A Travellerspoint blog

Desserterie, University, Geneaology, Meteorology!

rain 18 °C

We got an easy early start this morning, after a good night’s sleep in the “Sweet Sleeper” beds. The day looked to be sunny but muggy, and it started out as so. We went to Harvard first, and I was somewhat underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, it was impressive in its size, but I think it would have been more impressive if some of the main buildings (ie—library, chapel) were open for the public, which they weren’t. All the same, it was a nice walk. We got our first taste of getting turned around in Cambridge. Streets on a grid system are beautiful thing, and well, they don’t really have those in Cambridge. We eventually found our way, and went to Finale, which is a “desserterie”. We got two desserts to try, and they were honestly some of the best I’ve ever tasted. So if you’re ever in Cambridge, check out Finale :)

The afternoon was spent doing tourist-y things. We went to the Prudential skywalk, and saw some great views of the Boston area. Next it was on to the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy library. The Mapparium itself was pretty—you basically walk inside a 30 ft. stained glass globe. However, it was a quick trip. We hopped back on the T and went to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. What this museum essentially is is a giant mansion that she filled with different antique furniture, artwork, and trinkets. Upon her death, her will said something along the lines of “don’t touch a thing” and so the mansion is open to the public and people come in and marvel at the antique furniture, artwork and trinkets. Both Ali and I agreed that it would have been nice if they had more signage on the different items, as it was hard to tell what everything is or when it was from. When we left the museum, it was raining, and we had some time to kill before the Sox-Sox game, so we went to the Boston Public Library. I had wanted to check out the genealogy section anyway, to see if they had any passenger lists from ships in the 1920’s, when my grandpa had come to America. I had figured that this would be an arduous process, but we were able to find what I was looking for in five minutes! It was exciting to see this piece of the past.

Ali wrote about the Sox game already, so I won’t bore anyone with game details. I did, however, have the misfortune of being seated next to a jerky group of couples who were antagonizing a dad and son sitting in front of us. On the way out, I complained to security and they said they’d have them thrown out. So, I may have gotten people kicked out of Fenway last night. I’m not sorry about it if it did happen though, because they were being total a-holes.

Posted by mopo1978 18:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Rundown.

-17 °C

Alright. Let’s do this:

Finagle a Bagel: I am smitten with your salt bagel. I would like one delivered to me each morning, piping hot, with melty light cream cheese. Can we work this out somehow?

Hah-vahd: Yeah. So, I didn’t go there, and I can’t even get into the buildings now because I don’t have a student ID. So, why did we come up here?!

Finale: While I did grab my chest in shock when you told me that two cookies and a lump of chocolate were $10.25, there is actually no way I could complain. The sandwich that I had for lunch (cheese, caramelized onions, apple, mango chutney, walnuts and multi-grain bread) was ridiculously good and cheap, and the “chocolate decadence” was beyond anything rich that you could possibly imagine. We couldn’t even finish! It seems like a fantastic place to go after an event – classy decor, intimate setting, etc. Definite recommend.

Prudential Skywalk: It’s too bad it was so foggy otherwise we could have seen more, but at least we checked it out before the rain started. Nice views of the city and decent but not overwhelming audio tour.

Mapparium: Wait, so, why was this made? Wait, so it shows the world in 1935? Wait, weren’t there some states that became states after 1935? Why did it show all of the states as being states then? Wait, why was I not told these things on the 20 minute “tour”? I think that this needs to serve a purpose more than just being a whisper chamber; we can get that at home at the MSI.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Alright. I completely understand that it stated in her will that things should not be changed after her death and that there is some sort of foundation or group or just a giant bunch of rent-a-cops that have dedicated themselves to carrying out her wishes. I get it. But I think that the rule is being applied extremely selectively, at the convenience of their making money (someone needs to explain to me why you can’t take a picture in the courtyard – if the sun shines down on the “art” that is housed there every day through the glass ceiling, I have a hard time believing that the camera flashes would do the “art” more damage than that), and that they would benefit by making a certain degree of changes that would not change the essence of the museum’s content, but would give people a reason to want to go there. There are modern smoke detectors on the ceilings, and I mean, despite the giant theft a few years back, I would imagine there is probably some amount of after-hours security since there is a person in a uniform in every room. Was that exactly how it was when she left it? Does the concept of “leave it as it is” mean that it shouldn’t grow and change with the times? If there is no information on each of the works, the rooms are so dark you feel like you’re in a cave, and furniture is just thrown haphazardly throughout the rooms, what incentive do I (or anyone else for that matter) have to want to learn about the woman or why she was such a patron of the arts?

BiPpLe: Nice genealogy program. I wonder if they have those anywhere at home.

BoSox: Rain delay=9:00 start to the game. Laaaaaaaate. Cramped seats, but enthusiastic fans. We had to leave early, but I think I got the general idea. The hot dog was the epitome of soft, wonder-bready, melt-in-your-mouth ballpark goodness.

Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed: How I love you so!

Posted by alisandra 11:53 Archived in USA Comments (0)

It's a travel miracle!

(but where exactly do they *find* a spare plane? I'm just curious.)

