29 June 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part VII: New England

Bernie Sanders
After two weeks in big cities, it was time for us to get out and enjoy nature again. The morning before we wanted to leave Boston, Senator Bernie Sanders launched his campaign for the US presidency in his home city: Burlington, Vermont. Curious about his campaign trail, I went online and checked out his next campaign rallies. And we were lucky! There would be two events right along our route north the day we planned to move anyway.

One was a campaign rally in a rural area, at a supporters private home and the other one at a local church in Portsmouth, NH. We quickly RSVPd for both of them, packed our bags and drove north. On the way, we got hungry and stopped at a local dinner, where we ate a delicious lobster brisket. Thanks to our many friends, we knew that New England was the best part of the US for fresh lobster.


Beach in Portland, ME
The first campaign rally we attended, was on a private farm. We arrived there right on time and were welcomed by the local committee in support of Bernie Sanders. He appeared once all the local supporters had gathered, about a 150 people, gave a dedicated speech and took a little time to answer some questions and pose with some some supporters. What surprised us was the politics he calls for. In Europe, we would call this center-left, in Scandinavia he'd probably be a centrist with his ideas. But this is America. Where even the so called democratic party is firmly in the grip of big business. He promotes many things we in Europe take almost for granted: free education, universal health care, social security and some kind of control over political campaign financing. In the US, this sounds like heresy.

Lobster roll and clam chowder
Thrilled, we decided to follow his campaign team to the next location, about 20 miles further. We arrived right on time in the crammed neighborhood church where Bernie would speak to us a second time this evening. This time, over 600 people were present and there was a lot of standing ovations for the things Bernie said. After the event, we got even recognized by one campaign aide and we had a quick chat about why we were attending two rallies in one day.

The next day, we drove along the beautiful New England coast, all the way to Portland, ME. The whole area feels a little bit like Scandinavia. It's where some of the first European settlers arrived. This was the furthest east we would go. We went to the beach, but we could do more than dip our feet in the water. The northern Atlantic was just way too cold. Just because we could, we had a delicious lobster roll for lunch and washed it down with a local craft beer.

White Mountain National Forest
We then drove back through forests and fields, over hills and rivers and finally found a beautiful camp site in the White Mountain National Forest. Another beautiful area with clear streams and lots of wildlife. Too bad my ankle was still too swollen for hiking. The next two days we slowly drove across rural New Hampshire and Vermont. We were stunned by the beautiful landscapes but also by the many abandoned or run down houses. Rural poverty is widespread in this part of the US obviously. We finally crossed into Canada only one hour south of Montreal.

More pictures from our road trip through New England

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