Check out my first day and my second day of this particular trip to Philadelphia if you have not already.
I walked the block from my hotel, Club Quarters, to Di Bruno Bros. for breakfast. So convenient!
At its coffee bar, I ordered a cappuccino and pain au chocolat. Both were delicious! I adore a coffee and croissant breakfast.
This is the back left corner of the European-style grocery store. It is very gourmet.
At Di Bruno Bros., I usually pick up prosciutto from the deli, parmigiano reggiano from the cheese cave in the back, a demi baguette, and something new to try on a cutting board of antipasti. Sometimes more, sometimes less. This was my haul...
The prosciutto is amazing and I savor it for aperitivo at home.
Once the doors opened, I discovered that I had some time to kill before my guided tour started. In my strolling around the city, I wanted a selfie with these beautiful beds of pink tulips beside City Hall.
This is across the street from the LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana.
I wandered around the glorious indoor market, Reading Terminal Market. It wasn't crowded yet, so I took a plethora of pictures.
Even though Termini Bros. is well known for their cannoli, I prefer their cranberry pistachio biscotti and this mini chocolate mousse cake.
Across the hall is Mueller Chocolate Co. My sister adores their dark chocolate vanilla buttercreams. I love chocolate, so sometimes I try an item or pick up a unique gift. Definitely check out their website to see what I mean!
That case full of all those decadent chocolate truffles, unobstructed by a long line of customers, is a sight to see! Looking at this photo, I may have to try those dark champagne truffles at the bottom right corner next time!
This is Metropolitan Bakery, which I should patronize more!
I should try their flourless chocolate cake. Maybe next time...
This is one of the many stands in the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch corner, Beiler's Bakery.
I love a croissant breakfast, so this is the corner display of Market Bakery.
Chocolate chip and sometimes black & white cookies are often picked up from Famous 4th Street Cookie Co.
Visiting this impressive building in the middle of Center City was the highlight of my day.
On this trip, I finally took a guided tour of the Masonic Temple! I have walked past this building that looks like a cathedral so many times and have wanted to see the inside since I lived in the city back in 2008 and 2009. The only thing I knew was that different halls were spectacularly decorated around different themes: geographic areas.
The exterior was awe-inspiring too. I love how these columns on this portal are embellished! The beaded one is my favorite.
We waited for the tour to begin in a museum room where artifacts were kept behind glass.
Symbols fascinate me and this secret society certainly uses them.
Among portraits, this mustache section was fun.
Our tour guide, a freemason himself, announced the name of the meeting room before we entered it. The names included: Gothic, Ionic, Corinthian, Egyptian, and Renaissance. Each room was ornately decorated from floor to ceiling around that theme. Our tour guide basically explained the room's decoration, inspiration, and function. He did not elaborate about the secret society. Some of the people in our group asked about them though. Anyway, everything inside the building was a complete surprise to me. In fact, I hesitate to share (one-third of) my pictures here as it may spoil it for my readers who are inspired by this post to visit in the future. You may actually want to skip the rest of this blog post! Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to see this amazing place in person. My tour cost $15.
I love that this room was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
This is the ceiling...
My favorite shape is the quatrefoil, so I loved these benches in the Gothic Room.
The next two images are from the Egyptian Room.
I love that this design was inspired by an illuminated manuscript like the Book of Kells.
This was the starry night sky on the ceiling of a hallway.
The rose window depicts symbols of masonry. The symbol that looks like the Star of David is the Seal of Solomon. It is everywhere. The main panel of stained glass is a scene of Moses and the Burning Bush.
The four figures below represent four virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.
Many US presidents were freemasons. Including George Washington...
...and Benjamin Franklin.
"Fiat lux" means something like, "Let there be light."
Here is a sculpture of Ben Franklin, Philadelphia's founding father, who remains ubiquitous in the city today.
I highly recommend a guided tour of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia.
After my fantastic tour, I returned to the nearby Reading Terminal Market for lunch. However, I did wander around the indoor market first. I found these Beethoven bust kitchen timers at the fun kitchen supply store called Amy's Place.
I had a cheesesteak at my favorite Tommy DiNic's. When in Philly...
Specifically, I ordered a plain roast beef sandwich and a coke.
It was delicious. They are actually known for their roast pork though. If you are in town for a cheesesteak, then I recommend this place over the famous Pat's or Geno's around the Italian Market in South Philly.
After lunch, I wandered around the city. One of these Voluspa Bourbon Vanille candles at Anthropologie came home with me.
It was time for another gelato and I love Gran Caffe L'Aquila for this.
Since I savored fondente (dark chocolate) on the first day of my trip, I opted for baci (chocolate hazelnut) this time.
I wandered around the beautiful Art Museum neighborhood. I amor this sculpture too...
I decided to have a drink before catching my 3:30 PM train home. I returned to Gran Caffe L'Aquila for a refreshing spritz, a well known cocktail in Italy.
I do not tend to drink without also eating at least a little something, so I ordered bruschetta.
Delicious. After this nice last stop, I picked up my luggage stored at the hotel, hopped on the subway, and headed into the train station to depart.
It was an amazing trip to my city. The perfect way to celebrate my birthday. On this trip, I am happy that I mixed trying new things or at least visiting places that I haven't been to in years with hitting all my favorite places. Having made new favorites, I definitely look forward to returning to Barcelona Wine Bar.
If you liked this post, then please stay tuned for more! On the blog, I will write about my two-day, one-night trip to Philadelphia in July. On my Instagram (@theitaliagal) first and then my blog later, I will post about yet another upcoming 24-hour Philly getaway that I have booked. You may have noticed by now, that this is true love and I am so excited to be reunited! This will be my fourth trip of the year. I am incredibly grateful. Also, thank you so much for coming along with me!