Sunday June 24th. Amish country, Pennsylvania.
When you see this, you know you’re in Amish Country.Discretely shooting from behind the car with the monster lens.I can still hear the sound of horse hoofs.Goofing around in the souvenir shop.Going to Hogwarts.On Sunday afternoons the teens play volleyball. This is how they date I assume.Hmmmm….I wonder what I shall wear today? It’s such a big decision.
The amish is are very, very closed community. They are so afraid of loosing their beliefs that they can hardly look at you while passing by in a horse buggy. Despite that fact, me and Maurizio, as curious as we are, decided to get to speak to a few of them and even took it one step further: To try to get a ride in a real, non touristic buggy.
So after spending all Sunday afternoon driving around the little village and watching them from far away, taking sneaky pictures, we decided to get to know a few of them a bit, or in best case scenario, get to join them at one of their hang outs at different peoples farms on Sunday nights (yeah right). Apparently Sunday night is when all the younger amish without kids drive around in their buggies all over the little village, from farmland to farmland, and they do something closer to what we do saturday night barhopping, but without the alcohol (?).
This was not an easy task at all. Some of them has got to be more open than others, we thought and decided to drive around on all small streets in the dark, listening to the magical sound of a 1800’s buggy and horses running. Then we finally decided to settle in a crossing with street lights. A bunch of young guys drove by in one buggy, smoking in the backseat, eyeing my skintight jeans, and they were probably drinking. So we got our hopes up at least some of them should be young and wild enough to speak with us.
The advantage was definitely that Maurizio knows how to speak Swiss german, which is the language spoken by the amish. Pennsylvania dutch is just a more aged version of modern swiss german.
So we pressed the button by the crossing in order to keep the red light red a bit longer. We must have been so annoying to them. And then we just stood there like fools watching the ensemble and their impatience horses chewing on their bridles and throwing their heads up and down. They of course took off as soon as the lights switched to green. To some of them we said hi and they would look at us as if we were nuts and you could tell they didnt really know if they should reply back or not.
Then we saw this open buggy (unmarried couples are not allowed to ride in closed ones. Bad thing might happen you know!) with two guys is the front seat and one girl alone in the backseat. They had some kind of boom box in the backseat and were playing something really mainstream like funky hip hop. As soon as they saw us they turned off the music.
The girl leaned over in her backseat and looked at us, kind of cocky, and then she was like: “Sooo…. what are you guys doing out here at this time?” whereas we were very honest and said we were watching the beautiful buggies to get the full experience and Maurizio spoke to them in their language for a while to get them more interested. It immediately presented respect and they, especially the girl, became more interested in us. We asked if we could get a ride with them to whatever cool in-the-middle-of-the-night-in-amish-country-activity they were up for and the guy in the front seat was quick to explain that they were going home. So we asked politely if we could join them for a few hundred meters and the girl tried to keep her cool and turned to the guys and asked them what they though about it. We could sense that she actually thought it would have been kind of cool to bring some swiss speaking strangers with them in the buggy. And so the driver guy, that had been quiet all the time, just nodded and took off across the street even though the light was still red. That was about as close as we got to get a night ride with some partying amish teens.
We guessed later on that the unrestrained girl chillin’ in the backseat most likely were engaged to one of the boys.
The day after we went to an amish cheese farm and got to speak to a man that made goat cheese and had 16 kids.
He was very curious on the outer world, didn’t really exactly know what country Canada is, and told us he had taken his buggy filled with cheese all the way to Washington DC for a cheese competition. Then he let us try his goat milk, we bought some blue cheese and I got to pet a bunch of kittens and goats.
Petting the kittens really helped since this was the morning I learnt that my lovely grand mother had passed away.
And so we took off to Baltimore.