We were all pushed back from the gate this morning, and had almost made it to a runway. But then, we encountered a technical problem and had to go back to the gate. After nearly an hour of waiting for a mechanical diagnosis, they officially declared our aircraft « out of service ». This was not looking good. They told us that they were going to find us a new aircraft and we would be on our way. By some miracle, I don’t know where, I don’t know how, they found us a new plane within twenty minutes. I was amazed. Anyway, we actually only ended up being two hours late, which worked out fine for me, because it meant that Ali’s flight and my flight got into Boston around the same time. We were very very fortunate, as our purser Nick pointed out, to find an empty aircraft a) at O’Hare, b) on a weekday, and c) during the middle of the day! Luckily, it seems, the travel gods are smiling on us.

We were pleased to find that the Boston transit system is extremely easy to navigate. And, it appears to be far more efficient than the CTA. After we settled into our hotel, we checked out Cheers near Boston Common for a late dinner. Really the only thing there that reminded me of Cheers was the logo and the pictures of Norm and Cliff on the wall, but it was still a nice place to spend the evening. We were also amused by a gentleman named Yaser, who opted his way into several of our photos.

We haven’t gotten lost yet, and because of this, I’m considering the trip a success so far!

Posted by mopo1978 18:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

VACAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

-17 °C

Arrival time at Lambert St. Louis: Approximately 7:30am Wednesday 18-Jul-07. It was probably a good thing that I got there that early considering the security lines were ridiculous. I went through the line instead of doing e-ticket check in because we thought there might be a possibility of my getting an earlier flight, but the attendant said that I would have to go through Chicago, or somewhere else, and I pretty much considered that a risk of actually taking longer so I decided to stick it out until 12:20p.m. I tried to go to security, but they sent me and everyone that was a couple of seconds in front of me and everyone in general behind me to the security for the “B” gate (I was leaving out of “C”) – they even sent the poor handicapped man behind me without any sympathy whatsoever. The woman pretty much just screamed (literally) that he should get himself a wheelchair and get over to the “B” security. That’s some good old St. Louis sympathy for you.

So anyway, the 5-or-so hours that I had to sit and wait for the flight to board was actually productive - it gave me a lot of good time to sit and read the Fodors for Boston, which I am going on record as saying was infinitely more helpful than my “comparable” Eyewitness book. Maybe I am easily distracted by all of the pretty pictures and just need to be forced to read the text in the Fodors.

While Maura was having challenging flight issues (see Maura’s entry for 18-Jul-07), I was waiting to board while watching the planes taxiing around, when all of a sudden I heard “oh <expletive deleted>” behind me and all of a sudden my back felt warm. I turned around and a guy had spilled his Starbucks beverage (sucked to be him because it was probably a $7.00 investment), and of course, he managed to spill it on my back and an entire row of Lambert’s classy black leather seating. He just looked at me and said in a somewhat annoyed tone (not sure why, considering he spilled it on me)“It’s just chamomile tea, it won’t stain!” and then he ran off. Woah. In any case, I found out when we landed that Maura’s plane was right behind mine, so her delays ended up working out perfectly for our timing.

After deboarding (basically into a Starbucks – gee, do you figure that’s strategically placed?), it was pretty uneventful getting to baggage and waiting. Maura met up with me at the “B” gate, we asked the nice lady with the heavy Bah-stin accent where to go, and the public transportation was fantastically self-explanatory. We got ourselves a week-long CHARLIE card (Charrrrrrrrlieeeeeee) and we were on our way. The only snag that we hit was that we took the train to the end of the line (Braintree) and the shuttle, being apparently “too big” only picks up from the second to last stop (Quincy Adams), so we took a cab and a nice English-speaking man took us to the hotel.

After taking some time figuring out what to do on Thursday, we took the T into the city and after a few “misses” on restaurants, we ended up atCheers. We walked part of the Freedom Trail through Boston Public Garden and when we saw throngs of people heading toward us with bright yellow Cheers bags, we knew we were on the right track. There was no wait AND they were still open, so pretty much all of our criteria were fulfilled. Maura was in the process of taking a picture of me with the Cheers mug, when the guy next to me leaned into the shot. It was pretty funny and made for a good picture. We paid and on our way out, I suggested to Maura that we get a shot of her with the tobacco shop Indian in the corner – I took the shot, and then the guy ran over again (he informed us his name was Yaser) and wanted to get another picture. We got a picture and the people he was with got a picture – pretty funny.

Tomorrow: Bosox!

Posted by alisandra 10:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

My Boston Vacation Goals

How I Plan to Not Screw Up This Vacation

1. No vehicular incidents. This includes any form of crashing, wrecking, smashing, towing, windshield cracking, inappropriate veering, tire popping, key-stuck-in-ignition-ing, any lack of engine turnover, ruined transmissions, snapping belts, ripping-off of rearview mirrors, break-ins, keyings, loss of antennae, cracking-off of hood ornaments (do cars have hood ornaments anymore? Am I that old?), breaking of automatic-anything, ripping of upholstery, spillage with the intent to stain, and NO CHAPPAQUIDDICKS.

2. Tea shall be thrown into the harbor. I don't care if it's a single bag of Tetley English Breakfast. It is vital to recreate history. Unless it's going to kill fish. Do fish like tea?

3. Consumption of a lobster roll. I want to know if it's that good. And I want Ina Garten to stop seeming so smug.

4. At least one bout of uncontrollable laughter.

5. One lighthouse. It doesn't even have to be functional.

6. One amazing dessert.

7. The learning of at least one new thing that I didn't know before that is really cool.

8. One really good picture of my like, totally, BFF and me.

9. Personal discovery. Is that too deep?

10. Fun!

Posted by alisandra 20:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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