Visiting the Pennsylvania Amish in Lancaster County

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

The Pennsylvania Amish of Lancaster County are America’s oldest Amish settlement, where thousands still live a centuries-old „Plain” lifestyle. Arriving in Amish Country allows you to step back in time to enjoy a slower, more peaceful pace – one where the horse & buggy remains a primary form of transportation, and where windmills dot the landscape, providing power harnessed from nature. There is no such thing as television, radio, cinema theatres, or other entertainment means.

Always a vital part of Lancaster County culture, the PA Amish are involved in agriculture as well as an array of businesses and cottage industries. They opened stores where they sell their excellent produce and food. These stores are to be found not only in Pennsylvania, there are two of them not far from where we live, in New Jersey.

Amish women typically wear solid-color dresses with long sleeves and a full skirt, covered with a cape on the bodice. Some less conservative groups allow the women to wear short sleeved dresses but never sleeveless. Clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps, stockings are black cotton and shoes are also black.

To be Amish means more than just slow-paced and hardworking. In the course of time I visited several Amish farms and had the opportunity to talk to some of them. They lead a very interesting life that reminds us of very old times. Those we talked to speak of a more relaxed way of living, but a strong work ethic. The visitors can go into the Amish homes and see for themselves their life style.

If you notice, you’ll find that no Amish men wear belts. It is a prohibited accessory — they’re just too flashy. Amish men wear suspenders, sometimes two, or, in certain villages, no suspenders at all. But never belts. 

The Amish people wonder what the impact of fewer farmers and more “Amish businessmen” will be, especially if people become “too well off?” They think “prosperity” is the biggest threat to the Amish way of life, although some of the Amish would put cellphones (“the world in your pocket”) at the top of the list.

The more curious tourists meet local Amish families for a sit-down home-cooked meal, where they can find out lots of details about what means to be Amish nowadays. For some of us, staying at an Amish Bed and Breakfast or guesthouse  is a simple way to step away from many of the technological distractions that seem to dominate our lives. It certainly is a worth living experience. For instance, to avoid idolatry, the Amish do not have mirrors, nor do they allow photographs or pictures of images in their homes. In the Amish community, divorce is forbidden and not sanctioned in the Amish church. The decision to marry a person outside of the Amish church is one that comes with a decision to be made by the person in the community, but before they are baptized by the church.

A few more things: in the Lancaster county, PA, the visitors cen enjoy, if they so desire, bus tours through the County’s backroads and so they learn about Amish traditions while riding in comfort. Have fun while learning something new with the area’s only authentic Amish lessons, taught in their one-room schoolhouse. During the summer, an actual Amish schoolteacher will share her wisdom along with a real Amish lesson. As winter arrives and Christmas nears, see how the Amish decorate for Christmas in the one room schoolhouse and enjoy the Amish Holiday Tradition Tour. Take a guided tour of an authentic 1840’s Amish farmhouse and learn about today’s Amish lifestyle.

You could visit other Amish communities in the states of Ohio or Indiana.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

I wish you an enjoyable day!

Cristina David

The Great Lakes National Parks

National parks offer an unparalleled experience for watching wildlife and appreciating the interconnected network of life in and around parks.

“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.” — Dan Egan 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo – internet

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on the largest and deepest Great Lake, includes cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, and forest for outdoor adventure.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo internet

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore encompasses over 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. Situated on the largest, deepest, coldest and most pristine of the Great Lakes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore derives its name from the many sandstone cliffs that dot the shoreline. In addition to the sandstone cliffs, the park includes beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes and forest.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo internet

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Photo internet

As old as continental ice sheets and as young as the 1970 Establishment Act that set aside the lakeshore for preservation and public use, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers countless opportunities for discovery. The naturally elevated dunes along Lake Michigan offer visitors spectacular views, all-season hiking trails, pristine rivers for paddling, and a wonderful array of wildlife to explore. 

The most prominent features are the dunes above Lake Michigan, perched atop the already towering headlands. The dune overlooks at the Sleeping Bear, Empire, and Pyramid Point bluffs are about 400 feet above Lake Michigan, and with 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams, the park is wonderfully water oriented. 

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park Photo intenet

Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park encompasses 850 square miles of natural wilderness, spacious lands, and aquatic life.  

A cool climate, crystal-clear waters, and the wild North Woods forest characterize Isle Royale National Park. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extend over four miles out into Lake Superior, and 99% of the land mass is federally designated wilderness. The archipelago is composed of numerous parallel ridges, the result of ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated.  

Isle Royale Photo internet

Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers, paddlers, and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses, and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.  Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.

Isle Royale Photo internet

While enjoying a Venturing Crew backpacking trip two of the boys decided to sit quietly on the rocks at Sisskiwit Bay on Isle Royale. Even the roudiest of boys can find a little quiet for introspection while on the Island. It is good to see them deprived of their handheld devices for more than a day.

My advice: take some time, relax and plan a 2 week vacation to spend in the picturesque spots I described above. You won’t regret it! And try to remember:

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Cristina David

Some of the most interesting bridges in the world

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

I love to travel to different places in this world of ours, full of magnificent buildings and natural beauties, I’ve always have loved to do this.

