Wednesday 27 April 2011

Day 24: Our new address: Pier 5 marina at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia

The marina is enclosed by buildings faced with blue corrugated metal on three sides, and wooden piers protect the exit on to the Delaware River.  On one side there are apartments overlooking the marina, in what must be a converted warehouse, between us and the street is an office building, and on the other side we have what look like warehouses, right up against the enormous Benjamin Franklin bridge, which stretches away across the river.  There are maybe a couple of dozen boats of various kinds moored here, some of them are very beautiful, others a little run down.  There seem to be a handful of permanent residents, and I've met one of our neighbors from Pier 3 who sails around for part of the year and moors here for the rest of the time.

Voici notre nouvelle adresse, sur la rivière Delaware, à coté du centre de Philadelphie, entourée de batiments, protegée des foules, mais pas du bruit urbain.  A notre gauche, le pont Benjamin Franklin transporte voitures, camions, trains et vélos.  Des hélicopteres passent régulierement, sans compter les bateaux sur la rivière.  Nous montons et descendons au fil des marées et la rivière nous apporte végétation et malheureusement, un peu de déchets.  Nous partageons la marine avec deux douzaines de bateaux en tout genre, et quelques voisins.  En somme, on y est plutot bien.

You do not forget that you are in a large city here, as you can in some parts of London's waterways.  There are a few ducks and geese, but not much nature.  We can walk to every part of the city centre, or the public transport pretty easily.  The marina holds the urban roar at a bit of a distance, but we are dominated by the bridge, with its cars and trains, and regular helicopter flights.  The river outside is busy, but we barely notice it.  There is a definite 'urban grunge' feel to the place, which is what I have always liked best about Philadelphia, so I am happy.

The river is tidal, so we and the wooden walkways to which we are moored keep going up and down, but we barely notice, except at very low tides when we can be sitting in watery sludge.  The river brings a lot of driftwood into the marina, and unfortunately some pollution.  Yesterday evening, our neighbor tried to flush some out by pouring water into the marina, and amazingly it seems to have worked a bit.