Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trip to Philadelphia Sept. 4-9, 2008

Trip to Philadelphia

Day 1: The woes of flying high. September 4, 2008

Had to be at the airport by 7:30 a.m. to get on to my plane. Ran into a little bit of trouble because my dad booked my plane ticket under my maiden name. So I had to explain to them why my drivers license said Sarah Windmueller instead of Sarah Swan and on top of that get extra security screening. Boo.
The flight into Minneapolis was pretty uneventful. I read and actually dozed (I don't sleep well on planes at all). Everything was just fine until we started our descent into Minneapolis- then things started to get tricky. Turns out the baby doesn't really like airplane landings and pretty much made me sick to my stomach. I have NEVER gotten sick on an airplane before and so it was pretty mortifying. Once we landed we ended up having to sit at our gate for 30 minutes because they didn't have anyone to merge the walkway to our plane. 30 MINUTES! So here I am getting sick and the poor guy next to me is trying to signal to the flight attendant that I need help and all she does is sit there and yell at him to "Put your seatbelt back on!" Then they turned off the air on the plane and I started getting worse so the guy next to me about flipped out! Finally the flight attendant came by, saw what was going on and gave me permission to hang out in the bathroom. What fun. Got into Minneapolis and to my gate and boarded my flight to Philly. The flight was the same, just fine with a little bit of turbulence but when we started our descent I started getting sick. Bleh!
Got into Philly and found my dad at his gate, got our rental car and somehow manuevered our way into the downtown to our hotel. We ate at a really yummy Italian restaurant called Maggiano's before walking like zombie's back to our hotel room. We were off on a magical vacation on the east coast!

Day 2: Hot child in the city. September 5, 2008

Woke up early to catch a cab to the 30th Train Station. I was going to Washington D.C. today to see my friend Eleena and experience the hustle and bustle of the country's captial. The train ride was thoroughly enjoyable. I didn't get sick at all and actually slept and felt very relaxed the whole way there. We made stops in Delaware and Maryland- two new states I have never been in! Eleena was waiting for me at the train station when I got in around 9:45 a.m. We immediately walked over to the State Capital Building, taking pictures all along the way. Next was the Smithsonian Museum of Modern Art. Their main exhibit was some kind of cinematography thing. I didn't get it- but then again I'm not overly artsy. After that we went to the National Holocaust Museum. Wow. Talk about a touching experience. The museum was huge and we were definitnely there the longest. I feel it would be wrong to say the museum was wonderful considering the overall reason it was created, but it was by far the most educational and incredible museum experience I've had in awhile.
I find it so fascinating and appalling what people can do to other human beings.
After that Eleena and I hopped into a cab and went downtown for lunch and some shopping (yay!). Then we walked past huge buildings like the FBI and the IRS building before heading into the Museum of Natural History.
I loved this museum too! They had an "Animals of the World" exhibit and a dinosaur bone exhibit and my personal favorite- "Gems of the World." I picked out a lot of diamonds for Jeff to get me for Christmas :) I was very tired when I got back from D.C. and crashed into bed immediately.

Day3: Drowning Liberty. September 6, 2008

I slept in because my dad was in meetings until noon. I got up and had a nice breakfast before venturing out a little bit on my own into the downtown area. It was extremely humid and I was wearing jeans so I decided to go back and change. When I got back to the room my dad was back from his meetings and ready to go for the day. We went to the Reading Terminal Market for a bit which is is huge market place that has everything. All genres of food to eat from Thai to French and fabulous little family owned stores. I found the most amazing bakery that made the best cupcakes I think I've ever had in my life! Yum!

