Woke up to a view of the Boston Harbour outside our hotel window. I could get used to that. Could also get used to the rainfall shower that drops water from the ceiling. This was our most expensive hotel room of the trip – normally around $500 a night we were splashing out on a deal I got which made it around $240. The main difference between a room like this and the cheaper ones are that the tv is a huge 42″ lcd, you get a separate bath, shower and toilet, there is a speaker in the bathroom for the tv and the bath products are probably worth $15 for each bottle. Standard of mini bar products are high. Unfortunately we only got to stay here one night (which was good for our back pockets) so we checked out at 9.30am after booking a water taxi to get us to Logan Airport which we could see on the other side of the bay.
Started walking towards the Aquarium with no hard plan for the day in place. We were accosted by a woman named Marie who offered us advice about where to go in Boston since she must have noticed us looking at the map on a post. She recommended we see the boat called Old Constitution and Paul Reveres house. Our intention was to walk to South Station and take the redline train to Harvard, but instead decided to take a grey line hop on hop off trolley to Cambridge then ride the redline from there to Harvard. The Bald bus driver/tour guide of the trolley was good for only his fifth week on the job, quite funny. This was a much better hop on hop off tour than Washington, i think because people didnt buy tickets on board and we didn’t stop everywhere and wait for ages. It also helps to have a live person doing the tour instead of a recording. A hop on hop off tour is really good when you want to see a lot of a city and only have a day or two to do it in. You’d be fooling yourself if you think it gives you a real idea of what a city is like, but it does give you a teaser.
The first part of the tour took us through the North End, over to Old Constitution (which we decided to see later), through the main part of town, past Boston Common and across the bridge to Cambridge. Boston is proud of it’s tea party heritage and we saw a big golden tea pot with steam coming out of it in town (which happened to be above a Starbucks Coffee shop of course). Boston common was very pretty with it’s fountains and statues. At Cambridge got off the bus and caught the subway from Kendall to Harvard. Cost was $2 one way. I was struck by how modern the subway was and it was by far the cleanest and nicest subway we’d been on on the East Coast. Although Washington was probably the most impressive for it’s arches, Boston had the cleanest which I think is more important.
Teapot over coffee shop:
In Harvard we went to the Hollyoake building to buy a map of Harvard Yard, some souvenirs and lunch. The sandwiches at Oggi were yum, especially the black forest ham. Auntie Sue especially liked her burger.
We walked around the lawn and saw a statue of Harvard who were told later isn’t actually what Harvard looked like and is actually based on a student. We saw lots of people on walking tours and also some personal tours that looked like potential students and parents. There was a protest in front of the science building but I never quite figured out what it was for – something to do with the environment. We stopped in the coop (they call it coop like you would a chicken coop, not like how we say co-op – as in co-operation). Huge store filled with merchandise including Ralph Lauren branded harvard gear – got to keep the preppies happy. I bought a Boston red sox cap there while Pauline bought some stubby coolers – we are so not posh.
Statue of Harvard:
Memorial Church Harvard:
Ivy at the Ivy League School:
On the train again and we went back to Cambridge/Kendall to wait for the trolley. The MIT coop was across the road from the trolley stop so Pauline raced inside and bought an MIT jacket. The quickest I’ve ever see her buy something and it is a lovely jacket that should keep the light rain off.
We had the same bald driver when we got back on the bus which was good. He showed us the MIT robotic labs which is Frank Gehry building with weird shapes at all angles, but it is not weatherproof. It has been known to drip water on the robots and ruin someones work.
Over the Massachusetts Ave Bridge (which was really slow going) the rains opened and we frantically had to pull down all the plastic windows on the trolley so the rain wouldn’t come in. We managed to get photos of the Fenway Park Baseball Field in the distance and the Christian Science Center which is unique for the design of it’s buildings. There are two buildings that look exactly the same – the only difference is one is vertical and the other is horizontal.
Fenway park is the green building in the distance:
Someone just graduated and was happy to pose for the tourists:
The Christian Church Center looks the same vertically as horizontally:
When we got to Boston’s Public Library which is the oldest public library in the United States I left the others to go shopping while they continued back to the Old Constitution boat. I was on a mission to find the Johnny Cupcakes store. Before I walked to Newbury street to find Johnny I stopped to take some external photos of Trinity Church which is revered for it’s stain glass windows. Across the street from the church is the library where I went inside to take pictures. It is a breathtaking building and exactly how you would imagine an old library to look like. A homeless looking guy queried me on what I was taking pictures on – think he might have thought I was taking photos of him. I exclaimed “the building – it’s so beautiful” and he seemed satisfied with that. I was glad I didn’t wake up his silver pointed hat conspiracy theories where I was the FBI spying on him or something.
Trinity Church and some Americans:
Boston Public Library:
Newbury Street appears to be a street that was once houses but has turned into boutique shops on the ground and basement floors. It’s a really pleasant walk without too many people on the street (probably cause of the weather). Johnny Cupcakes is a t-shirt store that displays their products in fridges and ice cream cabinets. The t-shirts are packed in a little cupcake type cardboard box with Saved By the Bell baseball cards and little chocolate mints. I picked up some gifts for a few people and walked back through the Prudential centre to Copeley Square to get on another trolley.
