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22 June 2011

Ends With a Whimper - A Slow Second Day in Boston

Day 28: Friday, 17 June 2011
The weather was gloomy and overcast, so it was a good day to be lazy. We stayed in for the morning, transferring photos and organizing our files from this road trip, and then grabbed lunch at Eagle's Deli, a nearby casual diner place that is famous for its "challenge" burger. We then walked around the reservoir, along the way Jonathan showed us where he lived, sort of. Ueli collected a bunch of bird feathers and now has succumbed to the bird flu. Luckily, I'm leaving him behind (ok, just kidding!). We then walked onto BC's campus, seeing the stadium, in which Ueli wanted to climb to the top to take in the view, then around to the library, and back along Comm Ave to Jonathan's apartment. It's about a 25 minute walk, so not too close.

We rested for a bit, then we went out for dinner. The original plan was to go to the Barking Crab, a seafood place right on the water, but when I looked up the menu and saw the prices, I balked and immediately wanted to eat somewhere else. I found a pizza place in the North End called Ernesto's, where we ended up going. It's a small pizza place, with only a few tables to sit at, but it wasn't very crowded when we got there. Jonathan and I split a (very large) slice of sausage pizza and a spinach/ricotta calzone. The pizza was thin and full of cheese, not bready at all - this was EXACTLY the kind of pizza I describe as perfect. It was easily the best pizza I have ever had. The calzone was very filling as well.

We returned to the apartment, and Ueli and I continued to transfer photos, music, and organize other things. We also did our laundry. It was good to have a quiet day, to get myself collected and ready to fly away in the morning.

Exploring Cambridge and Boston

Day 27: Thursday, 16 June 2011
Ueli and I slept in a little bit before heading out to explore the city. Jonathan had schoolwork to prepare so he stayed at the apartment. We took the T into the city - we got pretty lucky because the train seemed to wait at the stop for 5 minutes until we boarded. In the city, we decided to keep on going with the train all the way to Cambridge, so that we would get the most of our 1-way ticket. So after navigating the somewhat confusing corridors of the Park St station, we got on the red line, which is more of a subway yet still goes above ground over the Charles River, and soon were in Cambridge. At the station, Harvard Square, there were people soliciting tours and others giving out samples of energy bars. I took a free map from one of the tour people, and we walked into Harvard Yard.

We explored Harvard for a bit, and I was very hungry as we entered the Science Building, so I instantly beelined for the cafeteria and got myself a calzone (which was packed with meat). After eating, we continued walking around and eventually wound our way back to the Harvard COOP, where we browsed books for a while and Ueli ended up buying an American English phrasebook. There was a girl performing on her acoustic guitar outside in the alleyway. We walked all the way along Massachusetts Avenue to MIT, where we rested for a few minutes with some cold drinks from Dunkin' Donuts. It was a warm and sunny day, as pleasant a day as you could wish for. We walked through MIT for a bit, then headed to the Charles River, which we crossed back into Boston. We walked up Beacon Hill then emerged near the Massachusetts State House and Boston Common. There I found the Freedom Trail, a well-marked path that links the major historical sites of interest in central Boston. With tourists and 18th-century dressed tour guides all around, I decided to follow the Freedom Trail and see the major sights.

New York to Boston

Day 26: Wednesday, 15 June 2011
I set my alarm for 8:18am, and we were up and ready by 10:30. Tita M was waiting for a delivery - their new ping pong table was getting installed. She was gracious enough to offer to drive us into Manhattan to catch our bus, which I at first refused, but she persisted and it really was hard to refuse her offer. Ueli and I alternated showering and eating some fried egg and spam for breakfast, then I tried really hard to pack all my stuff into my two bag. It was a challenge, especially because of my sleeping bag! I really need either a smaller sleeping bag or a larger travel backpack - maybe I'll buy one in Boston. But at least all my stuff fits into the bags, for now. I just can't buy any more clothes (and I realized that I have only 1 pair of jeans for this whole summer! Yipes!).

So we said bye to Darren, Nate, and Brian, and then Tita M drove us to Manhattan, dropping us off at the Washington Bridge station, where we got the subway. Ueli's ticket didn't work so he had to ask the attendant to let him in. The subway was quick and easy (though we did have to wait like 4 minutes for it to arrive), taking us straight to Penn Station. Ueli was worried that we couldn't exit the subway with our big bags, but I made it work. We walked over to the MegaBus stop, and I gave some confused tourists directions. There was a small line of about 15 people already waiting for our bus to Boston, so I queued up behind them. The bus was scheduled to leave at 12:10 but didn't until around 12:35. Ueli and I sat in separate rows by ourselves, giving me enough space to splay out my towel and snacks, and the free wifi allowed me to browse on my laptop for the entire ride. The double-decker bus was smooth and quiet; it passed under several underpasses which seemed dangerously close to swiping off the top of the bus. I was in the third row of the top level. In front of me sat a hyper hipster with a pink pigtail and thick glasses. Across from me sat two older ladies who must be colleagues at some music institution because they just chatted about for most of the ride. Behind me sat Ueli, and behind him was a woman who chatted away really loudly on her phone. She spoke with a measured and professional voice, making sure to fully enunciate each word as she proclaimed her self-importance to the rest of the bus: "Thank you so much for sending that package, I really appreciate it."

I used the wifi on the bus to track our route - the bus went north, instead of taking the 95, taking the 287 to the 84 and going through Hartford, Connecticut. We bypassed Rhode Island altogether. There was some traffic as we headed into Boston, near Worcester. The air conditioning was colder than I liked, so I wrapped my torso and arms up in my towel. It was around 5:30 when we arrived in Boston - I feel like the bus could have taken a better route, because I don't think that New York to Boston is usually a nearly 5-hour drive.