Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Philly

Posted by Hippo Bean at 6:17 PM
This morning M and I walked to the Franklin Institute. It was a shorter walk that google maps suggested. Since it didnt open till 9:30, we paid a visit to the St Peter and Paul's cathedral just across the logan square. This cathedral rivaled the ones I've just seen in the Baltics in beauty and decoration. Disappointed that the LegoMan exhibit at the Franklin Institute ended in Oct 4. Now it's Genghis Khan and Vatican Splendors instead. We went to see Genghis Khan. I'm not much for Mongol artifacts but the bust of Turandot took my breath away. She really looked quite beautiful with western facial features. Walked inside the Giant Heart, following the blood flow through each ventricle and aorta and it was fun. Spotted a skeleton doing the elliptical. Learned a bit about the brain and how the 'your brain' hall messed up with your brain. I felt dizzy afterwards. Saw the Foucault's Pendulum‎ on top of the 3rd floor, couldnt figure out the pegs and had to descend all the way to the bottom to see them ... hm. After this we went to the Museum of Arts, a bit of a longer walk this time but the Franklin Parkway was a gorgeous 4 lane boulevard lined with trees and flags of the countries. Looking back towards downtown, the skyline was magnificent.

All tourists crowded and waited in line to take pictures with the Rocky statue, or run up the 'rocky' steps. not many paid too much attention to the museum itself. Inside the European collections were outstanding. The special exhibit "The Wrath of the Gods", masterpieces by Micheangelo, Titian and Rubens, reduced the Hippo to her knees.
When I read about "Curator Christopher Atkins uncovering the striking similarities between Rubens’s Prometheus Bound and Michelangelo’s Risen Christ in the Sistine Chapel", I'd never look at Prometheus Bound the same way again. "Rubens was drawn to Michelangelo’s terribilità. Rather than a literal translation from the Latin word for “terrible,” terribilità connoted grandeur, force of expression, artifice, and skill. It was also a qualitative term that signified greatness. Terribilità conveyed the forcefulness, physicality, and power of the work of art, and of the artist who made it. Looking at this drawing, it is easy to see that Rubens directly modeled the pose of Prometheus on that of Michelangelo’s Tityus." The Hippo's never been much for Prometheus until now. It opened her eyes. After seeing Titian's paintings at the Hermitage, I was beginning to really like this guy too. Really had a great time at the Museum of Arts and pity we could not stay longer. (she's such a sucker for museums and classic arts).

After that, we retired back to the beautiful modern comfortable Sonesta and on impulse we had a food massage on Chestnut and 20th. After grabbing some supper at the Reading Terminal (M had classic philly cheesesteak as she'd never had cheesesteak before and the Hippo finally had her shrimp low mein). it was pouring rain when we went back to the hotel on the double. So we took a taxi to the opera at the Academy of Music, which was only 4 blocks away. We first stopped briefly at the Kimmel Center just to take a look at the inside. people were all over the steps to the Academy of Music as it didnt open its doors until a half hour before the show. The inside of this 158 years old building, beautiful chandeliers hung on the ceilings, 3 tiers of balconies, a beautiful enormous central chandelier blocked our 'amphitheater' 3rd tier view of the stage but it was raised up before the performance started. We only saw the first 2 acts of the modernized La Traviata because we'd wanted to return to the hotel early to relax a bit. Besides I didnt like the way they did the opera making it contemporary. They were dressed in modern attire but sang 'she sold her horses and carriages'. The walk back to the hotel on Broad st was quite enjoyable on a friday night. Everyone was out for the shows and pubs. The city hall was lite up and so were some of the nearby buildings. One even shone in alternating red and blue. Gosh I loved this town.

Next morning -

We only had the morning to see the remaining spectacles in Philly. M wanted to see the historical sites, so we went to the independence Hall. The line to the Liberty Bell was very long. People packed in the info center. The first available tour was at 1:45. With our afternoon departure, she wouldnt make it. So she queued up for the Bell while I shopped. We were thinking of doing the East State Penitentiary but decided against it and did the Constitutional Center instead, so at least she'd get to see the Bill of Rights and the printing copy of the Constitution with her own eyes. The exhibits here were very well done. I particularly enjoyed the Signer's Hall with the 42 life-size, bronze statues of the Founding Fathers. I even signed the Constitution electronically.

We should have done the Penitentiary yesterday while we were at the Museum of Arts since it's nearby. And we should have gotten across the river to see the University city. And there are the Catholic Shrines that I've wanted to visit also. Or simply to wander around admiring the old row houses like we did on the first day on Spruce. There's so much we missed. But who knows, we may come back someday. Another offsite maybe? I didnt know I'd love it so much. So much history, so many museums, so much architecture. Aside from not having the best cheesesteak, I have found nothing that I didnt like in Philly.

Philly Photos:

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