Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Peaches come from a can, They were put there by a man, In a factory downtown. If I had my little way I’d eat peaches everyday!

Once again we were up early and on to a train.  This time we were off to Boston from New York, but the experience was much the same as our DC to Washington leg.  The scenery was slightly different (although we slept or at least tried to sleep most of the way), the stations were different and we were lacking the sassy announcements…but it was basically the same.  The only main difference was that we had to wait right up until our train was about to leave to find out what platform to go to.  It seems to be a pattern emerging after spending way to long looking at the board at Heathrow airport that I stand, half dazed, in the early morning looking for a number to appear on a screen.

My initial thoughts of Boston were mainly about the stark contrast from New York City where we had spent the last days of our trip.  Gone were the big skyscrapers (the tallest tower has an observation level in the 50s, which is nothing) and they had been replaced by green trees and historic looking red brick buildings.  Also, the easy to navigate grid system of Manhattan was gone for the mix-match of streets in any direction with their red brick footpaths which aren’t fun to walk along with tired feet .  Definitely a remnant of the British times and blisters, sore knee and dead legs are certain.

Boston

Our hostel is a massive old YWCA. Obviously the fact the rules have changed as they are letting two guys in, but I doubt much else has changed. The decor is very dated, there are no telephones in the rooms (just an old fashioned switchboard directing you to go to the hallway phone) or private bathrooms.  It is definitely got everything one would need though and there was even an incredibly friendly person on the desk, complete with her discussions of “where are you from?” and “why are you both from different countries” as a result of our use of Cheers instead of Thanks.

Not being a pair to wait around, we set off to explore Boston pretty much straight away.  We decided to head to the start of the freedom trail, near Boston Common and the Visitors Centre and see what awaited us on this brilliantly sunny Boston day.  It turns out just as we arrived the 12:30pm guided tour was leaving.  So for just 10 USD we had a great almost 2 hour tour of the first 2/3rds of the Freedom Trail.  The guy taking the tour, although dressed as a “red coat” was a boston historian and although he apologised for being more historian than actor than the other guides we thought that he was brilliant.   Over the course of the tour not only did we get explained to us all the sites on the Freedom trail, the stories behind the bricks and mortar we were looking at, but we also got many of the myths about the American Independence busted (Paul Revere never said “The British are coming”, most of the gravestones and monuments were built/arranged along time after the people died and Sam Adams wasn’t even a brewer).  Replacing the well known myths were the hard facts of history and a well informed insight.  What he did best was to not just blanket the british as the cruel enemy or the Americans as heroes but try to give a balanced view.  The one point I took away from it all was that it is so clear that American politicians of today and recent times learnt nothing from the American Revolution and their battle against the British Empire.  The similarities between the British Empire in America and the American Empire in the Middle East can’t be ignored.  History should not be forgotten, it should be learnt from but I seriously doubt whether that has happened.  (By the way, I am aware mum how happy this history discussion will make you :P)

After that, with still many hours of sunlight remaining as I tanned up and Joey burnt (I was getting blacker and he was getting redder by the minute, although you know how much the English “enjoy” sunburn and wear it with pride),  we finished off the Freedom trail as our guide had left us at the end of the tour to have a drink with the guy dressed as Benjamin Franklin in a pub.  Now that was a weird sight!  In all the Freedom trail is 3 miles and we well and truly walked all of it, including the Bunker Hill Monument (which is a mini Washington Monument but has no elevator so we trudged our tired and sore legs up the 294 steps) and USS Constitution +  Naval Museum in Charlestown.  The Naval Museum was probably slightly more restrained by an American slant, but did give an interesting lesson in America’s role and influence on the seas for a country which has prided itself at different times to be isolated from and also leading/influencing the rest of the world.

Monument

With that we strolled around the rest of Boston, back to our hostel and rested up.  We planned what we will do tomorrow and for the rest of the time in Boston and then grabbed some dinner.  A well earned pint of Sam Adams Beer and a 1 1/4 Lb Lobster (yes that is right Lobster and it only cost me USD11.99) has left me well satisfied.  Boston is a lovely town, a bit quiet (although today was/is a sunday so my judgment may be affected by that), probably a place to retire more than live…but a great place it seems.  Especially a more relaxing, and cheaper, place than good ol’ NYC!

Lobster

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June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. I have always said that history has more relevance the older you get, that is, as you become “part of history” you have more respect for it. Lovely to hear that you are now enjoying British and American history. Wait until you get to Europe. luv mum

    Comment by Christine | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. Boston sounds awesome!! I’ve always wanted to visit! Good to know you’re having a good time. Also (yes i know i’m stupid) i read YWCA as YMCA at first and broke into song!! Whoops 😛

    Christ

    Comment by Christ | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. I went on the Freedom Trail back in ’96 when I was there with the Ivanhoe FPS team, although I don’t remember finishing with a drink! What stuck me was the way the new buildings that did exist seemed to merge effortlessly into the old, making for a much more unified urban landscape. Did you the pass the tall glass tower right next to the oldest church in Boston?

    The metro or whatever they call it was brilliant, though – cheap and quick: is it still that way? And if you liked the lobster, try a genuine clam chowder: beauiful! ( to coin a phrase!)

    Love Dad

    Comment by Niranjan | June 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Saw the tower and church that you describe, but haven’t touched the Metro. We enjoy walking around too much haha

      Comment by casaboy69 | June 9, 2009 | Reply


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