It’s only 20:00 as I start to type this; but it has been a really full day. If my fancy watch is to be believed, I have walked 12.82 miles today. Or 24,926 steps, and my feet feel like they can account for each one!
Before I tell you all about it, let me share this nugget of wisdom with you…
The best of the photos from today are now on Flickr.
As ever, the full story of the the day follows….
When I left you this morning I was just about to sort out my breakfast. As it happens, the hot food consisted of scrambled eggs and sausages. Not being a fan of the former I decided to introduce anyone who cared to observe to the delights of the Great British Sausage Sandwich. Yum!
Breakfast and ablutions attended to, we headed out. Across the road to the Silver Line Way “station”. The vehicles used on this service are a bendy-trolleybus-hybrid. By that I mean that inwards of this stop the articulated vehicles run on overhead-line electricity through a dedicated tunnel serving “stations”. Outwards it is a diesel powered bus which joins the rest of the traffic battling its way through the Ted Williams Tunnel to the airport. As far as we are concerned it is splendidly located and included on the ’T’ pass.
Our particular service took us to South Station where it terminated, and as we alighted we were two of only four passengers. The crowd on the opposite platform indicates that the bulk of this route’s commuters are headed out of the city into the Seaport district and the airport to work.
Boston goes to work
Up on the street we wandered through the business district in the general direction of Downtown Crossing. One major discovery we made during this walk, having passed two branches, was that the Boston icon that was City Sports is no more. I’d heard via Carl that they were in the process of filing for bankruptcy but had dared to hope they might still be trading. Sadly not. I conveyed the news back to Canberra which was received with due regret.
We ended up walking a large figure of eight, passing Park Street church just as it was chiming for 9 o’clock and ten minutes or so later we found ourselves at Government Center. This large open space was playing host to the start of something called the Gold Rush Rally. This is billed as “The #1 Luxury Lifestyle Automotive Rally”. Or, as Nick put it, a way for rich people to collect as many speeding tickets as they can between Boston and Los Angeles. Pretty much all I can tell you about the cars was that most were small, sleek, garishly painted, and loud. Similar adjectives could probably be applied to the occupants. I could go on with the stereotyping, especially in respect of many of the eager spectators but wil shut up before I descend still further into snarkiness.
Just then a fire department SUV turned up on red lights, followed very soon after by the entire inner city contingent of the Boston fire department — in full flight. I think that a Green Line train somewhere between Government Center and Park Street had had some sort of failure which produced some smoke. Not unreasonably, such an event (i.e. a report of a fire on an underground train) resulted in what can only be described as a well resourced response. The firefighters (I could accurately call them firemen as we didn’t see a single female among them and the majority seemed to be white men in their 40s or 50s) were all weighed down with a myriad of equipment, including lots of hose, several axes and a huge disc cutter. None of them seemed particularly anxious or urgent in their actions, and a short time later many of the appliances headed off toward Park Street The sirens of attending vehicles continued to echo around the Downtown area for a good fifteen minutes, giving an indication of the level of response.
After all that excitement it was time for coffee. We adjourned to Quincy Market and enjoyed the finest offering of Pike Place from the good people at Messrs. Starbucks. We were also killing a bit of time until 10:00 when the shops, specifically Newbury Comics, opened. Newbury Comics was a sobering experience on a number of levels. Firstly it reminded me how out-of-touch with modern pop-culture I am; many of the T shirts etc. were simply meaningless to me. The only one which struck any sort of recognition with me was one for “Freddie’s BBQ” (House of Cards). There was also a good selection of T shirts related to the forthcoming election but as I’ve got some from past campaigns which I’ve never had an appropriate opportunity to wear, I decided not to splash out on a Dump Trump ’16 garment. The other point was how little floor space is now given over to CDs or DVDs. In fact, there was much more “collectible” vinyl on sale than CDs. Bizarre.
We then retraced our steps, back past Government Center. The fire trucks had gone but the Gold Rush rally was in full swing with more competitors, more spectators and more — yes, I’ve got to say it because it’s true — scantily-clad women posing in front of the cars.