Rode the trolley back through chinatown and South Station to the Aquarium. Saw the famous South Street Diner which is open 24 hours. Was going to take a free harbour cruise that was included in the tour but when I saw virtually an entire school lining up for the boat I decided to skip it and walk through Quincy Market and Hanover St again back to the hotel. In a comic store at the Quincy Market a shop assistant commented that the guy who owns Johnny Cupcakes used to work in the comics store. He got his start selling t-shirts from the back of his car. For a graphic designer t-shirt artist working in a comic store wouldn’t be a bad source for inspiration. I walked back to the hotel via Hanover Street (the italian street in North End) where I saw a statue of Paul Revere and All Saints way. Waited for the others in the hotel lobby and managed to see their ferry go past on their way back.
South Street Diner:
Statue of Paul Revere:
All Saints Way which I think is someones house?:
The ferry the others were on when they returned from Old Constitution:
We waited for the water taxi at 6.15pm but it was late so I got the hotel to check on it. It ended up coming at 6.40pm which was a little bit stressful since we had a plane to catch. At least was a fun and unique way to get to the airport. A free airport bus picks you up from the ferry dock on the other side and took us through three of the five terminals and we ended up in Terminal C. The usual checkins occured and then we got burritos or burger king for dinner and headed through the security gates. Pauline and I held up the line when we tried to use our qld drivers licenses and in the end I just pulled out my passport to get through. At the xray they went through Auntie Sue’s stuff because she had a bottle of water. When they gave her bag back she thought she had lost the buckle on the bag and made them go through all the bin boxes and the xray machine. In the end it turned up still attached to the bag – she just hadn’t seen it! She then told the staff that she had “found it”. We all had a good chuckle at the accidental trouble she caused. The staff were really helpful though in trying to assist her.
The Water Taxi:
Inside the taxi:
A quick loading on to the Jetblue plane then a long sit at the terminal in the plane. They alerted us to an issue in the cockpit which turned out to be a radio board problem so they ripped out the whole board and replaced it. An hour after we were due to leave we finally started taxiing down the runway. The flight was long and annoying like most flights are. I managed to catch a few hours sleep and even though it was cool that they had cable tv as entertainment, it meant that you are subject to whatever is on at the time and all the ads are included. The thing that struck me most about Jetblue was the amount of advertising. They advertised before and after the safety video, they advertised in the menu and entertainment guide and even on the napkins for your drink. It was kind of tiring after a while. But I did like the unlimited food and snacks even though I didn’t really take advantage of it. I’ve decided that I like the Virgin America airline better than the jetblue one and that is not including the delay.
Arriving in Seattle late at night we had to find a way to get from the airport to the hotel. The normal bus that only costs $11 per person stops at 11pm and it was at least 1am by the time we arrived. We found the Shuttle Express which ended up costing $100 plus tips for the 5 of us which wasn’t ideal but it was our only choice. The ride to the hotel however was speedy due to the lack of the traffic and we got an interesting view of the Boeing factory as we drove past. Checked in and ready to collapse in to bed Mum discovered that the toilet wouldn’t flush. A phone call and wait around for the maintenance guy to come fix. At first he came with a plunger until we pointed out that it was the chain that was broken. Another wait and it was fixed. We finally got to go to sleep at 2.30am. Our arrival to the West Coast wasn’t the most welcoming with a broken toilet and with all the issues on the plane it almost seemed like the East Coast didn’t want us to leave. I certainly could have stayed longer there, but unfortunately time dictated our path. We’d reached the halfway point of our trip.
For more photos, check out the Flickr Set.
Tweets of the day:
Just got an unexpected refund from hotwire from our stay in Lancaster. I like hotwire even more now! It’s not cash though, its hotwire $
Watching @Kelsbells tweets get more and more hyped as she neared her holidays. Welcome to our world!
@Kelsbells it was sold as 2.5 star but was reevaluated as a 2.
@Kelsbells we were thinking la.
@VisitCapeCod we loved cape cod very much but it’s a long way from Australia for us to come again. 🙂
Hanging out in harvard or as they say in Boston hahvad
Is it a requirement of harvard to admit beautiful people? There seems to be a lot around.
Overheard on the harvard lawn… And he rang and said “yo! Wanna fuck?”
@matthew_hall I never got to hear the answer!
Boston has the oldest public library in the USA and it is beautiful. http://twitpic.com/4ckcy
Made it to johnny cupcakes as promised and it was a fun place to look at tshirts. http://twitpic.com/4cne4
I like Boston a lot even if I only really spent a day here. Newest and cleanest metro thus far and the people are friendly to a fault.
My best iPhone travel apps so far are yelp, travtracker and twitterfon.
Even the public toilets in this hotel are lux. http://twitpic.com/4cya7
I have to say though the traffic rules in Boston are weird. If you even remotely look like u want to cross the road a car will stop for u.
Watching seagulls harvest oysters from dock water and then break them by dropping from a height on to the dock.
Catching water taxi to airport. Yes, water taxi. http://twitpic.com/4d4mw
@j3thr0 seattle to visit bill gates
@Kelsbells wizard has the 0% but they don’t do it anymore since Aussie bought them.
If there ever was a Dunkin donuts town it would be Boston. They are like starbucks here. We’ve all sucumbed at least once.
Flight running a bit late due to some radio panel problem. Hope it doesn’t take long to fix it cause 6 hours in a plane is long enough.
The good news is that jetblue has cable tv on board! And email is being beta tested on this flight.
Plane just landed at Seattle airport. It’s 12.30am and hopefully we will find a way to get to the city.
@j3thr0 I found them. 🙂 $100 for the 5 of us hurts though. If we had got in before 11pm it would have been $11 each.
Hello, hello,hello, how low. We have said goodbye to the east coast and are now in Seattle. Now we start the slow trek down to LA.
View from our hotel room. Not sure how long we will be in it for though as the toilet is broken. It’s only the chain though so not too bad.