Image Hosted by

Off the top

A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Travel notes

We’ve just returned from an action-packed 9-day trip. Our adventures included visits to relatives including my grandmothers (both of whom are in their nineties), various activities for the kids, and a “field trip” to Philadelphia. Some highlights:

* Within walking distance of my parents’ home are two farms that raise interesting and unusual animals including peacocks, four-horned sheep, and chickens that lay green eggs. Really. We had some of the eggs for breakfast (minus the ham...). They were quite good!

* I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with my grandmothers. They are amazingly strong women of sound mind, if not of memory. Though their bodies may be failing, their spirits remain undaunted. What an inspiration. I will write more about my visits with them in another post.

* On the way to Philadelphia, we stopped at the Valley Forge National Historic Park. This was an opportunity for my son to “enrich” his Revolutionary War studies. (I tried hard to learn a little bit myself but my daughter didn’t care much for the exhibits.) The driving tour was nice, though, and we were able to view remains of redoubts as well as Washington’s headquarters.

* In Philadelphia, we parked by Penn’s Landing, strolled around the historic district, and visited Christ Church, the Christ Church burial grounds where Benjamin Franklin is interred, and the Liberty Bell (whose housing requires security clearance to enter). We also went to the Franklin Institute, and rode the subway for fun. There is so much of a profoundly educational nature to see and do in Philadelphia that you need at least a week, but we did what we could.

Here is a photo of George and Martha Washington, John Adams, and the Marquis de Lafayette in their customary pew at Christ Church:

Image Hosted by

In the Christ Church burial grounds was a grave marker from the mid-1700s of a gentleman who lived to be 95. He outlived four great-grandchildren, all of whom died in childhood. I noticed many tombstones of infants and young children. Some families lost all of their children young.

* The Franklin Institute is probably the best museum I’ve ever seen (even better than the Smithsonian!). It is very hands-on, imaginative, intelligently laid-out,...and huge! It’s got something for everyone. We spent over four hours there and only saw maybe half of the museum. Highlights (for the kids especially) included the Train Factory, the Franklin Air Show, Franklin: He’s Electric!, the Mechanics Room which featured an incredible mechanized golf-ball-and-chutes system, and the Giant Heart, a walk-through model of the human heart that would fit a person the size of the Statue of Liberty. The kids and I climbed through the thing at least twenty times!

We entered via the vena cava, passed the electrical nodes in the right atrium, entered the right ventricle (to the sounds of a heartbeat, of course), climbed through the pulmonary artery, walked through the CO2/oxygen exchange in the lungs (to more sound and light effects), twisted into the left atrium and down into the left ventricle, then climbed the aorta (out of the top of which we could view the room!) and squeezed back down & out into the “body”! I got my cardiovascular workout for the day for sure, hauling my daughter through :-) The entire Giant Heart exhibit, which includes many other hands-on installations, is incredibly well-done.

I wished we’d had another day so that I could check out the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art...

* The weather was great for most of our trip. We even enjoyed a couple days of temperatures in the 80s, only to drive home in – you guessed it – snow! It’s snowing right now. (my poor daffodils)

Something remarkable happened on the way home: we came literally within inches of having a terrible car crash, yet it didn’t happen. The overall outcome was about the best that could’ve occurred in that situation. It was incredible that all factors “conspired” on the positive side. Had any one of them been different, well...


Post a Comment

<< Home