We came here so my family could go to the Philadelphia Folk Festival. I opted out, not because I don't like folk music, I do, but I don't like sitting in the hot sun and getting more mosquito bites–I already have two biggies. We are staying in King of Prussia–near the folk festival–not near the city–but Robin, who is very thoughtful, made sure there was a bus nearby.

The bus was wonderful. There were only three of us on it. The driver announced that the highway was all tied up and he would take back roads to the city if no one objected. It was a beautiful ride through heavily wooded land alongside small streams. Parts of Pennsylvania are really lovely.

The bus took me to Center City, near City Hall, a huge, wedding cakey sort of building topped with a statue of William Penn. From there, I waited and took another bus to the art museum. I would have liked to walk, it's not far, but there was too much sunshine, not enough shade.

The museum, which bills itself as one of the country's largest, now has two buildings, with shuttle service between. I began at the main building, got all the necessary info about exhibits, and went to the new one, where I had lunch and looked at all the exhibits–I felt like they had arranged them just for me. Quilt Stories, a collection of quilts by African Americans, was flanked by a beautiful collection of prints by Ansel Adams and fashions by Kansai Yamamoto, one of the biggies of Japanese fashion. Very far out stuff, some of which I loved.

Far and away the most intriguing exhibit was the jewelry by Alexander Calder. Such interesting stuff–I was tempted to buy a catalog but decided it was too heavy to carry. (Stacie, you would be interested.) After shuttling back to the main building I looked at a lot of Asian art. By the time I got to the last exhibit I wanted to see, four hours later, I was pretty much wiped out and couldn't really enjoy it. I was hoping to have coffee and a snack, which might have refreshed me, but the cafe was too crowded. So after a quick walk through the Nadalal Bose show, I went out looking for the bus–another long wait.

My next destination was Jim's Steaks on South Street for an authentic cheese steak. I eat very little meat, but those sandwiches really sing to me. I think it's because they remind me of the Italian Beef sandwiches I used to love in Chicago. The meat is the same. No cheese or grilled onions in Chicago, only sweet or hot peppers with the meat. No hot peppers in Philly, but I rarely got them, anyhow.

The bus dropped me at Broad (14th St.) and South and I faced the unhappy prospect of walking down to Fourth–too tired for this, but I began walking. At Eleventh St. I found something amazing: the Magic Garden, one of those incredible, compulsive constructions I love. Just looking at the outside revitalized me. I went in, looked around, took lots of photos (to follow when I get home), had a lovely time. You can see someone else's photos here.

I had to stand in line when I finally got to Jim's. I almost never do that, and I spent most of the time in line questioning my sanity. But the sandwich was very satisfying. After that two more buses to take me to the bus back to the hotel. Four hours in the museum; three hours waiting around.

2 thoughts on “Philadelphia

  1. Thanks Ruthe…I would have been interested…Calder is one of my favorites…directly inspired by his wire jewelry to go my own way too….glad you are having a grand time…I hate mosquito’s…at least we don’t have to worry about Dengue Fever Singapore I was on constant mosquito watch…nasty buggers.

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