kungfupolarbear and I spent the last two weeks in Boston, for her 30th birthday!
The flight there was horrific though… from Sydney to San Francisco there was a toddler who spent almost the whole flight screaming (and then proceeded to scream the whole way through customs too), so we got basically no sleep. United had kept bumping our connecting flight up, so we ended up with a two-hour layover, customs took bloody forever to get me through and then the TSA were a bunch of cunts and decided to take forever as well. We were literally running to the gate at the end and made it with about five minutes to spare. kungfupolarbear‘s friend Jen picked us up from the airport and we started our trip at midnight with a cheese steak from a greasy diner nearby (we stayed with Jen for the first two nights and for the last one) which may have been the greatest food ever. In fact, it’s making me hungry just typing this. 😛
The very first day we went shopping and bought a heap of stuff for extremely cheap (compared to what we could get them for in Australia). The next day Jen dropped us off at the place we were staying, which unfortunately turned out to be shit. We’d rented a room through AirBnB, and the woman who was living there was a weirdo. It had good reviews, but I have no idea how or why. The bed was broken in such a manner that unless both of us were lying in it, both sides were sitting at an angle and you’d almost roll out of it. Also kungfupolarbear had a weird reaction to the food or all the high fructose corn syrup in everything or something on the second day, and spent the night throwing up. 🙁 Fortunately there was a 24 hour pharmacy five minutes up the road, so I made a couple of trips there and she was pretty well recovered by the next night.
Despite the shitness of the place we stayed in, it was in a really good location. It was about half-way between Davis Square and Porter Square, both of which have a bunch of coffee shops and restaurants and such. They’re also on the train line, and it was all of about five stops from Porter to get into the actual city of Boston. I wish there was somewhere affordable in Sydney that was similar to that area. Newtown area is probably closest, but without the “affordable” part (also without the cleanliness, heh). There’s a coffee shop in Davis Square called Diesel Cafe, and we’d often go there at night just to sit around and be out of the house.
The weather was brilliant, it was humid as hell the first night we arrived, but after that it was a great temperature and not humid for the rest of the trip. We had a couple of occasions where there was about five minutes of light rain before it blew over, and that was it. We timed the visit really well, as everyone was saying that the weather had been utter crap for weeks beforehand, and the university students were only just starting to move in while we were there (the 1st of September is the big move-in date), so all the coffee shops and such generally had plenty of space available. It’s funny how compact Boston is compared to Sydney. We’d put together a list of things we wanted to see over the two weeks, and got it all done within the first week!
Second day we wandered around Harvard Square and the surrounds, and then the day after we went into some of the older parts of the city. The full photoset is here, there are some of my favourites.
On the first Friday we went into the North End, which is basically the Italian part of the city. It’s absolutely filled with Italian restaurants, and all the streets are narrow and windy. We picked a restaurant almost at random, and HOLY SHIT the food was mind-blowingly awesome! Got some good photos too.
For kungfupolarbear‘s birthday we had brunch with one group of friends, then dinner at Red Bones with another group followed by bowling. It was a pretty awesome day all up!
On Sunday we went to Rockport. We’ve been there each of the three times I visited Boston, and I love it! We had amazingly delicious crabcakes and stuffed clams from a shop that actually does the fishing of them out of the water too, and got a bunch of photos. It’s just such a photogenic place!
We also revisited the Boston Public Library on the last Tuesday we were there, and got some vastly-improved pictures compared to last time. After we were done with the library we walked down to the Charles River Esplanade and just sat in a shady spot enjoying the weather. A++, would relax there again.
Wednesday we went to the MIT Museum, and man, it was so cool. There was an exhibit of Arthur Ganson’s “kinetic sculptures” that did all sorts of interesting things. They made for some good photos too! After that we wandered back up to Harvard via Massachusetts Ave before meeting up with tattooankh for dinner.
Thursday was two of the Boston Harbour Islands, Georges Island and Spectacle Island. kungfupolarbear hadn’t ever been to them even while she was living in Boston, so it was new to both of us! Georges Island was definitely the more interesting of the two. There was a big military fort, Fort Warren, that had been built there in the mid-1800s for the defence of Boston Harbour, subsequently used as a prison during the Civil War, and finally sold by the military after World War II. You can walk through almost all of it, and there were a number of tunnels through it that were totally pitch black where I had to use the light on my phone to see where we were going.
Spectacle Island was less interesting, though there were some good views. It was basically a big park on an island. After that we had a wander through Downtown Crossing again, then met up with friends for drinks and pool.
And then finally on Friday we wandered some more through Downtown Crossing and hit up Quincy Market!
We stayed back at Jen’s on Friday night so she could drop us off at the airport on Saturday. We had breakfast on Saturday at the same diner that we started with the night we arrived. Bookended by diner!
All in all it was a really great trip despite the initial sickness and the awfulness of the place we stayed. I love Boston, and we’re going to try to go back again sooner than three and a half years! We’re also going to try to go in October so we can get some autumn weather in, and also so we don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay that has air conditioning.