Sarah agreed to answer my questions about Philadelphia, and it’s really interesting.
I learn so much thanks to you. Thank you Sarah for your time !
Si vous voulez lire cet article en Français : Cliquez ici
I met Sarah in my school in Switzerland when she’d just come to Philadelphia. She’s a really talented violinist and musician and now she goes to music therapy and I think we can all wish her good luck!
I admire her a lot because already, she learned French very fast, but mostly she had the courage to come from the other side of the globe in a unknown country.
When I knew her she was vegan (by the way, Sarah congratulations for your courage, not easy to live in a country where people eat fondue, raclette and Co. almost weekly) so I recommend her vegan Address. She’s also a great sportswoman (I think her main sport is running), an animal lover (Jasper cuckoo) and nature.
State : Pennsylvanie
Number of Philadelphian : 1 552 880
Area : 349,9 km2
Hour minus 6h00. (than switzerland)
Unesco : 1, independance Hall .
Monney : Dollar
Sarah, you leave in Philadelphia, what are you doing there ?
I recently graduated from an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program at JeffSTAT and have started looking for work in the healthcare field. I’m also taking psychology and sociology at community college and applying to the masters program at Drexel University for my masters in music therapy and psychology. I also volunteer for an organization called Compass that provides companionship and music to hospice patients. I currently have two patients that I visit on a weekly basis that I play music for.
What’s the thing you love the most in your city ?
Definitely Fairmount park. It’s a huge nature park in the city with trails for running, biking, hiking, and horse back riding. It’s a great way to escape the city without having to go very far.
How are the people ? How do you not go to a tourist?
People in Philadelphia are hard working, independent, down to earth kind of people. It’s a very blue collar town, a little rough around the edges at times. People speak their mind and mind their own business, but once you break their exterior, people are kind and warm-hearted here. The city is affectionately referred to as “the city of brotherly love” and I think it lives up to its name.
Don’t worry about looking like a tourist in Philadelphia, we love tourists here! We are proud of our city and the history behind it and enjoy showing it off to others. But if you really don’t want to look like a tourist, get out of the main tourist areas like the old city and visit places like Manayunk and Fishtown.
I feel that Philadelphia is the city that has one of the biggest historical heritage of the United States . I’m right ?
Definitely! It is one of, if not the most, historic cities in the United States. The constitution and the declaration of independence were written here and the city was home to Benjamin Franklin, one of the great historical figures of the United States. The the neighborhood we call the « old city” is home to some of the most historic buildings and houses in the US. I would recommend the the old historic house tours. It might sound like a touristy thing to do, but every time I’ve gone they’ve been empty and it was an incredible experience to see the inside of Philadelphia’s historic mansions.
Is there a place away tourists ?
Manayunk is a fun neighborhood in the outskirts of the city where you’ll rarely find tourists.
What is the tourist thing you hate the most ?
Ride with the Ducks. It’s a boat/vehicle that takes tourists on a tour of the city and on the river. It’s probably the most annoying tour bus in the city because of the noise making duck bills they hand out to riders.
What’s the difference with Switzerland ?
Philadelphia is definitely a bigger city than any of the cities in Switzerland which has its advantages and disadvantages. You’ll find all kinds of people from all walks of life here. You can find a group or organization to join for practically any interest you could imagine. Compared to Switzerland though, the natural beauty is lacking and if you love mountains and lakes, you’ll have to travel somewhere else. We do have the Appalachian and the Poconos Mountains nearby, but they’re not the same kind of mountains you’ll find in Switzerland and you have to drive a couple of hours to get to them.
You have a completely adorable dog ! Is it a Dog Friendly town or it’s complicated to take Jasper everywhere ?
Thank you! I like to think Jasper is pretty happy here. In some ways it’s great being a dog owner here because of the large amount of dog parks and doggy daycares (Ndlr : Sounds so american for my french ears !) to take your dog to. However restaurants usually do not let animals inside making Philadelphia far less dog friendly than Switzerland. Unfortunately that’s the way it is in most of the U.S, not just Philadelphia. I’d take a dog park over a dog friendly restaurant any day though.
What’s the culinary specialty?
Definitely the Philadelphia Cheesesteak. A cheesesteak is a sandwhich with sautéed beef, melted cheese, and onions. You’ve got a lot of local favorites places to. The tourists all flock to Pat’s and Geno’s in south Philly but my personal favorite is Jim’s on South Street.
What is the reputation of Philadelphia ?
