-Sees of Philadelphia 01/04/2010 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Being off from work, and nothing else to do, I decided to be a tourist for a few hours. So I went into Center City, taking the train, as I will no longer bring a car there. I rode into the Gallery, which is the shopping mall. From there, I walked to the main attractions.

    It has been a while since I've been there, having gone there with friends who visited there before. I started with the Liberty Bell, which I consider to be the symbol of Philadelphia, and always the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to must-sees in this city. I had to go through security, which was similar to the ones at the airport.

    The Liberty Bell was commissioned in 1751, it was rung to make public announcements. It was cracked upon first use, when it hung in the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall). Repairs have been made, but it only got worse. And it was last rung in 1846, for George Washington's birthday.

    After seeing the Liberty Bell, I went to Independence Hall. After the Liberty Bell, this is the second thing that I recommend seeing. Being January, which is the off-season, I was able to come back later until the next tour time. But this is usually not the case during the busier times of the year.

    I would see the Assembly Room, where the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed on July 4, 1776, and where the Constitution was ratified in 1787. And the former Supreme Court room. Not my first time visiting, and I would visit it again in 2016.

    I also took the time to see Congress Hall, which was to right of Independence Hall. Then headed back home.

    Photos & Videos


  • 12Apr 2010

    5 76ers Not Enough Heat 04/12/2010 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    When going to the Sports Complex to buy some Phillies tickets, I decided to take in a Philadelphia 76ers game at the Wachovia Center. The first game I've ever attended, was in 1991, back when Charles Barkley played for the team, the only once I've attended at the old Spectrum. The Sixers, along with the Flyers, moved to its current home, the Wachovia Center. Since then, I've been to a few games over the years.

    I admit, I am usually nothing more than a casual fan of basketball, and follow it through ESPN or Yahoo Sports. It certainly does not help that the Sixers (as they are commonly known as) had a horrible season. I have been to a few games over the years, but this would be the first time I've actually made it for the start of the game.

    After buying tickets at Citizens Bank Park, I went to the ticket office to buy a seat to the Sixers game against the Miami Heat. I figure, the game is not sold out, and it's coming close to the end of the regular season, with the Sixers not going to the playoffs. When buying the ticket, I was shocked to learn that there is a fee for buying at the window. That just annoyed me, big-time. It's bad enough that fees get charged for buying online or over the phone, but a fee for buying in person is just plain ridiculous.

    I would sit at one end of the court, looking around. I saw the banners for the Flyers and Sixers at the ceiling, which were for division titles and championships won during their respective history. During halftime, I just walked around the hallway. There is a display of old uniforms and game balls, of milestones reached.

    The 76ers took on Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat. The Heat just played for placement in the conference, which would determine who they played in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers just wanted the season to end, as this was the last home game of the season.

    The game was not as lopsided as their records indicate, and I thought the Sixers would come away with a victory when they led at the half, and after 3 quarters. But Wade had 30 points in the game, and assisted on the game winning shot by Udonis Haslem, with only 1 second left. Andre Iguodalaï tried to hit a game-tying shot for the home team, but missed. And the Heat beat the Sixers, 107-105. An entertaining game, even though not the result that I hoped for.

    After the game, I walked around the place, and headed back home.

    Photos & Videos


  • 29Apr 2012

    6 Seeing Old City 04/29/2012 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    This was the day that I would meet with Harish, who came with his friend, Justin. We would meet around the Liberty Bell area, and tried to look for a place for panoramic views of the city. I honestly don't think there were any, as I remember asking a few years ago. We went to a gift shop, and asked the person there, and told us of a certain location. Only when we went there, there was nothing. After walking around for a little while, we just gave up.

    So all 3 of us, walked to Old City neighborhood, and looked into the Franklin Court. But it was where Benjamin Franklin lived at one point, but unfortunately, the place was under renovations. So we continued on, and came to Christ Church.

    Founded in 1695 by the Church of England, this church was where some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence attended. Like George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross. There was a guide giving a tour to a bunch of school kids. We went inside, and sat for a little while.

    Afterwards, we went back out, and headed to Elfreth's Alley, considered "our nation's oldest residential street". About a block long, it dates back to 1702. And the best 18th century preserved houses in the city. I got to go inside one of them, which is a museum. While looking nice from the outside, it does seem cramped inside. I went to see the few rooms, and the courtyard in the back. This street does have a charm to it, feeling like a step back in time. I got to even see a cat sitting at the window, inside one of the houses. And some of you know how excited I can get, when it comes to cats?

    After seeing the alley, we walked to the Betsy Ross House, but did not go inside it. Instead, we bought drinks at a stand there, and just hung out, and get to know each other better. It was a nice time.


  • 07Oct 2012

    7 Meeting in Prison 10/07/2012 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    The second one was on October 7th. It was a rainy day, and I would meet up with Cydele. We met a week earlier at the meet-up in LA. When learning that she was coming to Philly, I made plans to meet up when she came into town. We exchanged messages on TB, to arrange the meeting time and place. Originally from San Diego, Cydele was in Pittsburgh for a conference. She then drove across PA to Philly, as she wanted to see this city.

    I arrived into town, and ended up walking all the way to the rental agency, where she would be returning the car. It was a long walk, as I was too cheap to use the subway. It was very humid, and I started to sweat quickly. Once there, I got a text message, telling me that she was running late. I waited at the car rental agency, then walked a few blocks to the Franklin Institute. After a little mix-up, we finally met up.

    Since she was saving the main attractions for another day, she wanted to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary, a prison that once held the infamous gangster, Al Capone. So we walked about 5 blocks to get there. Once we arrived, we separated for the time, since we each got our own audioguide.

    Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was considered one of the first American prisons, and the one that other prisons modeled after. Considered state of the art during its time, as it did have running water, and was able to control room temperature. The prison closed in 1971, and later became an historical landmark and a museum.

    After walking around the prison, and seeing the different cells, I met up with Cydele, and we walked to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Now already, you should know why we headed that way. That's right, it's to run the steps like Rocky Balboa did in the film, hence why the Art Museum steps is often called the "Rocky steps". But first, we had to see the statue of Rocky himself. There was a line for it, to get a photo with the statue, which both of us did.

    It was built in 1982, around the time of filming of "Rocky III". Shortly after, it got moved to the Spectrum, former home of the Flyers and 76ers. It did return to the art museum briefly for a few movies that were filmed in Philly. But it was not a permanent return until 2006, as it was placed on the right side of the Art Museum steps.

    After seeing the statue, we both ran up the steps, to the top where the footprints were. Then we each did the arm raising thing, just like Rocky did. I don't know how many times I've done it. And it does give nice views of downtown Philly, more locally known as Center City.

