I’ve visited this city 8 years ago, and its memory never left me. Philadelphia is unique with its history, friendly residents, and great urbanism. When we planned to take a trip there to visit my close friends along with seeing Pope Francis, I knew it was going to be an even more memorable trip.
First off, we explored the city in a less tourist-y perspective. My dear friends Carolina and Josh have been living there for over a year so they took on the role as our tour/food guides. I was excited to find that fall had started in Philly (unlike Louisiana). The leaves turned from green to yellow and fell from the trees as the breeze took them away. That made it relaxing and pleasant to walk everywhere. I couldn’t get enough of the homes and cute alleys.
We strolled through the Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest (and cutest) residential street in America.
Anytime we were hungry, we could always count on nearby cafes and dessert shops to pick up a warm cup of vanilla cappucino or French macarons.
Our first meal of the day was of course a Philly cheesesteak. We made our way to south of Philadelphia where the cheesesteaks were said to be the “real thing” and taste exceedingly better. It was a cheese overload that I happily cannot complain about!
We completed lunch with a little dessert, Nutella mini-canolis at the Italian market.
Then we made our way north where the crowds were. Pedestrians took over the streets where cars usually dominate. Instead of engines and honks, you hear people laughing, singing, and music in the distance. People from all over the country and world gathered that weekend for one purpose: to see Pope Francis. I was so happy to be among them. It was a great experience, and I’m glad to check that off my bucket list.
Despite being stuck in the crowds, walking many miles in a day, standing for long periods of time, waiting to get through security checkpoint, and sitting in dirt, I have to say it was all worth it to see Pope Francis waving eagerly and smiling at us as though he’s greeting familiar faces. This experience is going to be hard to ever forget.