The last full day.
Another hot day in Boston. Another enjoyable day in Boston.
This is what happened…
Lazy morning, as planned. A good night’s sleep thanks to the quality of the room seeming to muffle the sounds from outside and around. Somehow though, it was still a struggle to get up and get going this morning. Before actually hitting the streets, I went and explored the ‘sun deck’ at the harbour end of the building, with some pretty impressive views, it has to be said – and it was certainly catching the sun.
Once outdoors proper, I walked up through the pretty much deserted business district between Government Center and South Station. Goes without saying, this area will be a hive of activity tomorrow, but on Sunday it was all peace and – relative – quiet. This route took me through Downtown Crossing and out onto The Common. There was a time I coveted an apartment in a particular block which overlooks Boston Common. I reflected today that — had circumstances been different — and I’d somehow been able to buy one of those apartments (not that it was ever a likelihood, of course), looking at the area now, Im not sure I’d actually want to live in this part of town.
Onto Charles Street, and a distant view of The Milner, a hotel which has served us proud in the past and still, apparently, going strong. There I paused a while and availed myself of T-Mobile’s 4G network to FaceTime with Kay, which set the day up nicely. Further onwards and onto Boylston Street. Passing the distinctive Five Hundred Boylston, an office block which was host to the fictional law firm in the tv show Boston Legal, I sent Audra a photo, as she was a big fan of that show, and used to get me to bring back box sets of it on USA visits gone by.
Of course Boyston Street has gained considerably poignancy since the Patriot Day bombing. There is no outward sign at either site, no memorials or other evidence of the horror. However, the tour buses stop at each site and the drivers point them out to their customers.The other, very deliberate sign of those terrible events, are the ubiquitous “Boston Strong” banners, posters, T shirts and graffiti. In the emotionally charged pre-game ceremonies David “Big Papi” Ortiz made a short but very well received statement to the effect of “This is OUR F-ing Town”. A sentiment which is repeated on at least one banner I saw reading “What Big Papi said”. Nick has tasked me with finding a T shirt with the slogan, but so far I’m coming up empty handed on that one.
I paused for coffee and cake at SBs in this area, enjoying half an hour sitting on the sidewalk watching the activity all around. A panhandler was sitting on a box directly outside SBs, a prime pitch not doubt. I could’t help reflect on how young, nourished, well groomed, well dressed (clean, new looking Nike trainers) and evidently well worked-out he was. If he reflected the “homeless” of Boston (I know he doesn’t) then all would be right with the world. I saw him again later, having relocated to another prime pitch outside a convenience store.
Next stop, inevitably, was the Apple Store, then across to Newbury Street, before retracing my steps a little to the Prudential Centre. All that was punctuated with welcome diversions into air-conditioned shops, though at this stage, the air con was the lure not the shopping. At the Prudential Centre, I took lunch in the food court, a piece of grilled chicken, and browsed Barnes & Noble.
The afternoon’s mission was to get some of the shopping requests fulfilled, so I walked back to the Boylston Green Line station and made my way to Lechmere for a a return to Cambridgeside Galleria Mall. Yesterday’s recce served me well and I was able to pick up the things I needed in fairly quick time. That done. I found my way down to the side of the Charles River, snapping away merrily, alternately walking and resting awhile along the riverside before crossing back into Boston over the Longfellow Bridge. Not a bad way to pass an hour on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I can tell you.
Back through Beacon Hill, noticing that this beautifully preserved area of the city is well named, the hill is pretty steep when you’ve already walked about five miles. Then over the Common again and back toward the room for a much needed shower. Yes, it was another Two Shower Day!
After putting my feet up for a while, and sorting some out some domestic matters on line (taxing my car ready for my return as its currently SORNed), I headed back out. It was spitting with rain as I walked around the Rose Fitzgerald Greenway (i.e. the linear park which used to be I-90 before the infamous Big Dig). The further I went, toward the new Boston Garden (it’s officially called something else, but it’s a sponsors name so it doesn’t count) the quieter and more deserted the streets got. There’s a concentration of bars here though, which evidently struggle on with little passing trade when no games are on at The Garden. The destination I was aiming for was Boston Beer Works on Canal Street. Again, not its busiest night ever.
Truth be told, it was a disappointment all round. I ordered steak (a last night tradition) but they were “out”. The burger I had as a substitute, to be fair, was huge and not at all bad. The beer though, was generally fairly bland and none of them leapt out at me. (Curley’s Irish Stout 4%, Victory Red 5%, Back Bay IPA 6.5% and Bullfinch British Ale.) Again in the name of fairness, I have to acknowledge they do some unique beers here. Boston Beer Works is home of the creation which has blueberries floating in it, but none of these ‘left field’ brews appeal to me. Oh, and by recent standards, they were bloody expensive; $5.50 – $5.75 for 16oz servings. The service was pretty poor too; slow and verging on surly. I didn’t leave a tip on principle.
I walked back a slightly different route, through an area with a plethora of bars which inhabit the area “just past” Quincy Market. Though mainly aimed at tourists, the one I picked to check out – the appropriately named Green Dragon, and actually not entirely dissimilar to its namesake in Willington – was busy with colonial re-enactment characters having their ‘knock offs’, still in costume! I enjoyed a proper sized pint of Waschusett Green Monsta IPA at a not-too-unreasonable price.
Back through, a by now fairly quiet, Quincy Market and here I am.
Big job of packing tomorrow. Good news is the baggage allowance for this flight is 32kg (70lbs) per bag!