Friday, March 21, 2008


This time, I let my parents write a story about their experiences and adventures in the US!

America is a country of 'extremes', we don’t have to explain that to readers of Daniel’s blog anymore. We are going to do it anyway, because we (Marije and Luuk - Daniel’s parents) experienced amazing things everyday during our ten-day visit in Philadelphia!

It started when we entered this country of 'opportunities'. The first experience was not that nice – after an 8-hour flight, we thought we had a great timing. We were wrong: US Customs acted like they have never seen an airplane with visitors land here, don't know how to make an efficient schedule and don’t care about tourists. It took us more than one hour before we were able to talk to a customs officer!

But after that, we experience a lot of nice things each day. Some stories:

Sunday afternoon. We made a trip to Doylestown, a small town just 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, where we visited a castle build of concrete! Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) decided to start building it without a construction plan or schedule: when he finished one room, he decided what the next room would look like. We took a tour trough this unique castle with beautiful art work.

Tuesday. We visited Lancaster, PA, where three religions live: Brethrens, Mennonites, and Amish. The Amish are very strict: they don’t have cars, TV's, tractors, or modern farm equipment; instead they use horses, donkeys and old-fashioned cars. They don’t use electricity – that would ‘connect’ their house to the rest of the world, which is not allowed either!

The Amish tour, as we made it, was amazing! The 30-minute ride was only $10 each (but add the 15% tip – even the Amish like that). The car we entered was only 6 months old, build of aluminum metal: light-weighted, no maintenance required, keeps shining and still looks old-fashioned. The ride itself was great, with a nice story from a religious man who grew up in this area. That’s America too!

Wednesday afternoon. A service employee from the Macy’s in Philadelphia recommended us to go to the Reading Terminal Market. The perfect market where people in Philadelphia lunch, get fresh food or just look around!

Thursday. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Perfect: old and new art from American, Dutch, French and Italian masters, even statues and Asian art.

Conclusion: our legs hurt, and it is amazing here!

A castle of concrete:

Amish tour

The Terminal market in Philly

Philadelphia museum of art

Dinner at the Applebees

Street view of Philadelphia