I left work around lunch time and walked up to the Megabus parking lot. It was a sunny afternoon and a pleasant 40 minute walk. This was the first time that I had taken Megabus, so I wasn't exactly sure what I would find. I was thankful to see the large sign outside the parking lot to assure me that I was in the right place. Inside, there were a couple tents and signs labeled with different city names. Around some of the signs, there were groups of people gathered. I found the sign for Philadelphia and stood nearby. About 15 minutes later, our bus pulled in and we were quickly ushered aboard. They checked my ticket as I got on and I quickly found a seat. I stuffed my backpack and handbag under the seat and got comfortable for the ride.
The ride was quite pleasant. I slept for about an hour and spent the rest of the time looking out the window. I believe it was the first time that I had driven through the state of Delaware. It was odd to see so many DE, MD, VA, NY, and PA license plates in one area. As we drew near to Philadelphia, we passed by a huge oil refinery. It was something to see! Shortly afterwards, we found ourselves circling 30th street station and then we disembarked. I was nervous about the transfer and got off in a hurry.
I knew that I had to find the SEPTA train line to Paoli, and that the SEPTA regional rail trains ran west-east on the north side of the station. I made my way inside and found that it looked just like the photo on Wikipedia. Inside, I headed left/north and found the SEPTA regional rail hallway. There were a lot of people sitting around and one long line down the middle of the hall. I hoped that it wasn't for tickets, but it was! Thankfully, the line went quickly and I had a ticket in no time. I skipped over to the info booth for a schedule, but there was a line there, too, so I rushed back to the Paoli platform stairwell and went up the stairs.
Just as I arrived on the platform, a train pulled up. I panicked and wondered if it was a local or express train. The board said EXP but my notes listed the train as one that I could take. Listening to the announcement, I learned that it was an express train partway, after which it ran local. I hopped aboard and took the first seat, facing backwards.
After the train started off, an employee opened the door and yelled, "Get out your tickets!" I handed him mine. He took it and punched it a few times and then handed it back. He then went on and punched more tickets. The train was very clean, quiet, and comfortable. Once we began stopping at local stations, the rail employees would announce each station, open up the doors, and punch new passengers' tickets. The train stations looked just like the old ones back home. I loved the SEPTA train!
When we reached my stop, I saw familiar faces out the window - hooray! Dad, Mom, and Matt were all waiting for me and greeted me with a big hug after I got off. It was wonderful to see them! :)
Our first stop was the diner. It was dinner time and we were all hungry. I had a big cheesesteak and it was delicious!
After dinner, we headed back to my brother's apartment and took it easy. His apartment is beautiful! I wanted to move in as soon as I saw it :) We celebrated with wine and nice conversation that evening.
The next day, we all went into Philadelphia. We took the SEPTA back into town. The train station where we caught the train was originally built in the late 1800's and was restored recently. It's a lovely place. I poked around the office looking in all the windows for the telegraph op & his bug, but I couldn't find them! :P Afterwards, I soaked in the blue skies and warm summer air on the platform. I want to work there as a telegrapher :D
Welcome to downtown Philadelphia!
We started the afternoon with a delicious meal at a nearby Irish restaurant. I got a Guinness and shepherd's pie. It was quite tasty and a very fun meal. Some of the tables were actually old sewing machine tables. I tried to pump the foot-lever on one but there was no mechanism attached to make the wheels on the side spin. Anyhow... with stomachs filled with hearty food, we headed across the campus of the University of Pennsylvania campus on our way to the museum :)
We saw all kinds of fun things from the ancient world...
|Outside in the garden||Inside it looks just like the Temple of Time from Zelda: Ocarina of Time?!|
|Alabaster (Mark 14:1-9)||Canaanite sarcophagi :P|
|Queen of Ur's headdress||Queen's makeup - could I have some? Thanks!|
|Camel named Lawrence? Salah? Hamm'i the cam'i? :3||Stuff!|
It was a wonderful afternoon! We were all pretty tuckered out from the excitement and spent the rest of the afternoon resting. Dad and Mom had to leave that evening and it was sad to see them go! I'm so thankful for the time that we can spend together.
The next day was Sunday so Matt and I went to church. He's been visiting one nearby and so we went together to worship the Lord Jesus!
After church, we ate burgers, stopped in at Trader Joe's, and took it easy back at the apartment. I had to catch my train that afternoon, so it was back to SEPTA and 30th St Stn and then DC. My roommates came to pick me up and we got Taco Bell on the way home. What a nice way to end a wonderful weekend :) Thanks so much to my family for making it a special one!