Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day 18

This morning we got up a bit late again - I think that the trip is really wearing us down a bit. I went for another 34 minute run but decided that I am going to have to take some time off as my knees are really bothering me now. It's a bummer but I managed to over do things in only 2 weeks and since I don't want to end up crippled I need to relax for a few days. It's been tough to adjust from 10-12 hours of cycling a week to about 1-2 hours of running a week. But my knees are telling me something and I need to listen.

We had breakfast with my grandparents and spent a few hours chatting with my father's aunt who called in for a visit. She is Italian and had all four of us wetting ourselves with her stories for nearly two hours!

It was then back to the College Cafe (near Doc's) for some more wi-fi time and a quick bite.

After lunch, we chilled out in Long's Park for a little bit before setting off for Philadelphia. I had a quick little schnooze, lying in the sun and felt much better for it afterwards.

We decided to take the scenic route from the park out to the PA Turnpike, driving along Route 23 east. We stopped to look at some Amish farms and Paulo could not believe how they still live the way they do in our modern times.

The Amish are a Christian denomination most widely known for their plain dress and their avoidance of modern life and technology. Most of them are divided into fellowships that are mostly determined by geographical districts and have an effect on the way they live their lives. There are many different orders of Amish but it is the Old Order that only use horses for farming and transportation, dress traditionally and refuse to use electricity or telephones.

The Amish are an ethnic group with Swiss German ancestry and are descendants of the Mennonites. The separation took place in the 1700s due to differences in religion and lifestyles.

The Old Order Amish moved to America, settling in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Lancaster County contains the second biggest poulation of Amish - roughly 39,000.

The separation from the modern world is entirely for religious reasons but the Amish do not entirely see technology and modernistic ways as evil. In fact individuals in any community are free to petition for the use or acceptance of modern 'appliances' if it will have a direct improvement on their lives.

I believe most of the Amish in Lancaster would be considered Old Order that are evolving since they retain 'old world' religious services and education but have progressed to work in service and labor industries that enable them to earn more money for their families.

Driving through some of the farmland in Lancaster, it is very easy to forget what year (or even century) it is.

We then jumped on the turnpike to drive to Morrisville for the night. I had arranged for us to stay with my old college chum Jesse and his wife Christy. We ordered some food and then drove into New Hope for a few drinks.

New Hope is an old industrial town that is better known now for tourism, antiques and the arts. In the early 18th century got it's start because of two things: transportation and water power. The fact that New Hope is located next to the Delaware River enabled the building of many mills and barns along with the planting of many farms.

For nearly 200 years New Hope flourished as an industrial town. It even proved pivotal during the American Revolution as Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware just north of the town and defeated British troops in Trenton.

But with the building of railways in the late 1800s, New Hope's industries began to suffer. Slowly, artists began to move into the town and settle there.

Now, there is a huge artistic community that New Hope is famous for but a lot has changed in just the last 15 years since I lived in Bucks County and first started going there to visit Jesse. The town has become a bit of a tourist trap and there doesn't seem to be nearly as much of a vibe as there was in the past. Maybe it is just my age showing...

We walked around the main street and settled into a bar called 90 Main. Christy managed to persuade me to try a Chocolate Martini. I drank three of them. But, at ten dollars a pop it was turning into a bit of a prizy night.

Since Jesse wasn't drinking but was driving we decided to buy a few beers and head back to the house. We sat out on the back porch telling loads of stories and chatting about everything under the sun (or in this case the moon). The time flew by and before we knew it the clock said 4 am! We headed off to bed after a great night of chilling and chatting.

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