Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fantastic Voyage

I had a fantastic weekend leading up to Labor Day. Andy and I went to Philadelphia courtesy of my discount skillz at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown. I've been counting down to this weekend because I was in such a need of a refresh after July. I left work early Friday morning, stressing out immensely because I hadn't even packed yet and we were on a slightly tight schedule to see a concert that very evening in the city. After my initial spazzfest of tossing crap into the bag, we finally departed. Of course, traffic got sluggish near the Delaware border. My goal was for us to arrive at the hotel around for so we'd have enough time to grab proper dinner before heading to see Nightwish at our favorite Philly venue The Trocadero Theater.

The venue was SWAMPED with people too! The line was relatively long by the time we got there and we still had an hour before the doors opened. It was insane. The funny thing is we managed to sit near the SAME married couple we met at their previous show at The Troc last October. (And that lady can still screech like a banshee, wow.) The show this year was a supreme improvement. (Not that last year's was awful but, their new vocalist was still a bit insecure about filling such big shoes of the former diva from the pit of Hades that used to sing for the band. And the Opening band left something to be desired.) Sonata Arctica opened for them and immediately they set the mood for an awesome night.

Hoarse and tired, we managed to make it back to the hotel in one piece. On Saturday, we slept in and hauled ourselves out of bed to hit The Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was amazed by all the wonderful exihibits they had and on such a scale. In my opinion, it puts the Smithsonian brands to shame when it comes to the content and display. I believe Andy really enjoyed seeing their wing of European Art from 1100 - 1500. It was a bit macabre with so many religious portraits bearing Christ's crucifixtion but I suppose a devout Catholic would have been right at home. Though there was this one pair of portraits that struck our fancy more then the others. This was a pair of paintings. On the right, painting lovingly and with excruciating emotion was Jesus Christ hanging upon his wooden cross. Instead of the usual complacent, creepy android expression most artists give him, he bore a sorrowful and pained countenance. His eyes were clenched shut, his head bowed slightly as the life ebbed from his limbs. The portrait on the left, bore Mary and Joseph. Mary wasn't reflected as some immaculate, all knowing mother of inhuman serenity like she is depicted in a lot of imagery. Rather she was prostrate with grief on one knee with her pale robes billowing around her as she clasped her hands in desperate prayer. The expression on her olive face was one of helplessness and an agony of a mother watching her son die. Trying to cradle and console her from behind, was Joseph. His face was turned toward his struggling wife but you could see that he was weary himself.

I was awed by all the Monet paintings and incredible asian art galleries myself. I highly recommend it to anybody whom will be in the area or is planning to visit. After the afternoon there, my super husband took us to see Spamalot at the Academy of Music. This was our first time at a Broadway styled musical/play with professional thespians. It was the North American Tour and coincedentally it was closing in Philly this past weekend so I'm glad Andy is so brilliant. And the show was as funny and as fantastic as the reviews suggest. It takes the funniest bits of the film then its stirred up with some absurd songs and equally absurd humor.

Finally on Sunday, we attended the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. Eh, that was one of the more blah aquariums I've ever been too. Even the one in Tampa, FL was superior. (I will always heart the National Aquarium in Baltimore above all else though.) While Adventure did have hippos, most of the exihibits felt like filler. There was no spirit of conservation. It seemed to be all about making you spend lots of money at the gift shop and their huge cafeteria. Oh and did I mention this fairly new and nice aquarium is in the ghetto? Seriously, you drive a couple of blocks and suddenly you are surrounded by boarded up, spray painted projects and vacant lots. And why is there always a liqour store on the corner in ghettos??

All in all, it was great. I definitely would like to go back to Philly though in the future. Maybe next time we could actually visit Dan and his adorable family. And hey, I finished the rest of Eclipse on the road trip and sleepless nights in the hotel room. So this weekend was full of win.

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