A running record of our travels.
Entry for January 1, 2007

December 30 – January 1

Lancaster CountyGettysburgWashington

West of Philadelphia, once you escape the traffic tangle that is central Pennsylvania, dairy farms finally take over from factories and suburban sprawl. We had a slightly hazy but basically sunny day to enjoy the area dominated by the Amish. Mistakenly called the Pennsylvania Dutch, the original Amish were Anabaptists escaping persecution in Germany in the late 17th century. Carriages, simple clothing and simple lifestyles are the way of the Amish. One of their major issues is with electricity, because it connects them to the “outside world”. Their homes and farms operate without electric power. Interestingly, this aversion does not extend to battery power, gas, hydraulic power and even solar-generated electricity. We visited a typical Amish house and went away thinking that we could easily survive their life style.

South of Lancaster County, we moved into the area where many Civil War battles were fought. Gettysburg, Frederick and our home for the night, Fredericksburg, are all significant battlefield sites. 600,000 Americans died in this war and many of them fell in these battlefields.

By way of a diversion from all this war and mayhem, we braved the suburbs of Washington to visit the Smithsonian Aeronautics and Space Museum. Well, it wasn’t too much of a diversion from war as it featured many US and other war planes. Of particular interest was the B29 bomber, the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. As with all the Smithsonian museums, it was free!

It’s difficult in these diaries of our travel to avoid the issue of cost. So here we go. With the Aussie dollar sitting at about 80c to the US$, we are finding travel much cheaper than our last visit when the Aussie was around 58c to the US$. On most fronts, travel in the US is much cheaper than at home. Those who have read our previous travel adventures would be familiar with the ‘beer index’. In Australia, a can of beer currently costs about $1.30 AU from a bottleshop. In the US a similar product will knock you back around $0.80 AU! Motels are not so easy to compare. Location is all in the USA. For example the standard room which is much the same as any Aussie good motel can cost as little as $55 AU per night with free breakfast (of highly variable quality). In an inner city location in a big city like NY, the same room could cost you $300 AU. The trick is to find a motel out on the Interstate, well out of the city but close to transport. Using this trick you can score a big city motel for about $75-$100 AU. Most other costs are far cheaper that at home. Car rentals are about $50 AU a day, most restaurant meals are about the same as at home. ‘Family Restaurants’ that have buffet, all you can eat, arrangements are so cheap you feel as though you have stolen your meal! Petrol (Gas) is the other standard comparison. We have been paying about 80-90c AU per Lt. Price varies significantly due to local taxes but basically it’s far cheaper than home. There that’s done and no more about money!


2007-01-02 00:05:55 GMT
Paul & Janita's Travel Blog