Well, me and R finally decided to go to Boston for a long weekend to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. The in-laws offered to look after Abby and Oscar for the weekend so we were all set. We took the afternoon flight to Boston via Heathrow, during the main flight there was a choice of films to watch, and because we don't usually get the chance to watch any films during the flight (because we're usually trying to keep the kids entertained) we both crammed as much as we could into the flight!) I watched Moon, The Last King Of Scotland and Che part 2. Of the 3 I'd recommend Moon if you like intelligent sci-fi, and The Last King of Scotland if you like to be terrified...Che part 2 was a bit boring for me; well acted but devoid of tension because I knew the ending. I was also left not really knowing who Che Guevara really was...
We arrived in Boston late on the Friday and caught a cab straight to the hotel where some champagne was waiting for us in the room, we then stumbled around looking for a restaurant (I wanted to try an Afghan restaurant around the corner but R fancied an Italian so we eventually found one inside another hotel after going round in circles for what seemed like a long time ;-)) and then we were truly knackered so we went straight to bed.
In the morning the view from the hotel looked a bit too much like Manchester; cloudy, grey and raining but we decided to make the most of it, went to the shopping centre next door to buy a couple of rain coats for the baseball and then set off on the freedom trail. The freedom trail is a redbrick trail that starts off in Boston common and takes in loads of historic sites relating to the American revolution and the historic break from Britain, and the shaping of the American government and the constitution and bill of rights. It was interesting but I felt a bit funny as a British tourist reading about the British army being vilified and the British parliament hated for their taxes! (I think the paper tax, a tax on all forms of paper was the last straw!) In the guide book the walk was supposed to take 90 minutes, but when we did it it took us most of the day, we did stop for lunch and go into some of the state museums though. Beware when ordering lunch in diners/restaurants; sometimes the portions are huge! Me and R ordered a couple of basic pasta dishes from an Italian diner and the plates that came with the meal were enough to feed a family of four; we would have been better off ordering one meal between the the two of us! It is true what they say about America, if you are there for a long period you would easily put on at least a stone...
When we got back to the hotel it was time for a quick shower before going to see the Boston Red Sox on the Metro; R had always wanted to go to an American baseball match since I can remember. The match was good, The away side (The Cleveland Indians) started off well but the Red Sox seemed to have a bit more quality and after a massive score with a home run with 3 other players on the bases in the 3rd period they always looked the likelier winner (if that makes sense to anyone let me know, I'm not sure I understood it ;-)) Baseball is much more of a social affair than the football we have here, there's lots of chatting through the match and a constant procession of boys carrying food above there heads shouting "Clam Chowder! I got Clam Chowder Right Here" and "Hot Dogs! Get your hot dogs here" So you can scoff your face through the match without having to get up! I've got to say the local clam chowder is worth trying especially if you need warming up on a cold night!
On the Sunday thankfully the weather was brightening up. We decided to book the whale watching at Boston harbour; it's a three hour round trip and apparently it can get a bit hairy if the sea is rough. Thankfully for us it was a beautiful day and there were plenty of humpback whales around. They are quite breathtaking to see close up. When they surface they do a really loud exhale creating loads of steam -they exhale something like 90% of the air from their lungs so they can take a deep breath before diving back down- humans exhale 25% to give you an idea of the super-FEV1 that a humpback whale must have ;-)
On the way back we had a wander though the City, I was going to buy R something nice from Tiffany's but we didn't find anything she really liked so we decided to console ourselves in the Cheers bar. As you might expect it is a bit touristy in there. On the last (half) day we got a quick coffee and bagel (or cwoffee and baygel as they say in Boston) and had a wander around Harvard trying to look intelligent (!) before a last meal in the Cheesecake factory (desert is literally 100s of different flavours of cheesecake) and then home. I've got to say I really like Boston, there's less to do than in New York, but the people seem friendlier, and there's more of an old colonial/British-Irish feel that made me feel really at home. We missed the kids terribly though!
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