Today is Rocky day!
The route is planned and we're off around 10am first stop is Front Street where both Adrian's pet shop and Mighty Micks gym are based. We walk there taking about 20 minutes and it's pretty sad when we arrive to see how derelict and run down the whole area is - the shop is boarded up, no hint of the fame it once had, the gym is recognisable by its shape on the corner of the street opposite with the painted-on boxing gloves still noticeable on the sides - but it needs investment and we are stunned it is not getting it. We get selfie happy and walk to the station at York Dauphin for our next stop to Rockys pad.
It's getting much dirtier as we journey 5 minutes into the rougher part of Philly. Everyone here appears to be on crack or drunk, it's so rough and we're noticeably out of place, stairs are littered with used needles and there's a lot of begging as soon as you exit the station.
We stop briefly as Matt has emails to answer and next to us we hear screaming, a young girl is shouting "it wasn't my fault" as she runs up the main road with her essentials flapping around, she looks awful, really greasy and rough and is guided into the nearest shop called "bobs check cashing". A few minutes later a customer comes outside shouting to the policemen opposite requesting help for this girl - they are pretty slow to respond asking him to come to them - it's painful to watch their lackadaisical attitude and when they eventually come over they realise she's overdosed and collapsed so an ambulance is called. Now if something like this happened back home there would be concern but I doubt people would be allowed to walk in off the street just to come and have a look at her but the police do nothing to stop it, it's the most ridiculous sight.
We move on walking to Rockys just minutes away - as we turn into the street it's instantly recognisable - number 1818 on the end of the terrace next to the house with double entry steps - rough and unkempt it's sad such areas are so degenerate but I guess that's why they were chosen for the movies - more authentic in line with the theme.
We head back to Somerset station and travel twenty odd minutes to 11th street station. We're checking the map for Magic Gardens and a security guard called Moses offers his human GPS knowledge - he's the nicest guy - so jolly and helpful he has us in stitches with his daughters account of how prehistoric he is and his directions are spot on to Magic Gardens.
We head west passing Rosas pizzeria it's been on the Ellen show famed for its beautiful fresh pizzas for $1 a slice but also because it gives so much of its profits to feeding the homeless. Its walls are decorated with post it notes from customers leaving positive messages and inspiring quotes - we have a slice each - it's literally the best pizza we've ever had - next we know a whole pie is in front of us - how did that get there?! ;) Wow it is delicious….
Stuffed we walk it off to Magic Gardens - this place has been created over years by a man who has used recycled glass, bottles, porcelain, china and mirrors to build this amazing mosaic like maze of wall to wall magpie heaven.
We head on then to walk the rest of South street which we can imagine at night being the place to be with its array of restaurants and happy hour bars - quick pit stop and we jump on a bus to Pats Steakhouse.
It's the wrong bus - 3 stops later we realise - off we get and opt for walking, 15 minutes later we fall upon the famous Pats Steakhouse where Rocky grabs a Philly Cheesesteak - it has a cement plaque referencing where he stood in 1976, it's buzzing but we're to stuffed to try one. We grab a drink in the bar opposite - the humidity here is insane! Next stop- we walk to the Italian market where Rocky ran through the street - walking around Philly is much easier and nicer than the subway.
The market is wrapping up but it's still wall to wall stalls and it seems there's some police tape going up blocking off some of the street. We discover there's a party happening celebrating the winners of the food truck competition that took place last week - they'll be having live music outdoors soon so we decide to jump on a bus to the Rocky steps and come back later.
The bus is only 20 minutes to the Philadelphia Art Museum - as we walk around to the front of it at the base of the steps we can see the Rocky statue it looks fab we get our obligatory tourist snaps of us and the stallion before scoping out the steps.
Now Matt being Matt it's not going to be a straight forward video of him running - oh no - it's got to be an edited masterpiece of three different angles - him running up towards the camera, running up from the camera and running past the camera half way. So, the poor w*** has inflicted upon himself 3 runs of the 72 steps - Jacq is playing Spielberg.
It's actually a great idea but he's wrecked, jumping around in his Rocky t shirt Matt manages all 3 no bother with great enthusiasm and then proceeds to dip his feet in the fountain much to Jacqs horror - she walks off pretending not to know him.
Once he's recovered we opt for a cab back to the market and arrive to a busy street full of crepe, meat and beer trucks we head straight for the music grabbing a seat and pint of sly fox gold lager each - it's gorgeous.
The music is great - a mix of acoustic artists, the last guy Curtis is especially good and we make friends with the guys in charge of the event Tod and Laurie who ply us with free booze - it's a fab atmosphere, so friendly and Matt spends time chatting to Curtis after his set agreeing to head to Connies bar down the street for a beer and some live bands.
We make tracks and discover a lot of people from the gig are there - it's to be headlined by a well-known up and coming band called Sour Bridges who apparently supported Mumford and Sons. Matt and Curtis mess around outside having fun doing a spot of busking singing Radio Head much to the delight of passers-by Jacqs chatting to and old Italian about when the Irish came to Philly - he gives her a great account of the Irish and Italians being at war then and some funny stories to boot. She then gets chatting to a guy called Jack about our trip and discovers he does bass and vocals for Sour Bridges - Matt comes over and chats to him about music and we all get on great Jack insists on giving us a couple of CDs and we head in to support the band - they are brilliant very blue grass acoustic folk with a real upbeat tempo - the night goes on and we reach our peak so it's a cab home - awesome night!