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Monday, March 27
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Tuesday, March 28
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by Tumbleweed Smith

When we were planning our trip to Philadelphia, we put eating soft pretzels and cheese steak sandwiches on our list of things to do. Those two food items are famous in Philadelphia.

Our grandson Jackson thought his sandwich was great. Mine was ok after we put lots of mustard, salt and pepper on it. My wife said it didn't live up to her expectations. We had 3 pretzels: plain, salty and sugared. They were fabulous.

We arrived in Philadelphia during the biggest flower show in the world, held in the Convention Center adjacent to the hotel where we stayed. It did live up to its expectations. They transformed that place into a forest of trees, statuary, fountains and flower gardens. There must have been a million people there. Jackson, the only fourteen year old on the premises, thought there surely were more exciting things to do in Philadelphia than look at flowers.

We found the city easy to get around. We rode a train from the airport that took us within two blocks of our hotel. Purple buses take tourists to museums and historic sites for a dollar a ride. We walked to most places. Wandering around the historic neighborhoods is an event in itself. The city has lots of flavor and excitement.

Philadelphia has a store filled with items from the ROCKY movies. All three of us ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and raised our hands in triumph. I ran up those steps in my cowboy boots. Not a big deal. We went to Philadelphia to see the liberty bell, Independence Hall, the Franklin Institute, Betsy Ross's house and other patriotic places.

During Jackson's spring break last year, we took him to Washington, DC and he was very moved. This year we wanted to take him to the place where our country started. We stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. We got a review of American History. The Constitution was written and signed in September of 1787. The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the constitution) was ratified by the states in 1791. Philadelphia was the nation's first capital. The government moved to Washington in 1800. The National Constitution Center has a room full of life size bronze statues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Jackson stood by the side of Washington and I took his picture.

We had time to do fun things like spend time in the hotel pool and hot tub, take a ride in a flight simulator in the Franklin Institute, ride the Sky Bike, which takes the rider over a high wire, watch an Imax movie about Lewis and Clark and see a first class multi media presentation on the founding of our country. And we did see Ben Franklin go into a bank. We had fun in Philly.

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