    Afterwards, we walked along the Ben Franklin Parkway, stopping by Love Park for a little bit. Then went to Reading Terminal Market, which is an indoor market, with farmer's market and places to eat. This was where we got to eat the Philly specialty, the Philly cheesesteaks. Unfortunately, I was running low on cash, and the place did not accept credit card, so Cydele had to cover for me. Hopefully, I will return the favor someday.

    After enjoying our cheesesteaks, we had to part ways, as I had to head back. It was a fun time to meet up with a TBer for the second time, only this time, in Philly.

    Photos & Videos


  • 07Aug 2013

    8 Summer Sightseeing 08/07/2013 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    This will be a lit of places that I visited in the summer of 2013, as I had free time to see more of Philly. Starting off at the Independence Visitor Center, which I've been to a few times before, but never really took the time to really see it. This took place in July, and I will list them here...

    1. Archaeological finds of the President's House - the part of the house unearthed, was the slave quarters, where George Washington kept his slaves. Surrounding it, was the exhibition that got into the executive branch of the government, the history of slavery, the different slaves owned by Washington, and how he got around the Abolition Act of 1780. I thought it was really interesting, learning that our First President... well, it does make him more human, to put it mildly.

    2. Philadelphia History Museum - my main reason to visit, was for the Phillies exhibition, which is temporary. On display are some memorabilia from fans, and the jerseys of Mike Schimdt and Jimmy Rollins, plus the champagne bottle used after the Phils won the World Series in 2008. And oh, in case anyone is wondering why I have not reviewed the Phillies ballpark yet, it's because I am saving it for last. This museum seems to be more for the locals than out-of-town visitors, as it is a rotating exhibition to share memories for the locals.

    3. Old City Hall - as the name indicates, it used to be the previous City Hall location. Before moving to its current location in Center City.

    4. Free Quaker Meeting House - Built in 1783, as the Free Quakers needed a place of worship after being split from the other Quakers, since the Free Quakers supported the Revolution, while the others believed that they needed to stay out of the war. I went inside, and looked around, but there is not much to see. A short display telling you who the Free Quakers are.

    5. Christ Church Burial Ground. This was where Benjamin Franklin and a few other signers of the Declaration of Independence, were buried. Turned out, it required a $2 admission, which I paid. And turned out again, that Franklin's grave, was actually visible from outside the grounds, through fence, which would have saved me a few dollars. I know it only a few dollars, but still, what a waste!

    6. Arch Street Friends Meeting House - another place of worship for the Quakers. But have to say, this one was more interesting than the other 2 sights so far. With impressive dioramas on William Penn's life, and why the Quakers moved to the New World. Plus the worship area, which is used to this day.

    7. Betsy Ross House - a museum on the woman who supposedly created the very first American flag there. And actually lived at that exact location as well. The courtyard was the only nice part, but does not have much else. Not worth visiting at all, as the admission was way overpriced, in an attraction that can be seen very quickly.

    Photos & Videos


  • 17Dec 2013

    9 A Philly Christmas 12/17/2013 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    After reading about some of the Christmas attractions in the Philly area, in Andrew's blog, I had to go see them for myself. I decided to go on this day, after work.

    I arrived into Center City, and went to the Macy's building first. This used to be the old Wanamaker's, the first department store in Philly, and one of the first in the US. It opened in 1911, and has been featured in some movies over the years, like "Mannequin" in 1987, and "12 Monkeys" in 1995. It remained Wanamaker's until 1997, when it was renamed Lord & Taylor. Then became a Macy's in 2006, and the building is now a historical landmark.

    One of the main features in the store, is the giant bronze eagle, which became a famous meeting spot. That led to a local famous saying, "Meet you at the eagle", and shoppers knew immediately, where to meet.

    But my reason to come to Macy's, is for the 2 Christmas attractions inside it. The first one that I went to, was the Christmas Light Show. I watched it on the 2nd floor, and it was a nice view. A Christmas tradition since 1956, it is held inside the Macy’s in Center City, which used to be the old Wanamaker’s store. Just look for the large Christmas tree, which is a sight in itself. The colors of the lights keep changing, and just nice to see.

    The light show is narrated by Julie Andrews, and tells a bunch of Christmas stories. Some of them include “The Nutcracker”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and “Frosty the Snowman”, with the music or songs in the background. After seeing the show, it may become a Christmas tradition of mine.

    The second one inside Macy's, is Dickens Village. This is a walkthrough attraction, through a series of displays, telling the story of the Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol”. It starts off with Dickens himself, giving an introduction. Then the story itself. This is a nice attraction to see, and the displays do an impressive job of telling the story, some of which come alive. The artwork and attention to detail are just great to look at, and the story is interesting enough to follow. And can go at own pace, and free to enter.

    Then I exited the building, and saw some nice holiday window displays, along the side of the building. Then walked through City Hall, to Love Park, where the Christmas Village was. It was wet, and slippery, as it just snowed, so there was a lot of slush. I got to the Christmas Village, and looked around for a little bit. I did not stay long, as it was not fun to walk around.

    Afterwards, I decided to backtrack, and head to Reading Terminal Market, which is Philly's farmer market. This place has a variety of eateries, some of which, I was very tempted to try. But that will have to be for another time. My main reason for coming here, was for the Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad. Basically, this was a model train set. This is always a delight for me to see, trains running, and the model town set. There were some white buttons to push, but only a few of them worked.

    I went back to the Macy's, to catch another showing of the Light Show. Then headed back home. It was fun checking out the Christmas attractions in Philly, and I may check out more later on. And thanks to Andrew, I may have a Christmas tradition on my hands, and wonder why I never knew about it before.

    Photos & Videos


  • 19Dec 2013

    10 A Philly Christmas II 12/19/2013 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    After work, I decided to go into Center City, and visit the Christmas Village again. This time, it was much better weather, warmer than a couple days ago, and less windy. It felt nicer.

    I walked around again, looking at more of the shops, and to the other side, where I saw more things, like Christmas trees on sale, along with a display of the nativity. As the name would indicate, this attraction is a Christmas village from Germany, with its various shops, selling all kinds of goodies. Plus you can get to try out a Belgain waffle, gingerbread cookies, and all kinds of German food, like bratwurst!

    The park has a Christmas tree with lights, with the LOVE sign in front of it, is a nice photo opp. Though, there will be people who may “volunteer” to take your photo for you. Just something to beware of. But the sight itself, especially at night, is nice to look at.

    Another highlight, is the Kathe Wohlfahrt, which is a gift shop of Christmas ornaments. It is a nice place to see the different types of ornaments and other types of Christmas crafts, all coming from Germany. This place should be definitely be checked out, though photography is not allowed at all!

    Plus I decided to try out a Belgian waffle, which I had not had, since my trip to Belgium. I had it with chocolate syrup, and let's just say, I really miss eating those.

