I spent the second day of my weekend trip to visit Liza in Philadelphia seeing some of the city. Everyone in West Philly where she lives seems to have a really great porch. I don’t think I’ve seen so much sprawling porch action since the big prairie-style houses in Oklahoma. I really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood (so many trees! I’ve missed them) and the little trolley train that went above and underground on tracks.
Since I was returning to New York that evening, I didn’t have time for a ton of sightseeing. But I did make it over to the wonderful Mütter Museum. It focuses on medical history with anatomical and pathological specimens and curiosities. It is similar to the Musée Dupuytren that I visited in Paris, if a little less shocking (no potential dropping of glass jars containing conjoined fetuses). In Paris, everything was densely crowded into one room; at the Mütter Museum everything is elegantly displayed in glass and wood cases on two floors of gallery space. It has about 20,000 objects (2,000 of which are things extract from people’s throats), including a collection of skulls meant to reflect different races around the world (hello phrenology), the skeleton of the Kentucky giant, the “soap lady” corpse, trepanned skulls without any label text, and a lot of teratological displays. I was surprised it was kind of crowded, since the people who I’d talked to in Philadelphia had never heard of it.
Next door to the museum was an apothecary garden with medicinal herbs. I was greatly tempted to pick the one for anxiety and insomnia, although I’m sure I could get the same results by drinking less coffee. The garden would have been a nice place to relax, but it was really hot so I caught the subway trolley train back to Liza’s house.
On the way to the train station, we walked through the University of Pennsylvania campus. It was nice and had more of those wonderful Philly shade trees. Benjamin Franklin played a big part in the founding of the school, so you can guess that it has been around for a while.
I caught the train back to New York and got to Penn Station that night. It was so nice to be traveling again. I really miss how I would go somewhere new every weekend in France. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary in New York and might make a list of places to see during my second year. Thoughts? I’ve seen sadly little of the East Coast.