During my trips I came to see all types of bridges : som very old, others, very long and some of them impressed me by something in particular, something specific to that particular bridge. I will try to say a few words expressing my impressions of each bridge that I really love.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

TheChesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects Virginia’s Eastern Shore with the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach near Norfolk. It is a modern engineering wonder, a tourist attraction and a travel convenience. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a four-lane 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing that provides direct access from Southeastern Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Maryland and Virginia Eastern Shore). It is really a unique experience to travel across the Bridge-Tunnel. There is also a scenic overlook and fishing pier which are great places to stop and take in the magnificent views of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Tower Bridge in London

Tower Bridge is a combined  bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. It is the most famous bridge in London, and surprisingly, the bridge only needs 90 seconds to lift. This happens about 500 times a year. The image of it is breathtaking and displays a highly unusual building that makes it a well-known landmark of the Great Britain capital. You must agree with me!

Pont Alexandre III — Paris, France

This famous  French bridge is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Paris, if not the world. One of its prettiest features are the gilded, iron, and stone statues of nymphs, pegasus, lions, and cherubs. But the best part of this bridge is its significant location, close to Champs-Élysées and near the tomb of Napoleon.

Brooklyn Bridge — New York City, New York

Brooklyn Bridge photo internet

One of the most recognizable and iconic bridges in the U.S., the Brooklyn Bridge is more than just a gateway between two boroughs — it’s also a gorgeous piece of architecture. Built in 1883, it became the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. Today, the bridge is a major tourist attraction and a crossing for thousands of pedestrians and vehicles each day.

Ponte Vecchio – An Everlasting Symbol of Florence

Open all of the time, along the pedestrian zone south of  Piazza della Repubblica towards Palazzo Pitti.

Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.

Benvenuto Cellini, a 16th century goldsmith, is honoured with a bust on the bridge. By night, the wooden shutters of the shops create a look like suitcases and wooden chests, making it a very suggestive route to take for an evening passeggiata, or stroll. Ponte Vecchio is a very romantic spot in Florence, with its great views over the river and of the bridge itself.

I hope you also like the bridges that I tried to present in my article here. Maybe on one of your future trips you’ll decide to visit at least one of them!

Cristina David

Motivational Words That Will Help You On Rough Days

John Greenleaf Whittier had an important role in the 30-year struggle to abolish slavery as a politician, but also as a poet and moral force. In 1833, his friend and patron William Lloyd Garrison wrote to him in a plea to enlist to the gathering struggle, saying “Your talent, zeal, and influence are all needed”. 

Oftentimes, it’s not just someone’s physical or practical help that we need, but also their zeal and encouraging words. Poems can be a great source of comfort when you need motivation to pick yourself up and keep on going during a rough patch. We hope this poem by Whittier titled ‘Don’t Quit” could be that one for you. 

Photos – internet

Cristina David

Magic and mystery on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The Callanish Stones on Lewis predate Stonehenge. Photograph: Kippiss/Getty Images

Lewis is rich in treasures of many other kinds – historic, religious. ..First light at Callanish. This is one of those places where tourists find themselves mesmerized and overwhelmed by unexplained prehistoric formations of huge pillar- like stones displayed in unusual positions.

The stone circle on the Hebridean island of Lewis may be 5,000 years old, but it would not do to keep it waiting. Besides, coming here at daybreak is, from certain perspectives, positively tardy. Emma Rennie, a local photographer, considers 2am the best time to visit. “It’s beyond mindblowing,” she told me, ahead of my journey. “There’s silence, which the world is so short of nowadays, and millions of stars. I feel small and insignificant, and I love it.”

Callanish – or Calanais in Gaelic – comprises 49 standing stones laid out in a shape that, seen from above, suggests a Celtic cross. Despite this resemblance, the site long predates Christianity and, indeed, Stonehenge.

The world famous Calanais standing stones are older than Stonehenge and much more sculptural and beautiful. Erected 5,000 years ago, they were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years. The main complex contains around 50 stones in a cross formation, with 13 stones and a small chambered cairn in the inner circle.

This is one of the delights of Callanish, and something you can’t get from the photographs – the look of the stones up close, and the tingling pleasure of the way they feel beneath your palm. Swirls, crevices, bright patches of pink granite … each stone offers a drone’s-eye view of some desert landscape. The oystercatchers and swallows, peeping and piping overhead, have the right idea. Don’t get too close: you could get lost in those patterns and never find your way out again.

 The Callanish standing stones. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

What, though, was Callanish for? The idea that this was some sort of druidic temple draws the crowds, especially at the summer solstice. The visitor centre and information panels play it safe with a lot of “perhaps” and “possibly”; the purpose of the stones, they say, remains a mystery. When I visit Callanish expert Margaret Curtis at her home nearby, she offers greater certainty: the site, she believes, was built as a solar and lunar observatory.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” (Albert Einstein)

the source (partial) – Wikipedia

Cristina David

One of the most beautiful villages in France

“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” 

Apremont sur Allier

Located on the banks of the river Allier, not far from the confluence of this river wih the Loire this little mediaeval village full of charm and surprises, offers an authentic romantic and luring ballad.

