A Vacation to Remember – Part 3

It’s ironic that the moment I have time. and want, to write about my Vacation to Remember, I suddenly feel too tired to actually remember the trip accurately! But as I re-read Part 2, some of it is coming back… it’s been a long week of juggling Paige and living quarters, while we have contractors in the house finishing our renos (hurray!!); only 1 week to go.

{Note: long post ahead}

The next morning (now our third sunrise in Philadelphia, Tuesday am) we were slow to get ready. Paige however, was up bright and early, sitting up happily in bed the moment her bright, blue eyes popped open. She flashed me a big smile and arm wave when I grudgingly opened my eyes. Then she glanced at Oma, sleeping on the other side, and she became serious. I could see her little mind working – “who is that? where is my daddy? oh well, mommy’s here AND awake”.

Since I’m talking about Paige, I might as well mention how she did on the flights. In a word: great. For the shorter, 1.5 hour trips between Toronto and Philly, Paige slept the entire time; she fell asleep before take off and woke after landing both times. During the 4 hour rides between Edmonton and Toronto the worst she did was get frustrated for a second or two to let me know that she was either tired and could not get comfortable OR she was tired of sitting on my lap. No screaming, crying baby on my lap, thankfully. And to be honest, traveling with a social, happy 9 month old worked out in our favor most of the time, as we didn’t meet anyone who could resist her charms. Not even the very serious, all-business, elevator man at the City Hall.

Paige loved the elevator ride up to the top of City Hall. It’s a very small elevator, fitting just the 4 of us, plus Paige and the elevator man. One of my sisters and myself were becoming more and more apprehensive about the height as the elevator climbed up; Paige was inversely getting more and more excited. The elevator man was still serious. Once we got to the top, we were instructed to step off the elevator, head to the right and told that we had exactly 8 minutes to view the city before we would have to get back into the elevator. The view was spectacular. The space was entirely closed in (of course) and the height was not nearly so dizzying when you feel safely enclosed.

On the ride down, Paige was again excited, but you could see she was also concerned. Why was this person so serious and why did he not smile and talk like everyone else? Once the elevator stopped, we unloaded ourselves, and Paige continued to eye this peculiar person. Then he did something I didn’t expect: he gave her a genuine smile and waved “bubye”. She returned the smile, quite happy in still knowing that all people are really nice.

Earlier, we had walked to the Reading Terminal Market, where we had a wide selection of food and dessert choices, and were able to experience eating and sitting in a vibrant and busy market. It had all the smells and sights of a good place to be for the afternoon. I decided to get Mediterranean food: a giant slice of pizza, some macaroni salad and a fresh mozza & tomato salad too. Then, obviously, I had to get something for dessert. I opted for a cookie sandwich; my sisters and mom copied me and Paige couldn’t stop licking her lips after I let her taste mine.

Our first stop of the day was Macy’s, again. But this time, we split up and decided to meet up later at a specified time. I think Paige and I just wandered around, looking at things randomly, but I did get a nice new pair of much needed sunglasses.

On our final full day in Philly (Wednesday), Paige woke up even earlier than the rest of the days. I believe it was about 7 am. Since the holiday thus far was very relaxed, I opted to play with Paige in the hotel room until she was ready for her morning nap. About the time she was ready for said nap, my mom announced that she wanted to go shopping. My sisters were in slow motion getting ready to go see the Mütter Museum, and I decided to nap with Miss P.

After waking, and enlisting my sisters help before they left, I got Paige and myself ready for the day. When my mom returned, we decided to venture to new places. It was a semi-successful walkabout; it took a long while to randomly happen upon a lunch establishment we could agree to eat at. We finally stumbled into a deli, after following the business people ahead of us (whom were walking “too slow” according to my mom, but whom I refused to pass, fortunately as it turned out :). It was a busy place, serving a variety of sandwiches and simple sides. I got a burger and fries. There was also a handsome display of layered cakes and other treats. I got a giant piece of red velvet cake to go. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the place was called.

Just before we finished up, my sisters texted saying they were ready to meet at Macy’s, our goto rendezvous spot. My mom still had many things she wanted to look at and/or buy, but we were ready to stop shopping. Once my sisters arrived, Paige and I opted to walk with them to find another place to eat (because they were starving) and we left my mom at Macy’s.

Our last sight of the day and trip was to meet at the Liberty Bell in the Old City. The day was hot and the scenery was pleasant. We went to the Bourse, which was a very touristy place to be and we didn’t stay long.

It took us awhile to decide on a restaurant that would suit our indecisive appetites. Eventually we chose food (Italian) over distance (10 instead of 5 blocks) and went to Maggiano’s. We were extremely pleased with the atmosphere, the waitress, our food, and the tempting dessert menu. Again, we were amazed by the portion sizes but were nonetheless happy to have leftovers. We could not resist the allure of the dessert options however; we all ordered something to go.

That night after putting Paige to sleep, I enjoyed my over-sized “slice” of cheesecake with its mound of whipped cream and fruit compote while watching a good movie, Up in the Air, with George Clooney. A wonderful way to end a splendid day.

Waking up to the last day of a trip is always bittersweet. I was feeling ready to be home, missing both my husband and the comforts of my own house. The hotel staff were kind enough to let us store our luggage until we were ready to catch the train. One of my sisters and I decided we could both use a new shirt for the flight home and found cute $8 shirts on the sale rack of Zara. We then ventured to Starbucks to get a refreshing drink before heading to the hotel to claim our stuff.

We navigated the two block walk, with all our bags and Paige in tow, to the train terminal easily. Once figuring out precisely where we needed to be to catch the appropriate train to the airport, we arrived exactly on time – 5 seconds before the train pulled up. As my youngest sister awkwardly dragged/carried my non-360 swivel luggage down the narrow aisle, I found the first open seat and sat down with Paige and her stroller.

As mentioned above, Paige did awesome during the flights. Our wait in Philadelphia and layover in Toronto were both longer than anticipated due to delays in arriving flights. James and my dad were waiting to great us at the airport when we finally arrived home. Paige and I were tired, but happy to be in familiar surroundings and relived to be able to go to bed soon.

Now, in the midst of the final days of our renos, I am still happy to be home. I can hardly wait for the bathroom to be all new and finished! Then we can start planning our next trip… any suggestions??


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Filed under Great Finds!, Times Gone By, Updates

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