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Sonia and I made it a Pope weekend. Pope Francis was in Philadelphia both Saturday and Sunday. Despite the dire warnings about traffic gridlock, we had no problem getting to the Woodcrest PATCO station and finding a parking space. Getting thru the security checkpoints, on the other hand, was a bit more challenging: Saturday 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours on Sunday for the Papal mass. The security checks were being done by TSA and were pretty much like going thru airport security, i.e. SLOW. On Saturday we found a good place on the Ben Franklin Parkway between Logan Square and City Hall at ~17th street. We settled in for our 6 hour wait for the Pope. We passed the time having a picnic lunch, reading our books, watching events on the jumbotron, and chatting with others near us. The Pope's motorcade passed by our location twice, once on its way to loop around city hall and once on the way back. After that we made our way closer to Logan Square for the 7:30 evening event with included testimonials and entertainment [one song each by Aretha Franklin and Andrea Bocelli]. It had been a long day, by the time we left the Parkway around 9:30 and headed home.
Sunday we were back for the Papal mass. We had a good location within the ticketed area on the Parkway, closer to the Art Museum, but it was still a long way to the altar/stage. We sat right under one of the jumbotrons and could follow the entertainment and the mass. One 'advantage' of the longer security wait was a shorter wait for the Pope once we finally got settled. We spent our 2 hours eating lunch and watching events on the jumbotron. Although we were on the south side of the Parkway and saw Pope Francis as the start of Sunday's motorcade, I was surprised that we could also clearly see him across the Parkway on his return route. After mass we lingered a bit and walked up to get a closer view of the stage -- still could not get all that close. On a whim, we made a 'post Pope pub' stop at Moriarty's for a couple beers and plate of nachos. Another long day, but overall a fantastic weekend !!