Saturday, 18 July 2015

Philadelphia - Diario di Bordo

Day 1 in Philadelphia.

Impressed by the ease of arrival to the Airport - City Center train, I was less impressed by the fact that this particular train does not take credit cards.

Note: there are no signs at the stop to this effect. I asked somebody about tickets who told me to buy it on the train. Once on the train I was told cash only.

At an airport.

An international airport.

And a surcharge for buying the ticket on the train. There are no ticket booths at the airport.

Septa: you are running a scam.

Out of principle I do not accept kindness from strangers, but long story short: I broke my principles and was assisted by an unemployed gentleman who - though I was on my guard - turned out to be entirely honest and kind, and got me out of a frustrating situation. Don't worry, he made a profit.

It has taken me a couple of days but I am starting to get a lay of the land here now. I have still only seen the city center area but it is growing on me.

Stendhal Syndrome is assured, however, when you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. I spent no less that 20 minutes staring at Tintoretto's young self-portrait. The rooms are quite bare, but allow concentration on the works. Fine arts are displayed along side woodwork, maiolica plates, statuettes and more.
In the medieval galleries, the doors between rooms are actual abbey, monastery and church doors. The display is just brilliant. Again the walls remain quite bare other than the works, so taken as a whole the white space is noticeable. The focus goes straight to the works, which have to be admired in their own right.
There is an entire medieval courtyard displayed, complete with running fountain. And the Barberini tapestries are just hanging on the walls of the grand staircase. Without a care in the world.

All this, and all I actually visited were the European medieval and 1500-1850 galleries, with a quick tour through half of the Asian Art Galleries.

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