Exchange Wk40 (Holiday Edition) – Philly and NJ

Although at the time of writing these entries I’m back in Australia, I still wanted to share what I got up to. I enjoyed my time travelling the USA and seeing some really cool places, but even more so, I enjoyed catching up with friends. My holidays kicked off with a few days in Philadelphia where I was grateful to stay with my College Minister Corry and his wife from the 16th to 18th of May. I then head to stay with James’ family the Wurzers in New Jersey from the 18th to 21st of May.

For the next few blog posts, there will be a map of the places I’ve been so far. The gold pentagon is Philadelphia (start location), and all other locations visited will be red pentagons where the number represents the order I visited these places.

πŸ—³ Philadelphia 🎡

Mayoral Primary Election

My few days in Philly were fun and unique. Firstly, on the 16th of May they held the primary elections for the Philadelphia mayoral election in November. Obviously I couldn’t vote, but I went with Corry to see where the voting is held which was an interesting experience. They even gave me an “I Voted” sticker which was kind and an awesome keep sake. Below we are rocking our stickers in front of an Obama mural.

Meals With Friends

I also caught up with friends for meals which was fun. The left image is enjoying some pizza with friends. On the right I had brunch with Caitlin at Reading Terminal Market. We went to an Amish diner which offered delicious yet affordable brunch options. Reading Terminal Market is a must see/eat for anyone who goes to Philly – it has been in operation since 1893!

Eurovision Watch Party

Every year my uncle joins my immediate family in watching all the Eurovision songs, and ranking our favourite ones. I obviously couldn’t do that this year, so I watched them with my American family! Eurovision had actually already taken place, and a victor already announced, but as none of us had followed it to a great extent, it wasn’t spoiled.

🌊 New Jersey 🎟

On the 18th of May, I caught the NJ Transit train up to Ocean City where James and his family live. I was thrilled to be heading back to Ocean City, as I was sick on my last trip with James in October, hindering me from being able to explore the area.

Cape May

On the 19th of May, James drove me to Cape May. The views from the beach were scenic, and there was an old ship wreck in the distance. We spent time looking around the local area, went to Kohr Bros (James favourite frozen custard place), and went out for dinner.

Atlantic City

On the 20th we went to Atlantic City. Our first stop was to ‘Bass Pro’. You might be surprised as to why we would go there, but it was huge and unlike anything I’d ever seen! They obviously sold fishing equipment, but also sold all kinds of hunting gear (including rifles and cross bows), camping items, and outdoor clothing. They even had a massive fishpond in the middle, stuffed animals (including a bear), and a collectible penny machine.

After we walked along the Atlantic City boardwalk, and went to a massive arcade. After playing a massive game of Connect-4, killing aliens in the Halo simulator, and clearing the Minecraft dungeon, we travelled back home to watch the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie with the family and had dinner afterwards.

Ocean City

On my last full day in NJ (May 21), we spent the day in the Ocean City area where James grew up. After Church, James’ dad took us to a diner where they ordered me some NJ classics as sides to my main meal.

The item on the left is pork roll. I can’t recall exactly at the time of writing, but I think it had a bitter taste, and I liked it enough to finish it off. The item on the right is scrapple which I did not care for at all… They wouldn’t tell me what it was before I ate it, and I later found out that it is leftovers from a pig. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to try something new; but it was definitely not my cup of tea. My main meal was the breakfast bagel, which was delicious!

After, James and I went to the Ocean City boardwalk, and unlike in November, I wasn’t sick this time. We went to ‘Castaway Cove’, a theme-park on the boardwalk. We went on a ride called ‘Double Shot’, a 33.5m tower where you are shot up and down over and over again. It overlooked the ocean which offered a scenic view, even though I was distracted by my fight or flight response to heights.

Later that night, I enjoyed dinner with James’ family. We had a barbecue dinner, and for dessert, we ate an Γ©clair cake made by James’ sister Grace. We also had a fire going, and James and I made another smizzy, this time with cotton candy as a secret ingredient.

Overall, my time in New Jersey was precious. I have loved getting to know the Wurzers, and know that our friendship will continue to grow. In fact, at the time of writing, I caught up with James and his family two days ago when they came to Australia.

But the trip didn’t stop here! James and I caught the bus and plane to Nashville the next day… Stay tuned.

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