From here we were going to walk to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and spend the day there. While we were getting ready, the news kept talking about the hurrican that was moving along the east coast and how much rain it was going to bring. I didn't think anything of it, but my dad made sure we had rain coats-- good thing too 'cause it was raining when we stepped outside. Now this isn't your typical Montana rain. This is rain that starts off slow and continues to get worse and worse and worse. By the time we had walked7 blocks everything had soaked through. Our raincoats didn't work at all, we were soaked through every piece of clothing to the bone.
Our first stop was to Independence Hall where they signed the Declaration of Independence. The room is painted a green color with wooden floors and a beautiful chandelier in the middle. Nearly everything is original to the room and has been restored. After that tour we went to see the Liberty Bell. From there we wentanother musuem, I can't remember the name, but it was fairly new and was basically a timeline of laws that were passed and overcoming persecution whether it be women, African-Americans, immigrants etc. It would have been more interesting if I wasn't freezing because my clothes were soaked!!
We walked back to the hotel from there in yet another insane rain storm and stayed inside the rest of the night! Brr!

Day 4: In the Navy... Sept. 7, 2008

My dad had to teach this morning and when he finished we headed to New Jersey. We were going to spend the day on the U.S.S. New Jersey battleship. My dad had gotten directions from Google Map prior to coming to Philadelphia and we soon found out that those might not always be the best directions...seriously. After crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge to Jersey we took a right turn into Craptown. For about 20 minutes my dad and I avoided eye contact with anyone on the street and were pretty sure our bodies would end up floating in the river at the hands of some Tony Soprano mobster.

We finally made it to the ship and started what would be a four hour tour of the entire ship. It was huge, the guns on it were massive. It would be cool to get to be on the ship when its moving!

My dad and I were the last ones off the ship that day and we headed back into Philly where we found a delicious pizza restaurant called Lascala's. It was so nice to sit down and eat some very yummy pizza!

Our day was done after that and we crashed in the hotel room watching tv
Day 5: G-g-g-get yourself to Gettysburg. Sept. 8, 2008
My dad and I got up early today and worked out before grabbing a bite to eat. We were going to Gettysburg today. It would be about a 140 mile trip. We hopped in the car and took off. It was a really nice drive- very different that Montana. There are trees absolutely everywhere so thick right up against the road that you can't see through them and the houses and scenery was just very different and fun to look at. We only ran into one problem with the toll booths and quickly learned that you had to have a ticket to not have to pay an unreasonably high fee. We made it to Gettysburg around 1:00 p.m. and got tickets to watch a movie and bus tour. The movie was pretty good- the History Channel had made it specifically for the Gettysburg Visitor's Center. After that we hopped onto our bus tour and went the whole way around the battlefield with a well educated tour guide. It was absolutely amazing. I thought that battlefield was nothing more than a field. But the span of the area where this huge battle was fought is just amazing. You can almost imagine the thousands and thousands of men from both sides preparing for battle and perhaps the last day of their life. There are hundreds of monuments strewn across the entire battlefield dedicated to the states, their reigments and their heroes. I think it would be fabulously cool to actually stay the night there and experience the eeriness.

After our bus tour was over my dad and I hopped into our rental car and drove around the area again to stop at some different areas we hadn't gotten to see in detail. The history of Gettysburg is just enriching. I loved it. The only downfall of the day would have to be that I'm pretty sure something got in my eye and the I rubbed it so much it scratched my eyeball. So for most of the day I was pretty much in pain until I finally just took the dang contact out.

Then on the way back road work got my dad and I off course and we got a little lost. My dad was pooped from driving all day and I wasn't much help because I only had one eye. But we finally made it back to the hotel and ordered takeout before collapsing into our beds.
I think Gettysburg was the highlight of the entire trip, despite having a bum eye, I thought it was great!
Day 6: Heading Home. September 9, 2008
This was was designated for shopping. However, I was so tired from everything we had done in the past few days that I didn't want to do anything! We went to Macy's and that was pretty much the one store we went to before heading to the airport.

I was sad that the trip with my dad had ended, but anxious to get home and sleeeeep and not have to walk long distances for quite some time!
I hope I get to go back to the east coast again some day. I don't think I'd ever want to live there, but I liked visiting it! :)

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