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Opera house, Wilmington, DE
26th Jul 2008
Intercourse and Baltimore

While doing research into the best place to find Amish, I also saw a company that offers buggy rides.  I was mildly tempted, but when I saw their map to their location I knew I had to go.  It was just outside the town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania.  This was too good to miss.

I set off from Philadelphia after having had AAA come to look at my car, which refused to start.  Embarrassingly it turned out that the problem was simply a near-empty gas tank and a steep road, combining to result in no flow of petrol to my engine.  Moving the car to a level surface did the trick.  Ooops.  AAA are not as good as The AA, because they arrive without a toolbox: their purpose is either to jumpstart or to tow, and they will not even look at the engine. 

As I turned from US30 onto the farm route to Intercourse I passed a warning sign for buggies, and then the real thing.  Driven by men with beards and straw hats, these spotlessly-clean horse-drawn buggies are a pleasure to watch, especially when the horses are all such athletes.  I stopped at the Intercourse sign for a pose, and then went to Aaron & Jessica's Buggy Rides. I enjoyed a 3 mile tour of the Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand countryside, seeing several farms, several farm-hands working, and a shop where the car-park was full of buggies.

It would appear that not all Amish shun mod-cons, pleasure-seeking (or at least aiding others in their search) and commerce.  I was peddled delicious home-made doughnuts and cookies by girls without shoes.  I could tell that they were real and not just dressing up because their suntan exactly matched the hemline of their conservative dresses. 

Interesting fact:  the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" is a corruption of Deutsch.  The Amish (at least the ones I met) speak German, not Dutch, and have nothing to do with the Netherlands at all.

Lancaster county has the following hilariously-named towns:  Blue Ball, Fertility, Bird-In-Hand, Virginville.... a recurring theme would appear to be a lack of intercourse.


From here I drove through Lancaster, down I83 (where I stopped in a Walmart car park for a nap), to Baltimore, Maryland.  The PA-MD border reflects the Mason-Dixon line, the border between North and South USA... so I am officially back in the South, hurrah!

I stayed in Baltimore with a couchsurfer who also had two French surfers staying, so the four of us and his housemate all went out for dinner to the Fells Point area of the city, right by the water.  It was cool, great restaurants on cobbled streets, performers and entertainers, and no kids.  I tried my hand - or hips - at hula-hooping on the streets. 

We took a tour of some of the ghettos, and I was surprised to see more desolation than Detroit.  On some streets two out of three houses were boarded up, and those inhabited were fronted by their occupants sitting on the steps with nothing to do.


Next: Baltimore and Washington, DC
Previous: Philadelphia

Diary Photos

Opera house, Wilmington, DE

Liberty Bell`s crack, Philadephia, PA

Articles of Confederation, Philadephia, PA

Fopp or Dandy, Philadephia, PA

Beautiful old streets, Philadephia, PA

Ben Franklin`s grave plaque, Philadephia, PA

Franklin`s toilet, Philadephia, PA

Christ Church, Philadephia, PA

Betsy Ross house, Philadephia, PA

Finanical district, Philadephia, PA

Intercourse, PA

Amish buggy, Intercourse, PA

Amish family, Intercourse, PA

Tourist buggy, Intercourse, PA

Buggy-park, Intercourse, PA

Amish farmer, Intercourse, PA

Corn fields and farm, Intercourse, PA

Two Amish gentlemen, Intercourse, PA

Couchsurfers` dinner, Baltimore, MD

Sugar refinery, Baltimore, MD

Street entertainment, Baltimore, MD

Hula hoop, Baltimore, MD

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