    Afterwards, I walked over to Franklin Square. It was quite a walk, about 7 blocks one way, and 2 blocks another way. Walking by Reading Terminal Market and Chinatown, and through some deserted blocks. I finally got to Franklin Square, which was really out of the way.

    In Franklin Square, there was a fountain, with a display of a kite with a key attached to the kite string, representing the experiment with electricity, that Benjamin Franklin became known for. This would lead to his invention of the lightning rod.

    Walking around the square, I saw the merry-go-round, and various Christmas decorations. There were some people there, and a few food stands that were open. I picked a spot, and then watched the light show. I thought it was okay, but not worth going out of my way to see it.

    After the light show ended, I headed back home. I had fun, and got to see more of Christmas in Philly. There are still more things to see, but that may have to wait until next year.

    Photos & Videos


  • 03Jun 2015

    11 Trip to the Zoo 06/03/2015 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    When surfing the net, I stumbled upon a web site called Zoochat, which is a web site for zoo enthusiasts. These are a group of people that just loves going to zoos around the world, and in the process, loves animals. After reading some threads there, I decided to make a visit to the Philadelphia Zoo.

    I have not been there in over 25 years. I can't remember exactly when I last went. Only remembering dragging my parents to go, and riding the monorail around the zoo. Judging from the photos I have seen, things look a lot different now.

    I arrived at the zoo, and already it was crowded. A lot of school groups taking the field trip to the zoo. I paid admission, and entered. I started with the Small Mammal House. From there, I would walk in a clockwise direction around the zoo, for the most part. I would take detours, to check out Bear Country and the nearby enclosures of ducks and geese that I would normally see around my neighborhood.

    I will be listing some of the highlights of the zoo in the review. But have to say, the biggest highlight of all, is Zoo360, which is a network of elevated walkways, allowing the animals to get out of their enclosure, and walk around the zoo. I have seen it a few times with the tigers and a few primates, and it is always a delight each time.

    I remember back in the 80's, when most animals were held in steel cages, with only enough room to pace around. Thank goodness that is no longer the case, as their enclosures resemble their natural habitat. The Philly Zoo has come a long way. And the monorail is no longer around.

    I stayed until closing, and still did not get to see everything. Then I left the zoo, headed somewhere else, before heading home.

    It was nice to spend the day at the zoo, and could be the first of many zoos that I will be visiting and blogging about, wherever I may travel around the world. Kind of like what I currently do with baseball stadiums, as I do have this sudden interest to visiting zoos in other places.

    I would make another visit on July 3rd (exactly one month later), with my mom. It was a lot more crowded, making it hard to enjoy. But I did get to see the hippos out of the water, which is the first time ever for me.

    I have divided the photos of the animals between the blog and review. The photos in the review is basically an almost complete list of animals that I saw and was able to photograph, as well as things about the zoo itself. I combined the photos from the 2 visits.

    Zoo review and more photos in the blog entry here.

    Photos & Videos


  • 10Aug 2015

    12 Side Trip on Other Side of Delaware 08/10/2015 USA —

    Camden, USA


    I would arrive in downtown Philly, then take PATCO, which took me across the Delaware River, into New Jersey. I arrived into Camden, which I have heard, and could see for myself, how depressed some parts can really be. I have always heard how bad it was.

    Well, I rode the trolley, passing by Campbell Field, to Adventure Aquarium. Then went to pay admission. But before going inside the place, I was on the waterfront, and could see Philly from the other side, as well as the Ben Franklin Bridge, which connected Camden to Philly.

    Entering the aquarium, I followed the zones, which were organized by alphabetical order. This has to be the first time for me to visit aquarium since sometime in the last century. Well, one that was not a theme park, like Sea World or the Living Seas in Epcot. I decided to visit this one, as I had a free day, being off from work. More about this aquarium and more photos in the review here.

    I did come when there were a lot of kids, probably groups from camp, taking a field trip. As a result, very crowded and noisy. I can't imagine how it would be on the weekend, but I won't try to find out. I did have fun, watching the feeding of the hippos and African penguins, as well as "watching" Shark Theater and going through a shark tunnel. More about this aquarium and more photos in the review here.

    I spent about 4 hours in this place. After seeing everything, I left and just headed back to Philly. Then went back home.

    After visiting this one, I decided to add aquariums to my travels, wherever I go. And may start seeing more of New Jersey, whenever I get the chance. Though not in any hurry to make any return trips to Camden, though I still want to see Campbell Field, home of the Riversharks, a minor baseball team.

    Photos & Videos


  • 28Nov 2015

    13 Walking Along Parkway 11/28/2015 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I was so bored this day, so I decided to take a little walk around the city. Taking the train into the city, it was around sunset. I arrived at Suburban Station, and walked to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. I did visit this place before, as I have written about it earlier in this blog. But this time, the bright lights were on, giving a much better view of this place.

    I walked around the nave area, seeing the chapels and the church art around the place. Walking around here, makes me really miss traveling somewhere else in the world. I spent about 30 minutes looking at this place, then went back outside. It was raining a little bit.

    I walked towards City Hall, and saw some sculptures along the way. I took some photos of some of them, like the Holocaust monument, but most of the photos came out lousy. I guess it was the combination of the dim light, and me always having a hard time deciding whether to use flash or not. I am sure I will walk this area again, so hopefully, better photos by then.

    I came upon the Christmas Village in Love Park, but the tree there, was not lit. I was told that the lighting would happen in a week. I continued on, to City Hall, where an ice skating rink has been built. Kind of like Rockefeller Center, but not as romantic, I would think. Seeing this part, I have to remember, to explore more of the Christmas attractions in this city.

    I decided to head to Barcade, located in North Philly, to play some classic video games. At some point, I will write more about this place at another time. Let's just say, I can't get enough of "Double Dragon". After some time, I decided to head home.

    Photos & Videos


  • 09Dec 2015

    14 A Philly Christmas III 12/09/2015 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I decided to seek out more Christmas things in the City of Brotherly Love. This entry will be a combination of different days, as I would see a little bit on each day.

    I would arrive into Philly from the suburbs, at night time, since this was the best time to see the Christmas lights. Plus I still wanted to maintain the annual Christmas traditions, like seeing the Macy's Christmas Light Show and the Dickens Village. I have already talked about those attractions and the Christmas Village earlier in this blog. This entry will be about more things to see.

    But before I get to them, I should mention that I did see window displays at the Macy's store, with scenes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas". I have not seen it for some time, but always thought the cartoon was a bit mean-spirited. These displays are due to the recent Peanuts movie, currently playing in theaters.

    Some of the things that I would see...

    1. Christmas tree at City Hall - how did I not notice this at all? There is a tree lighting ceremony at the start of the season, which I am sure, is really crowded. Really nice to look at, and worth a look, when going between the Macy's department store and the Christmas Village at Love Park. Sometimes, the lights in the surrounding area, blink to some Christmas tunes.

