Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Philly Vacation--Day Two

Well, today wasn't any cooler than yesterday, in fact it was hotter. This brought out the crankiness in us then and again, but it was amazing how much better our moods were when we found a nice spot of shade. We did other things to withstand the heat better than yesterday by planning more indoor activities, drinking plenty of water, and taking a break during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Independence Hall
We started the morning with a visit to Independence Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and signed. A couple of years ago, we saw one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, so it was nice now to see where it actually all began. (And speaking of original copies of the Declaration of Independence, we learned in the printing shop mentioned below that the first official ones were printed on sheepskin with ink made from iron and vinegar. The acidity from both the tanning of the skin and the ink has caused them to deteriorate a lot over the years which is something we observed.)

After that we visited the Benjamin Franklin Museum. The museum was recently redone and done very well, I might add. There were a lot of fun hands-on exhibits in the cool dark basement of the building. Another plus on a day like today. Also associated with the museum was a print shop set up like Ben Franklin had. Franklin became a very rich man from his printing business by his forties (he lived another 40 years)  which then allowed him more time to experiment with his inventions and enter politics.

Now we were onto the United States Mint. This was a self-guided tour similar to one found in many factories. There was a viewing deck above the work floor along with explanations of what was happening below. Most of the coins in the US are made at this mint and today we saw pennies being made. A few years ago we saw dollar bills being made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC. No doubt about. I like to watch them make money.

By this time we were getting hot, tired, and hungry so we decided it was time to hike back the eight blocks to the hotel for a little food and a lot of air conditioning. After snacks and a rest, we ventured out with the car for dinner. We went to Devil's Den, a place recommended by one of Wally's friends. There we had good food and good conversation, and it was a good end to a good day.

Until next time...

Here are a few pictures of things we saw today.

The Assembly Room in Independence Hall where both the Declaration and Independence and Constitution were signed.

Trying to escape the heat, we ducked into the Bourse Center. Today it houses a food court and shops, but originally it housed the first commodities exchange in the US in 1891.

One of the fun exhibits in the Ben Franklin Museum. This one was telling Franklin's humorous, moral story about the gout.

Wally and Theo on one of the welcome, shady pathways on the way to Franklin's Print Shop.

Demonstration of a printing press like Ben Franklin used.

No pictures were allowed in the US Mint building.

Another place we went into to get out of the heat--Reading Terminal Market. The market sells about every food you can think of with over 100 vendors, and has been in operation since the early 1890's.