Friday at Boston was supposed to be a quite short day for me and colleagues, as we planned to check out new offices in Cambridge and were about to start from Newburyport at around 3 pm. Which also meant the first part of the day would be intense – I really wanted to finalise all the projects and enjoy the holiday to the fullest, without a necessity to worry about anything unfinished.
Ok, talking work is not that interesting, so I’ll skip most of Friday with a coffee from Souffles (with homemade granola!) and a delicious salad from a place nearby, and jump straight to the part where we arrive to Cambridge, check out couple of offices and have a delicious dinner at a sushi place the name of which I have shamefully forgotten!
Isn’t it getting ridiculous that I’m speaking mostly about food? Well, I’m a foodie, so there’s nothing to do with that – gastronomy, tastes, smells and such are a great part of my travels. That’s how I explore new countries and places and those food experiences hugely influence my perceptions of the city – if the experience with the local meals wasn’t that good, there’s a high chance I would like the place that much.
So sushi in Cambridge! Those were delicious, and we actually even made it to dessert – an ice-cream covered in some sort of pastry (I’m not sure what exactly it was, some traditional Japanese dessert I believe), but that was good, and the best part of it was it being small 🙂 After all those big meals I was having in the US, I normally wouldn’t have space for the sweets (and my inner voice would try hard to stop me from eating more!), and having just a bite after the meal was exactly what I needed.
The weather was really nice that evening, so we decided to take a walk. It was the middle of September, so the kids have just come back to schools, and it was a Friday night, so the town was buzzing and vivid. At some point we decided to grab a drink at some outdoor place, found one, took a place and… they’ve asked for an ID, which I of course left in Monica’s car. And since we’ve been walking for quite a while, it wasn’t just a quick run to grab it. Being a European, we don’t think much about carrying our IDs everywhere. And also, I’m 30 years old!!! Definitely don’t look under 21! But the fact is that Monica who’s 5 years younger was having her sangria, while I was enjoying a glass of deliciously fresh tap water. But – lesson learnt – after that I would be carrying my ID with me wherever I was going to! (since no one wants to be left without a glass of wine on a holiday!)
We spent some time at the bar enjoying our drinks (I know, I know), and soon after Jed left, while me and Monica decided to pop into another place – the one Jed told us about. From his words, he used to hang out there a lot back in the days, and it seemed to look the same still. There was some kind of a concert downstairs, and a bar up, so we decided to opt in for the bar (passing by the car and grabbing my ID before heading there!) There was also a band about to start playing, but we were so tired, that didn’t make it till that glorious moment. I still had a half of the day on Saturday to explore Boston, and wanted to be fresh for an early wake up – unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to get an impression of the city with those smalls bits of being here and there.
Saturday started early as I planned, and I had time till around 2 pm. The best days start with a hearty breakfast (of course!) so i headed to a place recommended by Monica called Met. I was hesitating whether to sit inside or out (as it was still quite an early morning, so a bit chilly) and actually jumped in and out, finally deciding to stay in the rays of sun, which was a good idea. The menu seemed delicious, and gave me hard times choosing, and finally I went for the avocado toast (served with sunny side eggs) and a big mug of cappuccino. Such a cozy, comforting (and at the same time healthy) meal to start your day with – definitely such a day couldn’t be bad.
Met features something really special,and provided I had a company (and it wasn’t 8 am) I’d definitely go for it, as I loved the idea a lot which you can see on the picture here: the Crafty Bloody Marys are really impressive, as you can actually craft your own breakfast with it, not just a bloody drink! Check out all the additions they have there from all types of spirits, rims and sauces to oysters and even burgers!
(Actually now when I’m writing that and looking at that pic, I’m quite regretting not giving it a try – even without a company at 8 am!)
Breakfast took quite a while, and I still wanted to see the city, so I decided to take the Freedom Trail – it’s quite a well-defined tourist route which features most of the Boston sites. If you don’t have much time, it might be the best solution to opt for, and you can do it on your own at your pace, which will give you even more freedom to decide what to pay more attention to and what to skip completely. During the trail, you’ll be finding yourself in nice neighbourhoods with beautiful houses and parks.
Honestly, I really regret booking so little time in Boston, as the amount I had didn’t give me a chance to appreciate everything this city has to offer (which I’m pretty sure is a lot!) and my experience was overall very fragmented and unstructured. So now I can only point out to some highlights which I enjoyed, but will be unable to draw a clear picture or catch the true spirit of Boston. But what I can say is that I definitely enjoyed just strolling along the streets without any particular destination, looking around for nice views (and there are plenty of those) and even bumping into some street performances.
Another thing which really impressed me about Boston is how green this city is – there are lots of parks there, with Public Garden taken the first prize of course, where there are so many squirrels and birds. It actually reminded me of the Hyde Park in London – the first park of such a scale that I’ve ever seen with all of those animals so easily and fearlessly hanging around.
I saw one squirrel trying to escape the park and running out to the road – poor creature, didn’t know what to do to not get hit by a car. Thankfully, the drivers were very cautious.
Of course, I couldn’t miss the “Make Way to Ducklings” monument in Public Garden, just because it’s really funny and cute (and children (well, actually, not only children) are climbing on the largest duck to take a pic). I decided not to follow the mainstream though, and take a picture from the distance:
Time flies when you are enjoying it, and my bus was starting at around 2 pm, so I didn’t have much time to explore the city on this sunny pleasant day. And as said above, most of the time I spent wandering around the Public Garden.
Since it was Saturday, there were lots of people with kids and dogs, and also some festivals happening around.
I made my route towards the bus station, which was also quite a nice walk, including making it to the Bay. And nothing can be more picturesque and impressive than water to me!
Then I grabbed a bagel (I’ve already told you it’s perfect food for travels!) and boarded my bus. Several hours later I was stuck in the Manhattan traffic jams, and quite tired, finally got to “my” New Jersey flat, to find out that there was an explosion in the Middle Manhattan, close to 24th Street, which I passed just an hour before it happened. I wouldn’t actually even know about that if not my friends who started to ping me asking if I’m ok. “Lucky me!”, thought I, and then another thought came to my mind: “Probably, that’s what it means to live in New York…”
Later, I was asked couple of times how I felt about it, whether I was terrified or took any measures the day after. But really, what kind of measures can you possibly take? Stay at home and become a victim of a gas accident? Avoid crowds and popular places and get hit by a car in a village? You never know, and the best you could do with your life is try to live it to the fullest – now, without postponing it to later. That’s the only thing I’ve carried from that situation, and unfortunately, it’s not a new or enlightening thought at all – something we all know very well, but equally often forget. Such situations just help us to remember.
After getting home, I grabbed some take away dinner at the sushi restaurant at the corner, went to the riverwalk, sat on the bench and – enjoyed. Contemplated the river, and the view, and the moon with the stars, along with delicious food and the peacefulness of the moment…
Tomorrow would be a new day, a very special one, last day in New York, and the most impressive one in that tremendously impressive city, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!