A Travellerspoint blog

From hot to freezing in 3 weeks flat

the end of d.c., the beginning of philly and a little portland in between

We're not in sweltering D.C. anymore Toto. No, we're definitely in cold, chilly, windy, sometimes sunny, but usually nippy Philadelphia. Didn't we claim, swear, insist that we would NOT spend three months on the East Coast in the winter? Yes, I think we did. And here we are...

BUT it's not all that bad. We're spending more time indoors now, but it works out 'cause Tara's nearing the end of another term and has a lot of school work on her plate. We're also trying to shed some of those D.C. "let's-eat-out-every-night-because-it's-beautiful-out" pounds, so are cooking at home and hitting the gym more too. Plus our apartment is awesome, so being home is super comfy.

I guess this entry is another attempt at catching up since it's been over a month since our last. On the menu: our last bike ride, new york and the first penitentiary ever built. Enjoy!

IMG_1391.jpg This is from our last really nice weekend in D.C. Tara and I hit the Maine Fish Market and bought as much as we could carry home, including a giant crab leg, a dozen oysters, a lobster tail, and a pound of tiger prawns. These little guys were awfully cute, and Tara may have ate some, but we let 'em be.IMG_1387.jpg IMG_1388.jpg

We wanted to see Mt. Vernon before we left the D.C. area, so we jumped on our bikes, which were packed down with food, drinks and extra clothing, and made the 14-mile ride there. Once we got to Mt. Vernon, we tooled around the estate, but skipped going into his house because the line was monstrous. My favorite part: talking to the sheep. PA190033.jpg
Tell you what, it was cold on the way there, but the 2nd 14 miles were MUCH colder. Here's one of Tara freezing as the sun set over the Potomac.PA190041.jpgPA190038.jpg

The rest of the time in D.C. was spent packing and getting ready to vacate our little junior one bedroom. Tara left a couple of days before myself to help her sister move from L.A. to Portland and I took advantage of one last day of sunshine to go on MY last bike ride to Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek is similar to Golden Gate and they too, close off some of the main roads for bicyclists, pedestrians and rollerbladers. This is Boulder Bridge, just a short ride into the park.IMG_1439.jpg

Tara and I met up in Portland, hung out with the nephews, parents, and siblings for a bit. We got to go trick-or-treating with the boys, who were, of course, ridiculously adorable. See?IMG00066.jpg But I have to say, I think Rudy the dog stole the show in the lobster outfit Tara and I got him. How funny is that? And he was such a good sport about it!IMG00064.jpg

After Portland, we hit New York for a little less than a week and got to visit with Aaron and Jeorgea, as well as Dawn, Diana and the one, the only, Elijah! IMG_1454.jpg We also did some touristy stuff - went to Tiffany's, watched some breakdancing and walked around Harlem. These guys are the New York All Stars. It's too bad we didn't get video of them 'cause they could sure dance!IMG_1465.jpgIMG_1477.jpg

AND THEN, Philadelphia! We arrived pretty late on a Saturday night, but were VERY happy to 1. find a parking spot in front of our new place and 2. discover our place was as good as we had hoped. It's huge! And yes, we actually have a bedroom and it's NOT in quotes. Sweet! Here's our building: IMG00078.jpg I'll try to remember to take pictures of the interior and post those soon too.

The first weekend we were here, we joined in on the Prop 8 protest at City Hall. It wasn't huge, but pretty impressive for a smaller city. The energy was fantastic and it was great to be able to be a part of a protest even though we're not actually in CA. IMG_1479.jpg IMG_1481.jpg

We also went and visited the Eastern State Penitentiary, which was the first penitentiary ever built. It was also the first penitentiary built in a wagon wheel pattern so one guard could stand in the center, turn around on the spot and see all 8 wards in one glance. It was built in 1829 and hasn't been touched since 1971, so is a *bit* dilapidated, but that's what I loved about it. Even the freezing weather made the day better. The cold and the absolute ruin added to the eeriness of the place and made it beautiful. This is one of the "spokes" or wards from the second story. PB220048.jpg. And another ward that was closed off - check out the rebar separating the two stories. They put that there so the inmates couldn't "mingle". IMG_1507.jpg
This is my favorite picture from that day. They told us that every inmate ate, slept, worked and exercised in his/her cell, so would keep all the materials they needed for their job with them. We could only guess that the inmate who lived in this cell was a barber...IMG_1511.jpg
Even Al Capone spent some time here, but some theorize he actually wanted to stay in order to evade persecution in Chicago. Apparently, he got pretty special treatment, hence the pimpin' pad.IMG_1514.jpg
We also loved this vine that was climbing up the wall and into the shape of a tree. You can't see it very well in the pictures, but it has very tiny purple berries on it. Super cool. P1010054.jpg Last one! Tara checking out the exercise "yard" that was part of each inmates' cell. IMG_1496.jpg

Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures at the Eagles' game on Thanksgiving day, but it was a ton of fun, and a perfect Philadelphian experience. The fans out here are crazy, but completely kind and thoughtful. Weird, huh? We had seats next to really friendly old guys and dressed adequately so as to avoid freezing to death. Our favorite quote of the night, screamed by the nice guy in front of us: "Rip his head off!"

So, here we are, all caught up. Oh, one last thing - we bought our tickets for our Latin American trip! We fly into Guatemala in March and out of Argentina in August. I know! It's crazy and we're all amped up over it. And that means lots more travel blogging to come! Lucky you! ;)

Much love to everyone!

Addendum: Allison and Samara also made it for a quick visit from New York where they were visiting Samara's family for Thanksgiving. It was a fun evening, full of taco salad, a chilly walk and Tang martinis!

Posted by lolokirby 15:38

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