The place is not just an old and picturesque village, it displays a magnificent park and one can visit a historic museum, The Stables and Carriage Museum.

Enter into the magic of this garden and let yourself be charmed by the colored and scented festival of the many varieties and species of trees, plants and flowers from all over the world.

The Park – Photo on the internet

The Park has been awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” label by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The Park – Photo – the internet

Your fairytale walk will be punctuated by waterfalls, buildings and invitations to travel and to discover the talent of its fanciful designer, the great traveller and nature lover, Gilles de Brissac.

I hope you liked what you have seen in my post and some day you’ll decide to visit this mirific place on the Loire.

Cristina David

Faroe Islands: Middle Earth in the Far North

I love travelling and I did visit many places in Europe, Middle East and America (where I lived for 35 years). However, these countries that I visited were quite easy to reach by plane or train. I often dream of far away places that I would love to see, their history and picturesque scenery attract me a lot. But I am aware that it will not be possible , so I look out for travel articles to read about them, the life of the people that inhabit them, and to admire pictures of wonderful spots taken on location by lucky tourists.

I am determined to write about the nice and interesting places that I did see with my own eyes. I consider it’s worth doing so for the readers who have not have yet the opportunity to see them. But maybe, one day they will…

Today – about The Faroe Islands

In an isolated archipelago bereft of trees and exposed to the harsh elements, we find magic and bliss in its green isles and imaginative cuisine.

It is probably surprising that the mythical Middle Earth can be found in a cluster of 18 islands in the windy North Atlantic Ocean. The Faroe Islands (or the Faroes, as the locals call them) are a cluster of colossal volcanic basalt rocks formed millions of years ago. The top surfaces of these undersea mountains are swathed in heather green and turf. Within their rugged peaks and jagged cliffs lie hidden lakes, small and stoic horses with windswept manes, and a hardy people.

Traditional turf-roof houses are still aplenty in the Faroes

Geographically, the islands are between Norway and Iceland. Politically, they are an autonomous protectorate of Denmark. But locals will tell you that genealogically, they are closer to the Vikings who settled there in the 9th century, while culturally, they are uniquely Faroese with their own traditions and a language that is closer to Icelandic.

Sheep in winter coat

To a frazzled city girl, the Faroes with its natural scenic beauty hold the promise of a refuge from urbanisation and a retreat in peaceful nature. The vast space between the sky and sea and the open land gives the place a sense of magic, and me, a sense of liberation.

A Faroese girl in traditional costume at Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands

Read more

Cristina David

Confucius – Wise Sayings

Cofucius lived in China a long time ago, (551 bce – 479bce) and was China’s most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have profoundly influenced the civilizations of China and other East Asian countries. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity.

Confucius is widely considered as one of the most important and influential individuals in human history. His teaching and philosophy greatly impacted people around the world and remain influential today.

His teachings , if understood, and learned, could change the way we see life and therefore they are worth reading and remembering.

Here are just a few quotes containing some of Confucius’ great philosophical ideas about life.

Photo – internet

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Photo – the internet

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Photo – the interne


To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

Photo – the Internet

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is knowledge.

Photo – the Internet

To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage, or of principle.

Photo – the Internet

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.

Photo- the Internet

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

One quote that I particularly like:

Graphic Design – my personal archives

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.

the source: https://www.brainyquote.com/

Cristina David




5 Reasons Why A Writer Needs Readers

Writing about...Writing

Yeah, yeah, I know the title implies writers need readers and I believe it is true, even though writing is mostly a solo career. But why do writers need readers? Why writers cannot live solely in their own small bubble?

Vezi articolul original 416 cuvinte mai mult

The song viewed by over 7 billion people

The catchy tune about a family of sharks – „Baby Shark” – has become so lucrative that the Korean family behind it is now sitting on a rapidly growing multimillion-dollar fortune.

Kim Min-seok co-founded closely held SmartStudy Co. in 2010, and five years later its children’s educational brand, Pinkfong, released “Baby Shark.” His father runs Samsung Publishing Co., which also owns part of the startup. The family fortune, based on stakes held by Kim’s immediate relatives in those two companies, is now about $125 million — much of it thanks to the song.

SmartStudy declined to comment on the family’s wealth.

Kim, 38, hardly set out to write a hit global song. After working at gaming companies including Nexon and developing content for kids at Samsung Publishing, he co-founded SmartStudy to focus on the growing market for educational content for smartphones.

The app-to-video maker’s early days were tough, but eventually grew faster as the Baby Shark video became a sensation, Chief Financial Officer Seungkyu Lee said in a January interview. Last year, the startup’s revenue jumped about 47% to 40 billion won ($34.3 million). The song has amassed more than 3.8 billion views on YouTube and this year reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There’s also a concert experience for children, Baby Shark Live!

Amazing, isn’t it? Unexpected things, not regarded as likely to happen, do happen, after all.

the source : time.com

Cristina David