Thursday, September 04, 2008
Boston was FANTASTIC. We really loved our trip, although it was very tiring.
We left Montreal Saturday morning, meeting Maridi and Fred in the coach - they'd left from Québec city earlier. The ride was pretty boring; we got to Boston at the end of the afternoon. We stopped at the Prudential Center and had some free time to do whatever we felt like doing. Maridi, Fred, Raiontzukai and I started by taking a walk to Boston Common and the Public Gardens, two parks located next to each other, and then we stopped at the grocery store to buy cheese, bread and wine, which we consumed in our room, at the hotel. It was very cool! Maridi and Fred had brought their picnic kit so we didn't have to drink the wine straight from the bottle or from our personal 750 ml water bottles!
We spent the following day in Boston. We started by a city tour led by a local guide - who was extremely interesting. However, as he only spoke English and the Québec tour company wanted to ensure a French service for their customers, our guide translated everything he said. It couldn't be anything but painful for us professional translators - and then she started making mistakes while translating, saying "left" when the local guide had said "right"... Very, very painful. Anyway, we saw Harvard, John Kerry's residence, we walked in Back Bay, and all the main attractions of Boston.
Then we were let loose in the city from noon to 6:30. We started by having seafood for lunch, on a terrace, and then Maridi had the awesome idea that each of us pick one activity they wanted to do so everyone would be pleased with their afternoon. Raiontzukai wanted to ride the T - ie, the subway - so we took it to get to the Prudential Tower, which was Maridi's pick. Oh my GOD, what a scary subway! When you're used to the Montreal metro, the London tube or the NYC subway, you think all subways ride fast and without a sound. It isn't so. The T in Boston rides quite slowly, it shakes and it SCREECHES!!! Really, what the hell? Let's say I'm glad I don't have to take it every morning to get to work!
Then we went up the Prudential Tower, which is 52 stories high, if I remember well. The view from there was extraordinary! This is probably where I took the most part of my pictures.
As we walked out of the Prudential Center, we passed a restaurant we'd noticed the previous day - who wouldn't? It's called the Cheesecake Factory. Yes. Indeed. So we had to stop, although we weren't hungry, and share two slices of cheesecake. It was unbelievable - no cheesecake will ever be as satisfactory to me for sure.
After that, we walked to the Public Gardens, yet again, for my activity: a ride on the famous Swan Boats. Because deep down, I'm a kid. We waited in line for about half an hour to get on, and I was so glad we did! Being on the water is so relaxing.
Finally, we walked to the Esplanade for Fred. It's a very nice place, which strongly reminded me of the river there was behind the hostel Tweety and I stayed in in Edinburgh - but of course you would have no idea as I still haven't talked about that. I know, I'm a terrible person. Anyway, it's a place where people go to relax, kind of like a park, and you can see all these sailboats when the weather is nice - and it was. Very beautiful.
Then we joined the group to take a cruise on the Charles River and see the sunset. That was disappointing. Somehow the cruise company thought 550 people could fit on their boat... so everyone was walking on everyone's feet and a lot of people, including us, had no place to sit, which was sort of a hassle when you've just spent the whole afternoon walking. Our feet hurt like hell. The cruise lasted an hour and a half and everyone wanted to get off. It was nice though to see Boston at night, with all the lights from the buildings. The boat was just too crowded.
That was the end of our day.
On Monday, we were taken to Salem in the morning. Salem is not even an hour away from Boston, and it's worth a stop, although I wouldn't spend a whole day there. It's a cute little town, but other than the many museums about the famous witches, there isn't much to do. The Witches Museum, which Raiontzukai and I visited, was GREAT. It's more a presentation than a museum : everyone sits in a dark room while a narrator tells the story of the witches of Salem. As the story unfolds, scenes on the wall are illuminated to illustrate what is being told. It was extremely interesting, and I was shocked to hear that the witches frenzy only lasted 9 months in Salem... and that's all everyone knows about this city!
Anyways, so after lunch we all got back on the bus and we arrived back in Montreal around 7 o'clock.
Now I'm going back to work!