Philadelphia definitely has a blue collar, working city reputation. The people here are sometimes seen as a little rough around the edges by outsiders, but Philadelphians just like to think of themselves as straightforward, no nonsense kind of people. They tell it like it is.
What’s your advise for the people who come to visit your city ?
If you’re coming from Europe, particularly Switzerland, parts of the city might seem a little run down at first. Don’t let this deter you; things are old and maybe not always well taken care of here, but there’s a deep history that runs in this city and lot of Philadelphians are very proud of it. Just because a neighborhood looks a little rough on the surface doesn’t mean it is.
Where do people go on weekends ?
People like to go out and drink here. We’re also pretty active and enjoy outdoors and in parks during the summer.
I’m a big fan of Rocky ( I assume completely ).People spend their time running on the steps or everybody don’t care ?
Of course they do! I’ve even done it myself 🙂 there’s a nice riverside trail that leads up the art museum and naturally everyone feels compelled to run up the stairs. One time when I ran up the steps myself, a man was sitting in his car at the top near the side with Rocky music blaring loudly from his car window. It was pretty funny. It’s worth doing though, or at least walking up the steps, because the view of the city from the top is incredible.
It is the birthplace of the US Constitution . Every day, we talk often ?
It’s definitely something that everyone is aware of. Philadelphia is proud of its place in history and Philadelphians are aware of it.
How is it to study in the US ? It’s like in the tvshows we see in Europe or not at all?
It’s expensive! That’s one thing they always seem to leave out in TV shows. The costs of an education here are crazy and most Americans aren’t aware of how cheap it is to study in Europe. Funnily enough, I’ve had many Europeans ask me if we really do party with red plastic cups and the answer is yes. Those are red solo cups and they’re pretty much standard.
Moreover, thanks (or because ) of tvshow and movies that we see all the time, we all have a little golden image of the United States. Is it really the country where all dreams come true or it’s a bit different?
It is and it isn’t. The US is a place where there’s the potential to do or find anything you could imagine, but it’s also a place where a lot of dreams go unrealized.
I know you love sport , which sport you practice in Philadelphia ? one can run into the street ?
Philadelphia likes its sports! Probably the most popular running spot in all of Philadelphia is the Schuylkill River Trail, a part of Farimount park. There are other running/biking trails found through the city and Farimount park but the Schuylkill is my favorite for its beautiful views of the city. This spring I’ll also be joining a Softball league.
My trip is expected in July , arms frankly , it scares me . And you?
There’s no need to be afraid. Although the rate of violence here is pretty high, most of it is domestic and involves people who already know each other. As a foreigner I would stay away from north Philadelphia (Temple University, Port Richmond, the intersection of Kensington and Allegheny, etc.).
We had a gun scare at my school (the Community College of Philadelphia) last fall which really scared me initially, but something happens after a threat like that is made and it turns out everyone is fine, you lose your sense of fear over it. I’m more afraid of getting into a car accident on the highway than guns at this point. Be aware of pickpockets though and be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street, stay aware of your surroundings and stick to the main roads and there’s no need to be afraid.
One last thing you want to talk about your city ?
Philadelphians are much more friendly than they might appear at first sight. I would suggest going out for drinks in the evening and trying to get to know some of the locals. They’ll probably be more than willing to talk to you and when they hear you’re from out of town, they’ll probably want to hear all about where you’re from and show off the city to you. Philadelphians are generally very proud of their city.
Cool place for shopping.
Well if you want to see one of the largest retail malls in America, take a bus out King of Prussia mall ! It’s absolutely huge, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing like it in all of Switzerland.
I would recommended McGillin’s Olde Ale House on Drury street. A lot of my other favorites are all in the “gayborhood” the designated gay neighborhood in Philadelphia. You can recognize the neighborhood by the subtle rainbows underneath the street signs. TABU is a fun place to go.
It’s a bit expensive, but there’s a famous gourmet vegan restaurant called the Vedge.
If you’re on a budget though, there are a lot of great, cheap vegan restaurants in the city.
Pizza Blackbird soff of South Street is great and you can get non vegan pizza there as well. There’s also the Sweet Freedom Bakery that has amazing vegan baked goods.
Rittenhouse Square. It’s a great place to sit and read a book or just people watch. If you really want to get a feel for the city, just sit back and watch people go by for awhile. I would also suggest visiting Morgan’s Pier, it’s a cool outdoor park with hammocks, large chess boards, and picnic tables in sand.
The Reading Terminal Market, a famous and historical market in Center City where you can find a wide variety of things.