In July I could spend 2 weeks at Pennsylvania and Washington DC to visit couchsurfing friends and meeting people speaking my „pälzisch“ dialect.
Like most of the the poor and/or persecuted Palatinates I arrived at Philadelphia and found new hosts, a senior couple where I felt welcomed very warm. Sam showed me a remarkable museum of arts which is not well known but breathtaking: The Barnes Foundation. A few rooms full of van Gogh, Picasso, Cézanne, Gaugin… Never saw so many well known paintings in such a dense situation.
On the second day my hosts brought me to the market where I met the first Amish and really could communicate in my dialect what gave me expectations for further meetings.
I was hosted by my couchsurfing friends family at a typical huge country house. They made me feel a family member. Thank you!
Then my first bus ride in the USA. Who loves European and Asian public transport systems will be disappointed in the States. The car has absolute priority and ths public transportation net is very poor. But I arrived.
Pennsylvania was founded by a Quaker William Penn as a place with tolerance and religious freedom. That attracted many groups who were persecuted in Europe or tried new forms of social life. So you will find the usual denominations, but also Moravian church (Herrenhuter, Zinzendorf…), many Mennonites and Amish.
I could meet some partners for interesting talks in and about dialect. Even the Pälzisch changed in Germany we could understand each other. I heard a lot of words my grandma still used, but are forgotten here. So a girl said she is living „juschd de hiwwel nuff“, just up the hill…
I was shocked by the ugly tourist industry exploiting Amish stereotypes and making money. Amish people do not participate and even the shown Amish are often disguised employees.
The religious immigrants founded cities like Bethlehem or Nazareth, here some impressions:
Washington and Georgetown
For a weekend I rent a car for the ride down to Washington DC where a CS friend invited me to her apartment in a huge modern apartment house with roof garden with swimming pool. Thanks! She made me meet her friends and showed me the monuments at night.
A good friend showed me her Georgetown where she had studied at high school and Georgetown university. That made her guidance to the famous place very authentic and plastic.
Thanks to all my friends who made this tour possible for me!