22nd - 25th September
22.09.2011 - 25.09.2011
The Place of literal brotherly love, Philadelphia (my tour guide told me that, it comes from the words Phillos, meaning love and Delphia meaning brother) so there you go a lesson already.
I arrived late afternoon, my accommodation for the next three nights was my first couch surfing experience so I was a little nervous, excited, a hostel would’ve cost me $30 a night so it meant I was saving a fortune staying with these guys.
I needed to get the subway and then walk to their house so I found the nearest station and got on the train, now listen up as this gets complex but I need to tell you! My train said ‘B’ on it, I later realised that this means it stops at only ‘B’ stops, so I got on and travelled peacefully to my stop, it got to one before and then missed mine out! (It was an ‘A’ stop) so I got out at the next stop and decided to wait for the next ‘A’ train. I let a ‘B’ train come and go in my quest to get an ‘A’ but then realised how stupid I was waiting at this ‘B’ stop for an ‘A’ train!! (I told you this was complex) My common sense returned and eventually I travelled to a multi-letter stop to get my A train back! Im laughing at it now but at the time I was stressed by my stupidness!
Bit of walk from the station and I arrived at the house where I was greeted by two of the four people id be staying with plus a 10 month old boxer (who like biting everything he could get his teeth on!) I had some serious swissues going on, so I used that for a conversation starter, as you do! I settled in really easily and knew id be happy in the house for the nights id be staying.
In the evening I had plans to film for Knock my English Socks off but it was also for my own entertainment, I went to a German bar, called Brauhaus Smitz for a Bratwurst eating contest! I went in and asked the manager whether I could film, to which he was delighted and asked the waitresses to help in my process. After a beer I paid my $10 sign up fee and sat myself down at the table, The contest was…. Quickest time to eat ½ metre of Bratwurst, pot of sour krout, pot of potato salad and a half litre of beer!
I was nervous to say the least, fast heartbeat and everything, a guy id spoken to earlier sat next to me so I relaxed a little, then it was time to go, My technique involved no cutlery, just hands, I broke pieces of the bratwurst off, stuffed it in with some sour krout for added texture! That carried on until it had all gone, then onto the potato salad and then Beer at the end. They had buckets incase anyone took it too quickly bt they weren’t needed! Two huge guys battled it out for first spot, they literally were downing their beer before id finished the sausage, my time was 4.26 seconds meaning I came in 6th place, the winner and runner up both completed it in under 3 minutes! I need some training! It was such a fun night and my couch surfing hosts picked me up and took me home!
We headed out later on for a couple of drinks at a place called El Bar named after the train that ran above it, the drinks were cheap and it was popular although a slight cold was brewing and I couldn’t enjoy it fully.. that being said I did manage to talk in full to a Brazilian beauty about her reasoning of being in Philly, we had a long and in depth conversation and exchanged numbers ( I haven’t text her yet so might have to do it after this!)
I slept on a makeshift bed for the evening, combining a towel along with several pillows and a couple of rugs! It did the job I had a full and peaceful sleep.
I woke with the rain pouring down and my head aching through the oncoming cold, not to go into much detail but my glands were swollllllllen! Say that with emphasis and that is how I felt!
I did manage to get into the city, before I go there I stopped at the shop for a snack to make me feel better, I bought some vitamin water and some Hershey’s chocolate, they both are now my addiction, I absolutely love them both! Americans don’t think much of their chocolate but by my standards its pretty good!
I made it to 5th street where the start of the Franklin Blvd starts with a JFK Plaza, its set out beautifully, all in a line which ive become very fond of following the straight lines in D.C! I walked from there all the way to Logans square, another fountain feature with greenery surrounding it, im also becoming a big fan of fountains! Anyways, on the corner of logans square is the Franklin Institute, which is a combination of science museum, Imax theatre and other great things, as far as I could see the science bit was free so I walked in and had a very interesting time even as a 21 year old I really got involved and learned a lot, I would recommend this place to anyone its hugely interactive and fun. I spent a good 2 hours there before deciding to be a bit of a girl and let the pain of my glands send me back to the house!
The evening was a quieter one which I was rather happy with, there were plans to watch a friend of the group I was staying with, with his band recording some final vocals for their album but it was cancelled, instead I had a combination of napping, trying to teach their ten month old dog how to do a paw which resulted in more biting than pawing and watching a series called walking dead, which I have now finished and ready for the next series!
Wednesday morning, I awoke late with same symptoms! But was determined to do something with my life so I headed out to downtown Philadelphia, after my vitamin water and chocolate I took a free walking tour
- http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/philadelphia/freedom-rings-philly.asp meeting at the Independence Visitor Center
This tour guide was less animated and quick witted than the guy in Washington but he knew his history and we walked around the historical parts of the city, seeing places like constitution hall, the liberty bell and Betsy Ross’s house, (the girl who apparently made the first American flag) the tour definitely gave me some much needed exercise and fresh air, so I decided to walk back to my hosts house, this seemed a good idea, but arriving back to their house after an hour and a half (sweating, Swissues!) without planning to meet anyone there meant that I was stuck outside at 6pm! Oh the beauty of Couch surfing! (it was my fault entirely, I knew they would be out and forgot to ask to meet them!) my positivity didn’t falter and I decided to try and get in through the back door as I knew they didn’t lock it in the day time! This took a good 20 minutes of finding the right gates, climbing a small wall and then another when I realised id climbed the wrong one, despite looking like a huge burglar I made it with no police or crazy neighbours disturbing me! Ill take that as a win for me!
I bought ice cream and beer to say thanks to the guys for hosting me, I couldn’t help buying another vitamin water and also tucking into one of the ben and jerry’s pots whilst we all watched ‘the other guys’ with Will Ferrell which Is a fantastic film!
I napped which turned into a full night’s sleep and when I woke at 8am I realized I needed to get up and go to Baltimore to meet my next Csurfing Host! So I rushed (forgot my pillow, the common sense of David Todd strikes again)bought another chocvitamin combo and made it to the greyhound just in time!
The hosts of my first couch surfing experience were so great, it was like I was living in my own house (without a key, which would’ve made the break in a lot less fun!) I washed all my clothes, cooked, cleaned and replaced like I was home, I wasn’t considered unsociable or rude if I wasn’t with them and that was the same feeling if they had other plans I didn’t need to be with them 24/7. They popped my Csurfing cherry and im so happy it was with people I trusted and who respected me! Ha