Thursday, July 28, 2011

Highlights From Philadelphia

In another catch-up post, Andrew and I had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia for a whirlwind weekend last month. When I say whirlwind, I mean that we arrived around noon on Saturday and got home to Boston around 8 PM on Sunday, which means we spent a good chunk of our time driving the whole weekend.  I honestly can't remember the last time I was in Philadelphia so I suspect it was a good ten years ago visiting Breena while we were both in college!

Andrew went to Penn State undergrad, so needless to say, most of his friends from college (all?) still live in Pennsylvania! We were fortunate enough to stay with his friend Pete and his fiancee Nikki in their Philadelphia condo, which gave us an opportunity to catch-up and try some of their favorite neighborhood joints (pizza for lunch, Italian for dinner) for meals.  I think it would be tough for Andrew and I to downsize to a city condo (although Pete's and Nikki's is decently roomy) but I must say, it's awesome to walk out your front steps and have access to so many neat things within walking distance!

For example, while walking to the parking garage around the corner from their place, we spotted the Magic Gardens:

This what it looked like from across the street, and it immediately drew us in, even though our hands were full carrying overnight bags. 

By this, I mean that I dragged Andrew across the street so I could take pictures close-up

From researching the place after the fact, apparently this is a public art installation featuring the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. It features "found objects and contributions from the community" and is a "labyrinthine mosaic collection". It was closed when we peeked in but you could see walls just covered with the most random assortment of things!

Bicycle wheels, anyone? We were bummed that it wasn't open (it was 6:30 in the morning, after all) but we'll definitely have to make another trip back to see it, especially since it's located so close to Pete's place

So why were we up at the crack of dawn? To watch Amanda compete in the Philadelphia Triathlon, which was the main reason we made the trek down to Philly. Unfortunately for us, while parking was readily available for spectators by the "Please Touch Museum," the triathlon's route was very poorly planned for people to be able to see the triathletes transitioning from one stage to another. Which means we spent the whole morning hoping for a glimpse of Amanda. We waited by the bike transition area but missed her out of the water (due to the crowd, it was impossible to pick her out) and missed her again on the bike route, even after standing an hour in one place. I'm positive we did see her (since the route looped twice, so chances were good that she passed us at least once) but the riders were going so fast down the hill, we couldn't be sure.

Finally, we staked out the finish line, determined to catch her running the last leg of the triathlon.  This is where we got lucky.  We caught a lucky break when we spotted one of Amanda's friends (whom we had met the night before at dinner) going through the finish line.  Javier joined us afterwards, and it was his sharp eyes that caught Amanda going by in the distance to begin her run. Andrew yelled her name repeatedly until she saw us, and we hoped that would give her a little boost to get through 6+ miles.

We kept on watching and finally, we saw Amanda!

Seconds away from going over the finish line

Amanda and her crew of fellow triathletes, who drove a fleet of Zipcars down to Philly from NYC

Amanda flashes us her "I got a medal" look as Andrew examines it admiringly

Some of you may remember the day-glo orange sign from last year, we saved it since we knew Amanda would be competing in more triathlons and it came in handy once again

We just need to buy Amanda a matching orange jersey so it's easier to pick her out from the crowd!

No comments: