my trip to the US didn’t feel complete even though i was going to the city i wanted to visit the most. somehow, after paying a bomb for the plane ticket, it feels right that i should at least visit 2 cities while i’m there.
however, our budget didn’t have room for a domestic flight out of New York, so we settled on visiting Philadelphia, which is only a 2 hour bus ride away vis Boltbus (US$25 two-way).
our first stop at Philly after getting off the bus, was the Reading Terminal Market. while asking for directions at the 30th Penn Station, the lady at the Traveller’s Aid desk directed us along a walking path that would take us to the market, but at the same time, have a couple of sights to see along the way.
one of which was a 15 minute long Christmas-themed video at the Comcast building, complete with artificial foam snow that began floating down from the ceiling at the finale of the video.
we also stopped at a Christmas bazaar along the way to get some latte!
we got kinda hungry along the way and decided to buy a cream cheese bagel off one of them street stalls along the road. to our surprise, it was the best bagel that we’ve ever had!!!! i’d been craving for cream cheese bagels ever since day 5 and we’ve tried 3 different kinds of bagels back in NYC but none of them were as awesome as the Philly Bagel!
a couple more places we came across along the way to Reading were landmarks like the Masonic Temple (very Danbrown-esque) and City Hall, which we had initially dismissed off our Philly itinerary because they looked too boring. and they really turned out to be just worth a 5-minute look around.
Reading Terminal Market is more like a Marche rather than Pasir Panjang Wet Market.
there is a large variety of food from all over the world, although we stay away from the overpriced Asian food that would probably taste worse than the food in NUS science canteen.
the bagel from earlier was super filling, so we only ordered a Motzo soup (minced meat dumpling in celery soup), a cranberry-banana-pineapple smoothie, and a Flying Monkeys chocolate cupcake. Reading is apparently famous for it’s corn beef, but since we’d be having cheesesteak later, we decided to save stomach space for that.
we found our way (thanks to a very helpful passerby who helped us with bus directions) to Pat King’s and Geno’s, 2 famous rivals competing to serve the best cheesesteak in the whole of Philadelphia. since they were conveniently located right opposite each other, it is absolutely necessary to order a sandwich from both places and then decide for yourself which tastes the best.how to order a cheesesteak
because there are queues of people throughout the whole day, the servers have to be really efficient, right down to you ordering your cheesesteak. you have to do it right and do it fast, otherwise they can get really impatient and hasty.
so for example, to order a cheesesteak with onions and mushrooms can be accomplished by delivering this tongue-twister of a phrase, “Cheese Whiz Wit“.
the winner of the two: Geno’s cheesesteak!
i don’t know how they do it, but the beef slices are cooked to the right level of medium-well tenderness. add in the hot melted cheese and it’s just the perfect sandwich to dig into on a cold, rainy day. i wasn’t even hungry but my stomach found a way to fit this in!
we were caught in the rain that started to get really heavy in the afternoon. at first, you wouldn’t feel it because you’re wrapped up in all your winter things, which seemed nice for a change compared to Singapore. but the rain persisted and eventually, i began to miss rain in Singapore because at least over here, i wouldn’t be wearing boots that are going to get wet and then take forever to dry.
not a very artsy person and i confess that i liked the art pieces that double up as nice and colourful wallpapers for my iPhone 😛
overall, we had a really good time in Philly and we managed to see a lot and eat a lot all in just 1 day! the Boltbus was really comfortable- i slept like a baby throughout the whole journey to Philly. the bus also has a toilet, which was very reassuring for my S-sized bladder heh heh!