April 13, 2009

A Step Back in Time

Today was the official kick off to my spring break. We got up early and headed in the car with the in-laws to Berlin. Berlin is a quaint little town surrounded by country and known for the residents who are Amish. It was interesting to see horse drawn buggies and farms for miles surrounded by cute houses and no electricity. It is hard to imagine living with no electricity in year 2009 and not having the use of the Internet or even the tv. I guess if you've never had these things and it's against your religion you don't know what you are missing out on. I can't even remember how many buggies we passed and it seemed that each house had the wash out on the line to dry. Monday's must be laundry day.
I had imagined that the town would have dirt roads and little shops lit by candles. I however, was wrong. The shoppes had the modern amenities and unique items to purchase. I was surprised and impressed with the town and how busy it was on a Monday. I was told that electricity is only used in the stores so they can run the register and the ever so useful credit card machines. Everything looked like any other cute little town except all the horse and buggies and most of the people were dressed in their Amish attire. I bet I looked like a little kid gawking at an animal exhibit the way I was looking at the Amish and their way of living. I find it very interesting.
After strolling through the town and shopping through the quaint shoppes, we headed over to Heinis Cheese Factory and store. The outside is decorated in a Dutch theme and the signs are all written in Dutch as well. It reminded me of Frankenmuth Michigan and the Germain buildings and restaurants. When we got into Heinis I was surprised at how big it was and that it was actually a cheese factory that you could watch how they make cheese. It looked just like I remembered how cheese was made on a Reading Rainbow episode I saw one time. While inside Heines we walked in a line among the cheese cases and sampled numerous cheeses. Some were your usual cheddar and swiss, but there were odd flavors like chocolate and pizza too. It did a number on the taste buds. It was an interesting experience tasting the what seemed like hundreds of cheeses and watching how it's made.
This is a picture of the huge vats and machines that make the cheeses.

We summed up the day with a couple of stops at Amish furniture stores and an early dinner at Dur Dutchman restaurant. The trip was a nice change of scenery and really made me appreciate how useful electricity and cars are!

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