    2. Comcast Holiday Spectacular, which is a holiday show in the Comcast Center, which itself, is the tallest building in Philly. A recent addition to the Christmas scene in Philly, the Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a musical video set to Christmas music and songs. Basically, the show takes you through different musical Christmas numbers, along with different video segments accompanying each number. Some of the musical numbers include “The 12 Days of Christmas”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, part of “The Nutcracker”, and even the theme from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, among others. There are dance performances, and singers on top of some of the buildings within the Philly skyline. Running around 15 minutes, I find the show to be really entertaining

    3. Rittenhouse Square - the public park in downtown area. There were a lot of Christmas lights on display, but all white. Kind of disappointing to me, as I like to see it more colorful. But the designs are nice to look at, and worth a look if in the area. About a 10 to 15 minute walk from City Hall.

    4. Jewelers' Row - a small stretch of Samson Street, full of jewelry stores and appraisers. Jewelers' Row is the oldest diamond district in the US, dating back to 1799. When seeing the photos of it, I thought there would be a lot of lights. But photos can be deceiving, as it turned out, not nearly as many as I expected. It was okay to look at, but only worth seeing if I was passing along the way.

    I hope to see more Christmas attractions in the city, like the Winterfest at Penn's Landing. But it is really out-of-the-way, and quite a walk to get to. So I will have to save it for another time. Hopefully, within this Christmas year.

    Seeing Christmas attractions like these and more, has renewed the Christmas spirit in me somewhat. Now, I want to see what other cities are like, during Christmas time.

    Photos & Videos


  • 31Dec 2015

    15 Vatican Splendors 12/31/2015 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    There were some interesting exhibitions at the Franklin Institute, which is the science museum along the Ben Franklin Parkway. I would go to one of them with my mom, to see one called "Vatican Splendors".

    This exhibition has objects that the Vatican has had in storage for centuries, with some being seen by the public for the first time ever. So they say! They would go as far back as the 1st century, going back to the days of the Roman Empire, through the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, towards the present day. And the objects were arranged in chronological order.

    Entering the exhibition, there was the option to call our mobile phones, and use it as an audioguide. But since it was inside, the signal can be spotty, and frustrating to use. After a little while, I just gave up on it. Besides, there were descriptions, which I found to be good enough to know what I was seeing. And use the descriptions to help caption (or identify) the photos of the objects that I have taken.

    Speaking of which, I am glad that photography was allowed. I am not a fan of places that don't allow photography, considering sometimes, how much money we pay. Besides, photos are no substitute for actually visiting the place. But I digress!

    Other than the problem with the cell phone signal, the exhibition was really enjoyable to see through. Just seeing these objects, definitely made me want to take more trips to Europe. Hoped to take that next trip for my 40th birthday.

    Interesting that the Vatican had objects that were not even from Europe, but from Asia and the Americas as well. With so much to see, it took me between 2 to 3 hours to see everything. So I would say, it was worth the time and money.

    When me and my mom reached the end, we would go downstairs to see a show in the planetarium. We would watch "To Space & Back". After the show, we would leave the museum.

    Along the way, there was a display of St. Peter's Basilica, built with LEGO bricks. It was just amazing to see, and hard to believe what things can be built with these things, that I remember playing with, as toys back in the day.

    We left the museum, and headed back home. A nice way to spend New Year's Eve, and glad that the museum was open on that day. A good way to help close out 2015!

    Happy 2016, and hope for more travels!

    Photos & Videos


  • 28Feb 2016

    16 A Visit to the Small Zoo 02/28/2016 USA —

    Norristown, USA


    It was a very nice day, being unseasonably warm at this time of year. Around 60 F (or 15 C), I decided to make a visit to the Elmwood Park Zoo.

    It was about 30 minutes from where I lived. I would drive to the zoo, going through the town of Norristown. I did have some trouble finding it, but was able to find it. Once I got there, I parked and then paid admission. I was disappointed that the ticket office ran out of zoo maps, which I like to collect, and depend on, to get around. Then entered the zoo.

    Entering the zoo, it is not surprising that there were crowds, since it was Sunday and the weather being unseasonably warm. Very nice day to stroll around the zoo, though getting around the crowds was not fun. Not it was not nearly as bad as I have experienced at other zoos.

    I would see some of the outdoor animals, like the red panda and bisons, as well as some of the farm animals. I went to one end of the zoo, where I would see some construction sites along the way. There will be a couple of new exhibits that have more space, for the giraffes and jaguars. I would see the jaguars out on display, but not the giraffes, as they are kept inside during the winter months.

    After reaching one end, I went back a different way, seeing more animals, to the other side. I would see the different colored macaws (or parrots), along with bobcats and river otters. Then went inside the building called The Bayou, which had some of the reptiles and amphibians, along with some howler monkeys. It really smelled in there, but I guess, that is just way it is.

    Back out, I walked around the other parts of the zoo that I may have overlooked, and then headed back towards the entrance area. I would see the bald eagle and a large totem pole. Then exited the zoo. It took me about 1.5 to 2 hours to see the zoo.

    After leaving the zoo, I went to the nearby high school, where I used to go with my church group back in the late 90's and early 2000's. Then looked around the area, seeing the entire open field at Norristown Farm Park. I only stayed for a very short time. Then headed back home!

    It was a good day to get out, and see another zoo. Probably even closer than the Philly zoo, but I don't know for sure! Just glad to add another zoo to my list.

    Photos & Videos


  • 06Mar 2016

    17 Philadelphia Flower Show 03/06/2016 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Having seen an advertisment for it, and wanting something to do, since I was not traveling anywhere anytime soon. I decided to attend this year's Philadelphia Flower Show.

    I have read about in another TBer's blog, and considered going in the past. But never got around to it, until now. I would buy a ticket at an Acme Supermarket, where I get a $2 discount. And then take the train into the city.

    The Philly Flower Show is the oldest flower show in the US, dating back to 1829. And the largest indoor show in the US as well. The show was held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which I have been inside of, only once. It was for a church conference back in 2001.

    I arrived at there, and had to pass through the hallway with all the stalls, to the actual show. Once I got there, I picked up a map, and started touring around the show.

    The Philly Flower Show has a series of flower displays, basically making it an art form made out of flowers. And a different theme every year. This year's theme was "Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service", to honor the 100 years of the National Park Service.

    Who are the National Park Service? The agency of the government that manages the US national parks, historical sites and other monuments throughout the US. The national parks would include places like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, while the US monuments are mainly historical sites, like Independence Hall and Statue of Liberty.

    I would start off at the Big Timber Lodge, with some nice displays. Then look at most of the other displays, which are works of art in the form of flowers, that have been inspired by the different national parks. Not necessarily a replica of the parks themselves.

