The City That Gave Us Love

Philadelphia is a very special city for us for many reasons. We fell in love with Philadelphia the moment we laid eyes on her. The city of Philadelphia is a tourists delight and the pride of any one who calls the city their own, however briefly. Philadelphia was the first capital of USA and it was the city where thinkers like Benjamin Franklin walked on the same cobbled stone streets as found today. It was the stage of the American Independence and has many stories to tell from that era. The city saw many first’s such as the first telephone, the first elevator (lift) and many other innovative inventions of time immemorial.

If anyone wants to get a feel of the city all you have to do is play the original game of Monopoly, you will find Reading Terminal, Water Works,Park place and all the other Monopoly squares come alive in Philadelphia. The game was designed based on the city of Philadelphia. The city gives the feeling of being a compact city with the roads criss crossing to form perfect squares while being deceivingly big. The city has maintained the same characteristics and flavors from the day William Penn planned the city.

Philadelphia is a mix of historical and modern surprises at every corner. Every road and every nook between the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers has a brilliant story to tell, giving the city so much in terms of character. The city has something to offer to every type of person with the Rocky statue for the movie buffs, Reading Terminal and Philly cheese steak for the foodies, Eastern State Penitentiary for the history seeker, free libraries and museums for the seeker of literature and art and Fairmount Park for the nature lover. The center of the city has the symbol of Love which has become a universal icon for Love. Here is my ode to the city of Philadelphia in photographs.

The City that gave us Love
The City that gave us Love
Reading Terminal station which is now a famous but authentic food court
Reading Terminal station which is now a famous but authentic food court
Boat House Row one of the most Romantic parts of the city
Boat House Row one of the most Romantic parts of the city
Eastern State Penitentiary  and its chilling past
Eastern State Penitentiary and its chilling past
Remember Water Works in Monopoly ? Here it is
Remember Water Works in Monopoly ? Here it is
Door way to Ben Franklin's House
Door way to Ben Franklin’s House
A Frozen Lake
A Frozen Lake
A rusted Door at the Penintantary
A rusted Door at the Penintantary

Photographs credited to Razor Rasu

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Simply Amish

A covered wooden bridge  

When I heard about this religious sect who froze time in the 1800’s and lived in the technology dense country of America without technology, I was intrigued. For an Indian (from India, not to be confused with Native Americans) living without technology,  going about in a horse cart, studying only till eight grade and having farming as the main occupation is not big news. Abstinence and sacrifice are not unique themes. Most Indians are indoctrinated in them and can go on a fast for reasons like ‘ its Monday’ (shrug).

A row of corn

 In India no one chose to reject technology, its more a case of not having access to technology in rural settings. Bullock carts and camel carts will trudge on the highway alongside BMWs. Witnessing the same thing in USA is rare.That’s why you go to Lancester County, Pennsylvania which is popularly known as Amish Country and is also known for its outlet malls. There are many options to stay in Amish Country hotels, bed and breakfasts, farms and if you book early there are a few Amish farms which are open to guests. Link to PA Dutch country website.

An Amish farm with farmhouse

Farms are the most endearing part of Amish Country. They cover the landscapes on both sides of the road. You will notice big farmhouses with huge water tanks at one end and that’s how you know, you have entered Amish Country. The Amish are a traditional Christian Church fellowship which has its history traced back to Switzerland. Most Amish followers speak ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ or Pennsylvania German and make the most amazing apple butter. The Amish believe in living a rural, modest and religious life. Their dressing is simple and modest and they do not use any modern style of fashion post the 18th century, even buttons. Their use of cars, heating and other technology is limited or absent. Their chief mode of transportation is the horse buggy. An individual becomes Amish by baptism at the age of 16 or 18 when young adults can chose to remain within the Amish sect. Usually after a period known as Rumspringa (means running around) where they are free to go and experience the outside world. But if the choose to return and be baptized they must follow the rules and also marry within the sect.
                                                     

Inside an Amish house

After the initial gawking at seeing the Amish riding around in the horse buggy you realize they are just  people who are warm and might give you a wave or a smile as they ride by. They also make amazing food with the freshest of ingredients which is in the true sense straight from the farm. One of the most popular establishments frequented by tourists is Good n Plenty where they follow the smorgasbord buffet system. In the smorgasbord system hot and tasty dishes are served on the common table and need to be passed around the entire table. The food is wholesome and the feeling of community is indeed a warm feeling which is sorely missed in the cities.

A small town called Intercourse

Fresh air, good food, beautiful countrysides and the most quaint BnB’s are what I liked most about Amish Country. We missed the outlet malls by a wide berth, enough shopping in the cities to dissuade us from shopping  in the countryside. But you could always indulge in some handmade quilts and other curios which are pretty much not made in China. I would definitely recommend Amish Country to people who are interested in unwinding with some fresh air and some apple butter and hot bread.