We arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday and had a mellow day of just getting settled into our place – sooooo much nicer than our place in New York – and finding a place to leave the car. Parking is IMPOSSIBLE in the city! 150 year old streets are not conducive to modern day transportation.
At the last minute we decided to attend Rosh Hashanah services on Thursday morning. We took an Uber to the Rodef Shalom Temple which is fairly close to here, and enjoyed the “Multigenerational” service – i.e. babies crying and parents using little kids as an excuse to talk and walk around. The temple itself was gorgeous but the rabbis (both relatively young) seemed to have some difficulty keeping the congregation engaged. But the sanctuary is gorgeous!
We took the subway home (quickly figuring out our way around), and decided we needed traditional High Holiday food, so made deli sandwiches with crudite for lunch and bought groceries to make kugel for dinner. Unfortunately, I inadvertently bought cottage cheese with pineapple in it (yuck!). I figured out how to make a half portion to fit in the small pirex that fits in the mini-oven – everything is mini here because space is so limited.
After lunch we hopped on the bus that stops at the corner. It dropped us right at the Independence National Park Visitor Center – so EASY to get around! We went straight over to see the Liberty Bell.
Then we walked over to our scheduled Free by Foot tour of Old town Philadelphia which started at Betsy Ross’s house, went through the longest existing residential street, through Benjamin Franklin’s home and printing press office,
and then to Independence Hall. We also had a chance to see the archeological excavation of the first presidential house (used by George Washington and John Adams) which is just next to the Liberty Bell center: President House. These remains were just discovered in 2007 and this installation is fairly new. It focuses on the incongruity of slavery that existed within the household of George Washington while he was fighting for Independence. The issue of slavery is a major focus of many of the historical artifacts and locations here.
A great introduction to the area to give us ideas of what we wanted to cover the next couple of days. Afterward we headed home to prepare our Rosh Hashanah dinner which we ate on the floor of the living room – there is no dining table. (We really are happy here – very clean, quiet, safe and comfortable – the polar opposite to the place we had in Brooklyn!)