    I would have only around 4 hours to see this place, and came around 5:30 PM, hoping to avoid crowds. Well, it turned out to be a great decision, but the crowds went from managable to almost having the displays all to myself.

    I won't get into the displays themselves in this entry, as there is just too much to get into. Instead, I will let the photos speak for themselves. And there are different sides to each display, so some of them will have multiple photos from different angles. The way I will arrange most of the photos is by this... (1) start with the photo of the description sign of the display, with names of national parks and the displays (2) followed by the group of photos of that display itself, with only names of national parks that inspired that display. So yes, there will be a huge load of photographs in this blog entry, a lot more than my usual amount.

    After seeing the floral displays, I would see miniatures and other forms of art inspired by the national parks. Like the decoration of the front doors of homes, and the dining tables. And did stop by the marketplace, where there were a bunch of vendors selling all kinds of things. I did not really see much, since I was not really interested.

    It would take me around 3 hours to see just about everything. After that, I went to the trains, and rode back to get back home.

    It was a very fun night, and I am definitely open to visiting more flower shows in the future. Definitely worth my time!

    Photos & Videos


  • 20Jun 2016

    18 Passport to Founding Fathers and More 06/20/2016 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I decided to visit a bunch of different sites. This entry will include sites from the 3 different days that I visited in June.

    1. Declaration House - where Thomas Jefferson stayed during his time in Philly, and wrote the Declaration of Independence. Hence the name. I walked around the place, and it was disappointing to see some scaffolding around the building. When asking the National Parks ranger when the renovations will be complete, he had no idea. It does make the building less appealing to visit.

    2. Second Bank of the United States - Basically, a portrait gallery. And originally the national bank of the US. It was chartered by James Madison in 1816, which was 5 years after the 1st one was shut down. There was a need for a national bank after the War of 1812, to handle the finances of the country, and deal with the war debt. It lasted 20 years, when Andrew Jackson shut it down in 1832.

    3. Franklin Court - Benjamin Franklin's home in Philly. There were a bunch of different parts to visit. They would include Franklin Court Courtyard, Franklin Court Printing Office, Benjamin Franklin Museum and Fragments of Franklin Court. All were interested to visit, and too extensive to cover here.

    4. National Constitution Center - a museum that tells the story of the United States Constitution throughout the country’s history. Too bad that photography was only allowed in Signers' Hall, which has the statues of the people who signed the Constitution.

    Photos & Videos


  • 26Jun 2016

    19 Going All Over the Place 06/26/2016 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    This day, I decided to visit 4 different places, with one of them being completely unplanned. A late start, as I would not get to the historical area until around 12:30pm. I decided to visit the Franklin Court again, as I did miss this part of the attraction, the Fragments of Franklin Court exhibit. I would not know about it, until I read about it online later on. So I had to make a return visit. I would see the original wall and some old toilet bowls.

    After the return visit to Franklin Court, I would head over to another site, which turned out to be a 15-minute walk. And walking on cobblestone was no fun at all. I would cut through a historical area, surrounded by old colonial buildings, in some type of park. And would see Carpenters' Hall along the way. I did not originally plan to visit this place, but decided to stop by, since it was on the way.

    This was the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774, where delegates from the different colonies got together to figure out what to do next, after the passing of the Intolerable Acts (also known as the Coercive Acts), and whether independence would be a possibility. I looked around the place for a bit.

    After seeing Carpenters' Hall, I would take a walk through Society Hill, which was an old residential area, with a bunch of colonial-looking row houses. It looked really nice, and a bit more quieter than the Independence Hall area. And a lot more shaded, as it was hot.

    I would arrive at the Thaddeaus Kosciuszko National Memorial. I went inside, and looked around the place. This was once the home of Thaddeaus Kosciuszko, who was a Polish military officer, and fought alongside the Continental Army against the British during the American Revolution. I thought this place would be a quickie like the Declaration House, but it was nothing like that.

    After seeing this place, I went across the street to see St. Peter's Church. I looked around for a little bit, as the church building was closed. So I did not go inside. Then headed back, towards the visitor center.

    I did pass by the First Bank of the United States, which was the first national bank building that was started by the first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Currently, it is not open, and I don't think it is even being used at all.

    I went to the visitor center, to cool off for a bit. And ask for directions to the next place, the Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site. Then walked to the bus stop, and took the bus to get there. Good thing I did that, as it would have been a long walk, with almost no shade along the way.

    I arrived there, and much to my disappointment, there was scaffolding around the building. So that made it look less attractive. I went inside, and looked around the only home that is still left standing in Philly. Edgar Allan Poe lived his most productive years in Philly, having written some of his short stories, like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat", while living there. I can remember having to read some of his stories while in middle school, but can't say that I am a fan of his. Still, he did leave a legacy, which would later influence people like Sir Arthur Canon Doyle and Alfred Hitchcock.

    After seeing the Poe home, my time was running out, as I headed to the Penn Museum. It would take a while to get there, as it was basically on the other side of the city. But I did have a membership pass which I borrowed from my local library, to use. And this would be the only time I would have, to visit this place.

    Luckily, I have been to this place before, and even had photos of the place. But ended up losing them. Still, I did not mind, as I really liked this place. With the 50 minutes that I had left, I zipped through as much as I can, trying to snap as many photos as possible. I would go through the Asian part, then the Egyptian mummies section, zip through the ancient Mediterranean part, and even saw the Iraqi exhibition. But I obviously ran out of time.

    After closing, it was time to head back home. I was able to do just about everything I planned to do, on a hot day. And got a few more NPS stamps.

    Photos & Videos


  • 29Sep 2016

    20 Meetup in the Rain 09/29/2016 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I learned that Ian would be coming to Philly. At first, it looked like that I would not be able to meet him, since I was going through the moving process during that time. But the moving process ended earlier than expected, so that allowed me to meet up with him.

    I would have to take the train into the city, and walked to the Liberty Bell Center. And oh boy, it was raining, which would mean, this will be a tough day to enjoy.

    I waited around the entrance, until Ian arrived, with his wife, Janice. They were daytripping from Washington DC, part of their trip in the US. And we went inside the building, to see the Liberty Bell. We would skip all the other displays, as they had only a short time in Philly.

    After seeing the bell, we then went to the Independence Visitor Center, to see if there are any tickets left to tour Independence Hall. Turned out that there were, and we got 3 of them. Then walked back towards Independence Hall, and got in line for security on the East Wing side.

    After going through security, we went inside the East Wing of Independence Hall. As it has been raining steadily, it was nice to be somewhere inside and dry. After a short introduction, we were shown around the first floor of the place. But to my surprise, that was all we would see. No visit to the 2nd floor. Not sure why, and I did not get a chance to ask, as we had to leave the building. Kind of disappointing, in a way.

