Amish, Probecito, and what a pig! - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Amish life, pobrecito, and what a pig!

We woke up around 10:00 am and had breakfast at the hotel. We drove from Harrisburg to Lancaster, the town where the Pennsylvania Deutsch or Amish have a large community. We got a little lost because on occassion the GPS gets a little "confused" or "slow" and then everything gets messed up. We drove through historic's very nice, very artsy!

One of the memorable stories or catch phrase of the trip stems from this: we were stopped at a light, there was a gentleman with a bag of grapes standing at the corner, waiting to cross. Suddenly all the grapes fall out of his bag. We felt so bad for him...I even wanted to give him some fruit we had with us. When I saw what happened I said, "Pobrecito" and genuinely felt bad for him. Almost simultaneously, he swipes up the grapes from the ground and sticks a handful in his mouth.  "What a pig!!!" was the next comment I said. My family just found that so hilarious, that I said pobrecito, and 2 seconds later, called him a pig. He was a pig!!!!! He didn't even attempt to brush off the dirt from the grapes he picked up. In addition, he didn't just put one tiny grape in his mouth. He stuffed a whole handful in his mouth. I can't live that down...its almost as if I had been the pig. They can't stop laughing and repeating the story. (pobrecito means poor thing)

Although the kids have been fighting a lot on this trip, they are having a good time and we are having many memorable moments.  Once we arrived in Lancaster, we went to Abe's Buggy Rides, Al bought the most expensive and longest tour available. It was $40 per adult and $24 for kids. It was a 5-mile tour with one stop. The tour itself was just ok. I thought it was pricey for what we got. Our tour guide/driver wasn't very forthcoming with information. We had to interrogate him and had to request to see things even though they were listed as part of the tour. Later, I saw another tour on a brochure that seemed better. The brochure states they stop at three non-commercial farms so you can see "true Amish life on a farm" and other interesting things. The lesson here is, we should have done more research before jumping on the first buggy tour we saw.

Even though we had to extract information from our driver, we had read enough to know what to expect so we asked him about it and he showed things we requested. That was good because we were still able to see things we were interested in seeing. He just didn't have the initiative to do it on his own. It's funny because on our way back we saw a group that had been waiting for a buggy with us, walking around on foot with no buggy nearby. Later, we learned that two of the family members had a severe allergic reaction to the horse and had to get off and walk. Our horse's name was Dolly. Our driver didn't tell us his name, but he told us he is a Mennonite. He told us about the differences in the two religions. The Mennonites aren't as strict as the Amish. After the tour we bought a book that explains the Amish religion.

After the buggy tour, we drove to Bird-in-Hand bakeshop. It was cute and I found the state magnets the kids want to collect. We even found a magnetic map to put them on, but they were out of them, I gave them my number so they can call me when it comes in. We bought 14 magnets for all the states we've been to already. We are still missing the states we have yet to see and the Canadian provinces. I didn't buy them ahead of time, because I thought it would be funner to buy them as we actually visited the places. Alex and the kids agreed. Prices for everything are very low. Postcards were only .25, the magnets were only .98 each, the baked good were extremely inexpensive as well.

We left the Amish country around 4pm. We drove to Hershey, PA. Although we would have loved to take the kids to Hershey Park and they were really looking forward to it, we did not take them. (I thought we'd cave in, but we stuck to it). They have been fighting a lot and we kept reminding them they'd lose the trip to Hershey Park unless they were nicer to eachother...they never even tried...not even when we were there right in front of the park...they just kept fighting. I think it kills Alex and I more than it does them, that we didn't take them, but we had to. They are having a wonderful experience, but it's hard for us to see them be mean  to eachother. On the flip side, they can also be very loving...but those moments are few and far between.

We did go to Hershey World.  It is basically a huge gift shop with a movie about the history of the company and a ride that goes through the process of how chocolate is made. They loved the ride. We went on it 3 times. We had dinner there. Alex and I had chili in a bread bowl...we eat that often on this trip. The kids each bought a shirt and a huge Hershey chocolate bar. They also did a chocolate works activity where they "work" at a conveyor belt and fill containers with kisses and then seal the container. They had a lot of fun.

We also drove to downtown Hershey to the Museum and the factory. There is a super sweet smell of chocolate right around the factory area. The town has Hershey kisses lamp posts. It's a very pretty is well-kept and clean. I was impressed with how beautiful it is.

We went back to the hotel, we arrived around 10ish. Alex and I were anxious because we still didn't know where we'd be going tomorrow.
Alex and I watched the Michael Jackson memorial service and planned the next few days of the trip. We decided to go to Niagara Falls for our anniversary and leave on July 11th, straight to Boston for the RedSox game at 1:30 pm on Sunday. On Saturday, we hope to stop in Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame and in Springfield for the Basketball Hall of Fame. I'd love to go to Lake Placid and do something in the Adirondack Mountains, but I don't know if it will be possible. It's funny... we have 33 days for this trip...a lot more time than many people would have...and we still don't have enough time to see everything we want. We gave up on attempting to go to Nova Scotia. If we do that we'll spend too much time trying to get there. Maybe next time...

We went to bed after 2:00 am.

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