The next stage of the plan was to retrace our steps a little, back to Boston Common and across to Boylston Street. The sun was out by this time, as were the many & varied throngs of tourists (like us, of course!). As ever, the highlight of a walk over the Common was the wildlife, particularly but not limited to the squirrels. We crossed Charles Street into the equally busy Public Gardens and the swan boats, then on to Boylston Street. First stop, inevitably, was the Apple Store where Nick took advantage of the WiFi and I just wished my credit card was somehow associated with Monopoly money.
We went our separate ways from there for a little while, arranging to meet up at the Prudential food court as lunchtime approached. As it turned out, this idea was thwarted by the fact this part of the Prudential Center is being redeveloped (again!) and the food court has gone. Instead there are a small number of “pop-up food trucks” on the other side of the complex. None of what was on offer appealed to me, so we split up again. I spent quite a while wandering around the Back Bay Station area in search of something which would hit the spot which didn’t have long lines. In the end I settled on something which Nick had suggested at the outset of our search for lunch; a sub from the Shaw’s supermarket. I sat outside the shop on the tables provided for customers ‘brown bagging’ and was joined for the duration by a gang of marauding sparrows who were ever-hopeful of crumbs.
Cute squirrel on the Common
After lunch I wandered past the Prudential to the Christian Science Monitor plaza and took a few snaps. The Reflecting pool which is the focus of this area was dry for some reason. There is a fancy fountain which was working and this was forming the backdrop for an evidently very proud graduate in his gown, having his big day recorded for posterity by his loved ones.
We met up again as planned at 14:00 in Barnes & Noble and went down to the Green Line Prudential station and caught an ‘E’ line train over to Lechmere in order to visit the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall. This is a staple destination in any visit to Boston. Once upon a time the primary attraction was Borders and Best Buy next to one another – a dream combination. Regrettably, Borders is long gone and, frankly, Best Buy is a shadow of what it once was. It still kept me entertained for a while, checking out the gadgets, but didn’t come close to making me want to get my wallet out.
The Cambridgeside Galleria messed with my mind a little by virtue of a new establishment at the far end called World of Beer – except that it doesn’t open until next month. Oh well. We had gone our own ways once again and met up at the food court. We decided it was coffee time again and chose to sample Dunkin’ Donuts and their much vaunted (read: heavily advertised) coffee. Warm coloured water. Meh.
We had earlier discussed our options for the evening and decided that this was the perfect time to realise our aim to go to Red Bones at Davis Square. This is a BBQ joint which Nick was tipped-off to several years ago and has fond memories of. I have been there with him once before and although BBQ wouldn’t naturally be my choice, it is also a really good beer venue, so that ticks my box. We got there courtesy of Cambridgeside’s free shuttle to Kendall T station and the Red line.
The details get a tiny bit hazy from this point as the heavy use of my phone during the day meant it was flat by Kendall. I recall a Smuttynose Robust Porter (6.2%), a Mayflower IPA (6.1%) and a Mayflower Spring Hop (American Amber 5.3%). Such detailed recollection is, I have to confess, due to the battery in my other camera not being flat, allowing me to snap the beer menu! The Mayflower IPA was notable as it was apparently cask conditioned and hand drawn. I didn’t see it served, so can’t say one way or another but it looked the part served in a dimpled pint glass with a handle. Boy, was it hoppy though.
Nick started with a Bud Light but I managed to
shame him persuade him to up his game and go for Radeberger Pilsner (4.8%) instead — which he seemed to appreciate. Food-wise Nick had a BBQ hash which he enjoyed and I had a lovely smoked beef brisket. Again, not what I’d have chosen at home, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As you have probably guessed, the image at the top of the page with its helpful wisdom was taken at Red Bones.
Back via South Station for supplies and a short but quite wet walk from the Silver Line station to the hotel. We seriously doubted if the game would be being played tonight as the rain (which to be fair was forecast) had started about an hour previously and had become heavy. The game was, in fact, in progress and we joined it in the second inning once we got to the room. We were in time to see a five run romp in the second, but as I’ve been typing they gave up the lead and have just gone behind in the sixth inning. Could this be an end to their streak? Such tension.
Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion to this cliffhanger.