    Being in the area, we decided to visit Congress Hall. I have been here before, but this time, I would see more of it. I was not aware that there was a 2nd floor to visit. But we got to see it, on a guided tour. Turned out, there was more to see. So a different visit this time. Congress Hall was once the home of US Congress when Philadelphia was the capital, from 1790 to 1800. The entrance is only accessible, after you went through security to get into the Independence Hall area.

    Originally built as the Philadelphia County Courthouse, this building has seen some history during that time. It has seen second inauguration of George Washington, as well as the inauguration of John Adams. Plus this was where the ratification of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution took place, among other things. The 1st floor has the House of Representatives, which is not very big, since there were only 16 states at the time. The Senate is on the 2nd floor, with portraits of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

    After seeing Congress Hall, we proceeded to the Great Essentials Exhibit of the West Wing, which I visited before. But now that I think of it, I feel that this is a separate attraction. It houses the copies of the following documents… Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Articles of Confederation. Displayed in the dark, to protect them from light, you will have to lift the cover to see them. And because of all this, flash photography is not allowed. I did take photos of them and posted them here, but they are hard to see. Now, I have been told that these copies are older than the copies at the National Archives in Washington DC. Also on display, is the silver inkstand, which was used during the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    Afterwards, with some time left in terms of nearby free attractions that remain open, we made a stop at the National Portrait Gallery (review here). We would stay until around closing time. Then back out, into the rain.

    We walked around the historical area, seeing some of the old buildings. Then walked all the way east, towards the Delaware River. I don't think that I ever ventured to this part of the city, as I came upon the Irish Memorial. This was a monument that commemorates the Great Hunger, that would hit Ireland in the 1840's. I did not know about this structure. Then we came to the bank of the river, seeing New Jersey on the other side.

    Afterwards, we walked all the way back. Past the historical area, as we walked around Chinatown. Then walked towards City Hall, but did not venture too close, as we did not want to stray too far from the Greyhound station. Then went inside a Starbucks, where we hung out for some time.

    After talking for some time, we had to part ways. Ian and Janice had to catch the Greyhound bus back to DC. And I had to go home.

    It was nice to meet up with both Ian and Janice, and even better that I did not have to travel far.

    Photos & Videos


  • 19Dec 2016

    21 A Philly Christmas IV 12/19/2016 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Taking a trip to downtown, mainly to keep my Christmas traditions going in Philly. Having to take the bus and train into the city, I would arrive at City Hall. And see that the Christmas Village has been relocated there, due to renovation work being done at its usual home, LOVE Park.

    I walked through it, as the shops are all over the place. And they managed to put a merry-go-round in the middle of City Hall Square. I continued on, until I got to the Macy's department store. I saw that there were different window displays, with a couple classics from years past. After my recent Christmas trip to New York, I learned that the window displays have a different theme each year. And they can be interesting to look at. This year's theme is "Reason to Believe".

    I went inside, mainly to see the light show and walk through Dickens Village. A reminder that another year has passed, and how fast it has gone. Just like that.

    After seeing those things, I went back out, to look at the window displays again. And take photos, as they would come out better. But would have some issues with my camera.

    I went back to the Christmas Village, looking for the Kathe Wohlfahrt. Not easy to find, but I thought it would not happen this year. But I did find it, and walked through that as well. Then walked around more of the area.

    I considered walking all the way to Penn's Landing, to see more of the Christmas displays. But it was too far, and it was getting late. I had to get back home as soon as I can, as there were some things to do.

    Still, I am happy that these traditions have continued on for me. And maybe I should start a spinoff blog on Christmas travels, as this is becoming a thing with me.

    Photos & Videos


  • 17Mar 2017

    22 Philadelphia Flower Show 2 03/17/2017 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    This was my second flower show that I have attended, hence why the title just has the number at the end of it, representing the number of flower shows in Philly that I have attended in my lifetime.

    I would end up going on a Friday night, and that turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Not surprisingly, it was more crowded, and I felt like that I did not get to see and take photos as much as I could have. Plus I was relying on my cell phone, since my camera was having some problem.

    The theme of this flower show was "Holland", which celebrating the country of the Netherlands, also known as Holland. I have been to that country once, mainly Amsterdam. More about that trip in this blog here... Netherlands 2010.

    Starting from the entrance, I walked around the Entrance Garden, which has a Dutch bridge, surrounded by tulips. As the Netherlands does have a tradition with tulips, as well as bikes, as shown in the displays at this show. So I would see them in some of the other floral displays. Plus the different artwork with table settings and front entrances, as well as history of flowers in the Netherlands on display.

    I would have around 4 hours to see this place, just like last year. I assumed it would be enough time, but this time, I would run out of time, as I had to hurry to see as much as I can. It was really crowded, and this time, stayed crowded until closing time. Some people even brought their dogs to the show, which I was not aware that pets were allowed.

    Since I took a bunch of photos of many of the displays, I will let them speak for themselves. Organized the same way as before, with the photo of the sign being the first of the group, followed by photos of the displays.

    It was an enjoyable flower show to attend, as I did like the floral displays. I definitely plan to make this annual thing, as much as I can.

    Photos & Videos


  • 22Dec 2017

    23 Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor 12/22/2017 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    After seeing that the Franklin Institute was having the special exhibition, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor, I had to go see this myself. Went into the city, and to the Franklin Institute. I would go on a Friday night with my mom, as this was the only time where we just pay admission for this special exhibit, instead of paying for both this and the museum. We tend to skip the museum part, so no point in paying for that. Just saved some money there.

    Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor is an exhibition on the collection of the different statues of the warriors, that served as guards of the tomb of the first emperor of China. Created 2000 years ago, there are a bunch of these statues on display in China. Only a handful of these statues were on display here at the Franklin Institute.

    In addition to the different statues, there were some artifacts on display, along with interactive exhibits. The whole exhibition was relatively small, as there was not nearly as much to see, compared to some of the other exhibitions that I have seen. So it did not take long to see.

    My mom has actually seen the real thing in China, so she may not have been nearly as impressed with this exhibition. I thought it was good, though I know this is no substitute for seeing the real thing. If anything, this can serve as a possible preview of a future trip for me. And a good way to spend a Friday night.

    After seeing this part, we just went back home. I always enjoy seeing these types of exhibitions, and do hope to see more in the future.

    Photos & Videos


  • 27Dec 2017

    24 World Nativities 12/27/2017 USA —

    Bryn Athyn, USA


    It was a very cold day, as I had my sister's family came over for Christmas. For this day, we decided to visit the Glencairn Museum, to see the exhibition, "World Nativities". I would go with my mom, and my sister and her family would soon follow, to the museum.

    I was able to borrow a museum pass to this attraction, from a local library. So we were able to enter the place for free, sort of speak. This did save us a lot of money.

    Arriving there, as the Glencairn Museum was located in the Philly suburb of Bryn Athyn. Once we got there, we came up to a huge church building. Then went inside, to look around.

    World's Nativities was an exhibition of miniature settings of the nativity scene from different parts of the world. From Europe to Africa. to Latin America. Seeing the different types, and the cultural influence in them, made them really impressive to see. I really enjoyed seeing these miniature sets, as there is a great attention to detail. The photographs will tell a much better story of these miniature sets, rather than me describe each one.

    After seeing these sets, we all just went back home. While I was not in the mood at the beginning, I ended up being glad that my mom came up with the idea to see this place. I do like visiting Christmas attractions.

    Photos & Videos


  • 10Mar 2018

    25 Philadelphia Flower Show 3 03/10/2018 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    As going to the Philadelphia Flower Show has become an annual tradition, as this would be my 3rd straight year going to it. I would go on a Saturday, as it seemed like this would be the only time that I would have. And I was running out of time to see it.

    I made sure that I arrived there early enough. And this time, I would have a different camera and cell phone. The camera used to be my mom's, and the cell phone is an updated one. My old phone broke down. So it will be interesting to see how these will work out, as I don't like the change of devices.

    The theme of this flower show was "Wonders of Water". Not sure what to expect, other than flower displays with water.

    I arrived at the flower show, and entered the convention center. Then walked around the flower show, following the map by the numbers on it. I did try to follow it in order, taking many photos of the displays. As water tends to be very tricky to photograph, as it often does not come out as good as it would look. I was not sure how these photos will turn out, when I have to check them later on.

    Unlike last year, I did have enough time to see as much as I wanted to. I was able to see almost all of the flower displays, plus the other parts. I have to admit, I found myself not as impressed this time around. I guess it is hard to do this show at a high level every time. As someone would often say, no one bats a thousand. That is not to say that this was terrible. It definitely was not. Just compared to the previous two, I was not as impressed with this one.

    I will let the photos speak for themselves, as they will showcase this year's flower show. And see if the cell phone will be my main camera to take photos on future trips.

    Photos & Videos


  • 15Sep 2018

    26 Keystone Comic Con 09/15/2018 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I decided at the very last minute, to go to the Keystone Comic Con. I was never really sure, as I never been to a comic con before. I have been meaning to go for a long time, but ended up not going for numerous reasons. But this time, I made myself go, as I had nothing else to do. Plus I really needed to see what a comic con really was.

    I would take the train into the city, and walk to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. When I entered into the building, I had to look around to register and get my pass. After doing that, I went to the main show floor of the convention.

    I was not sure what to expect. It was certainly not crowded as the other, more famous ones. Probably because it is the very first one, and not well known as those. So not really getting a true feel, in terms of dealing with crowds. I did walk around the floor, seeing various stands that sold all kinds of merchandise. Whether they are toys, figurines, comic books, DVDs and other things that I don't know how to describe.

    Plus some props to play around with. Like the infinity gauntlet or the Super Bowl trophy made of Lego bricks! And some from the Star Wars movies, with some Star Wars characters around it.

    Also, I would get to see some people in cosplay, or dressed as various characters from the movies, TV and comics. And not Halloween costumes, but actual costumes that would take a lot of time to create. Definitely something that some people take very seriously. I would take photos of some of them along the way.

    I did go to a couple panels, jumping into them late. One of them about being a YouTuber, and another with comic writers from Marvel. Also, I did go into a DC-themed panel, but ended up leaving, since I am so behind in my DC-related movies and TV shows. The best panel that I went to, was the Q&A with Kevin Conroy. The voice of Batman, from "Batman: the Animated Series".

    I would waste time, playing some old games, from old systems. And go to a Cosplay competition, which was interesting to watch in itself. Not just seeing how elaborate the costumes are, but just the fact of how much people are really into this.

    I stayed until around closing time. Then went home. I wished that I would go on another day, but have to save money and time.

    It was a very good time to go. Even if I am not a comic book fan, being a casual one at best. And now, I hope to go to more, mainly the bigger ones, like in New York and San Diego. And of course, Wizard Con, which is another Philly convention.

    Photos & Videos


  • 07Mar 2019

    27 Philadelphia Flower Show 4 03/07/2019 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Going to the Philadelphia Flower Show for the 4th straight year. I was undecided which day to go, and had to make sure that I got there early enough, to see everything. So I would leave in the afternoon.

    Took the train to the PA Convention Center, and went to the Flower Show. I did stop by the gift shop for a bit, which I never done before, as I recently had the urge to start collecting pins. But I will decide later.

    The theme of this show is "Flower Power". I guess it is to the theme of the 1960's, or the hippie movement. I am not exactly sure. Also, there were displays from different countries, that were competing in the Interflora World Cup. First time learning about this, as this one was held in Philly.

    There was quite a bit to see, especially with the World Cup displays. I wanted to make sure that I saw all of them, as shown in the photos below.

    I will admit, there were times when I had a hard time enjoying this show. Mainly due to some things happening in my life, completely unrelated to this. I did have to sit down, and compose myself.

    Overall, it was a nice display to see, though not as good as the previous ones. There were some really great ones, like the one with the different color neon lights.

    I was able to see everything that I wanted to see. I stayed until around 8:45pm, when I left to catch a train back home.

    Not sure if I will attend next year's. But it is no fault of this year's show, as it was a really good show, and not a waste of my time.

    Photos & Videos


  • 04Jul 2019

    28 Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes 07/04/2019 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Being the 4th of July with nothing to do, I decided to visit the Franklin Institute, mainly for the special exhibition, "Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes". I would visit in the late afternoon, when I paid only for this, and not the general admission. Saved me some money.

    So once I got there, as I would find myself in the middle of the "Welcome America" celebration, that happens every year in Philly, I would go inside the museum. Paid admission, and hung around for a bit, as I finished up my soda. Then entered the exhibition.

    Rather than do a detailed walkthrough, which would be tedious and boring, I will just write a short summary.

    Basically, this was about Marvel Comics and its influence on pop culture. Starting with its beginnings, then getting into different characters of Marvel Comics. This was when it became more of a costume exhibit, as it has costumes that were used in movies. Mainly ones from the MCU, the most successful shared universe in movie history. The photos will show the different things that were on display, along with statues of some of those characters.

    I thought it was a nice diversion and something to do, outside of home. And inside an air-conditioned museum. Plus the museum was not crowded. Not sure if I should be surprised or not. It was nice to see the things with my own eyes, that were used in the movies. Worn by the actual actors. So I thought it was very much worth it. Then again, I have really gotten into Marvel, especially the last 2 years, when they have released the Avengers films.

    I would just finish seeing this exhibit, as the museum was getting ready to close. And would have to leave the place. I did get to meet a family from Richmond for a little bit, as we were exiting. They would go to see the fireworks, while I just ran back to Suburban Station.

    When I got there, it seemed like a train was cancelled. So I had to wait nearly an hour for the next one. Just hope it won't get crowded. And it was not, as I rode it to get back home.

    Photos & Videos


  • 15Jan 2020

    29 Seeing Some Art at Night 01/15/2020 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    Well, with nothing else to do, I decided to go visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Never sure of the exact name, just that I knew it as the place with the Rocky steps. I have been inside once, but that was more than a decade ago. I have been meaning to visit this place again, but only when it was "pay-as-you-wish" nights, as the admission is really high. I figure, now is the time.

    Arriving into Philly, I was looking into getting something to eat. But after seeing the prices, and looking at other options, I decided to hold off after the museum. So I walked to the museum, went up the Rocky steps and actually went inside. Paid $5 for my time there, and went upstairs. I did see the golden statue of Diana along the way. There were so many things to see, but I already decided to start with the European Art, from the Medieval to Early Renaissance (1100-1500).

    Entering into this section, there were some big religious artifacts on display, in the main hallway. Then I went to the side rooms, some have paintings and other items on display, and some were re-creations of rooms in different styles. Plus there was a cloister with a fountain, that came from 12th century France. It was really nice to see.

    I looked at some more art from the Middle Ages. Then came to the Asian Arts section. There was the Indian temple with the pillars, which originally came from 16th century India. That was when I was told by a guard, that the red light on my camera may ruin the art in this place. Never heard of this before, but I did stop using it for a little while. My flash was turned off.

    I looked at the other Asian art, as there was Chinese art, along with a Japanese Buddhist temple and teahouse. That area was a nice walkthrough, and another reminder that there was still so many places in the world that I need to visit. Plus a small display of Korean art, which was basically ceramics. After walking through the Asian art section, I went back out to the main stair hall.

    To the other side, where it was European art, from the Renaissance to Romanticism (1500-1850). Not as many paintings on display, but more ceramics and other period furniture on display. This part seemed to be more about the re-creations of the different styles of rooms throughout this time period, than the individual arts. In that case, I think it does a good job of that. Saw some more rooms and art from the Baroque period.

    I kept looking at the time, and when coming to a crossroad, I decided to end this visit, as I wanted to catch an early train back. So I had to get a head start, walking back to Suburban Station from the museum. And good thing that I did, as it was all the time that I needed.

    Arriving there, the train came on time, and I took it to go back home. And glad that I did, as I needed to do something, after the tough past week it has been for me. I am sure that I will make a return visit to this museum, to see more. And more likely, on Wednesday nights.

    Photos & Videos


  • 16Jan 2020

    30 Seeing the Orange and Black 01/16/2020 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    I decided to catch a Flyers game this time around. I have been to some games over the years, but not often, as the tickets are very pricey. But I do enjoy watching hockey.

    Getting a bit of a late start, I took the train into the city, then the subway to the Sports Complex. Getting there, it was a very cold day. When walking through the parking lot, I saw a lot of cars trying to park. And I know that it costs a lot of money. All of which, made me glad that I did not drive to the place. I got to the Wells Fargo Center.

    When trying to enter, my ticket was not valid. So I had to go to the box office, to try to print it out. But no luck there either. Since I bought the ticket from Seatgeek, I had to talk to them. And the only way was by online chat, as they did not seem to have a phone number.

    In a way, this was probably better, with all the noise around me. So less worry about having to try to hear what the person was saying. The customer service person, Sam, helped me out, by exchanging my ticket for about the same price. I did not pay any extra. Though I had to download the Seatgeek app, I was able to get a ticket. Once I had that one scanned, I was able to enter the Wells Fargo Center.

    Not much time to get to my seat, so I went directly to my section. And it was at a good location, as I sat in the middle sections, seeing the entire ice in my view. This time, there were projections on the ice, as it did a little show on it. The advancement of technology. Looked around, seeing the banners in the rafters.

    During the 1st intermission, I did try to see the history display cases in the concourse, but did not get good looks due to crowds and limited time. And the 2nd intermission, I just stayed in my seat, to watch the little kids play some hockey. They were called the Mites on Ice.

    The Philadelphia Flyers take on the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams trying to stay in the playoff picture. The Flyers coming off a huge win against the Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues. But this time, the Flyers were very lackluster, as they did not seem to really be in the game. They did start the scoring towards the end of the 1st period. But the Canadiens quickly tied the score less than a minute later. And they scored 3 more unanswered goals. The Flyers lost to the Canadiens, by score of 4-1.

    After the game, I went around the concourse, hoping to see the history display case, on both the Flyers and 76ers. But it seemed like it has been removed. And the Flyers Hall of Fame was relocated towards one of the entrances, which has the statues of those in it. Some big names, like Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent. Also, there was a Flyers Hat Trick History display, which contains all the hats thrown on the ice whenever a Flyers player scored a hat trick. Plus some individual ones for the recent hat tricks.

    I had to leave, and went back home the same way. Though getting back kind of late. It was a fun to go out, though the result kind of ruined it for me. But I hope to go to more hockey games. And just put the photos and the summaries of any more from this season, in this entry.

    Photos & Videos


  • 05Mar 2020

    31 Philadelphia Flower Show 5 03/05/2020 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA


    This was the 5th Flower Show that I have gone to. As before, I would go late in the day, but made sure that I stayed away from the weekend, hoping for less crowds. Well, that would not really be the case for me.

    Arrived there, as I would have about 3 1/2 hours for the show. And I would go non-stop, with very little time for rest. This time, I will only use my cell phone as my camera, instead of having that and digital camera.

    The theme of this flower show was "Rivera Holiday". This focuses on the Mediterranean culture, with that European feel that I always love to see. Mainly on the idea of taking vacations in that part of the world, for a relaxing type. And enjoying the architecture of it.

    As before, I mostly went in the order of the numbered exhibits. Most of them were really good, and gave that European feel to it. Made me wish that I was traveling to that part of the world. Then the displays in the back, like the Miniature Settings and Interiorscapes. But to my surprise, there were no displays of Front Entrances, which I have seen in past flower shows.

    I was able to see most of the displays, though probably not all of it. This time, I did not have enough time to see it all. But I was not upset, as my brain was just tired. Maybe I should come earlier in the day, and split it up to be able to see it all.

    I left around 8:50pm, hoping to catch an earlier train to get back home. I ended up running to the train, barely making it. Good thing, otherwise the next one was not for another hour, which meant, coming home late.

    I will say, this show was better than the previous two. Probably because the theme did give that travel feel. Though I won't be going there anytime soon, partly due to the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus.

    Photos & Videos