Hope you haven't missed us. Wifi has not been reliable in Boston!
We last left you on the way to Boston. We arrived on Friday morning, both surprisingly awake after the little disturbed sleep we managed to get on the Greyhound. We decided to spend the morning planning where we were going to go over the next couple of weeks and how long we were going to spend in certain places. You gotta love Starbucks! One coffee and you can stay as long as you like and use their wifi. You don't even have to do that! Pull up outside the door and take a little rest while you quickly log on on the iPhone. Result! Speaking of Starbucks (forgot to mention this earlier), one guy in Washington had what looked like a whole damn office set up! He had his laptop and his blackberry and then he had a telephone (yes, a proper telephone, one where the handset is wired to the base) plugged into this laptop, which had a little monitor and a webcam so he could make a conference call! No wonder our wifi was slow!
Anyway, back to Boston, so two coffees later (Dan was buzzing!) we had travel booked for the next two weeks and I was MUCH happier. Drifting is cool but I have already discovered I like my routines, and I like to know where I'm going to be sleeping. We decided to go into the train station and get our train tickets for our departure on Saturday and then go find our accomodation. The woman who served us was absolutley delightful and so helpful, no question was stupid or pointless and she explained how our pass worked and went through our itinery with us.
We discovered we needed to catch a train to get to where we were staying so off we went to a little place called Sharon after a 25 minute journey. We arrived and took a taxi the rest of the way. Again, the taxi driver was a really nice guy and was saying how important it was to stretch our money so it lasted and he reccommended somewhere to eat, which was a 15 minute walk from where we were staying. We pulled up and Dan gave him a 20$ bill for a 16$ fare. Then the guy did what all American people do, "Do you want change?" We're British, we're not good at saying no when money is concerned, so naturally we said "No, that's OK". The guy was really appreciative and was saying how he and his family mainly lived off the tips and that it would go a long way. "You need to stretch your money" - my ass!!
Anyway, we got out of the taxi to discover we were at a real life motel! Like the one in Thelma and Louise where Thelma sleeps with Brad Pitt! It had a pool and everything! We checked in and the room was fine and had cable tv. Then we went for a little explore.
I booked this place for three reasons:
- It was cheap - BIG FAIL! When you add on the 20$ return train and 30$ taxi fare it really wasn't (no buses!)
- It had washing machines - MASSIVE FAIL! The receptionist looked at me as if I was stupid when I asked!
- It was really accessible to Boston - ARE YOU FRIKKING KIDDING ME????? I wouldn't class Alwoodley as accessible to Leeds and even that has a bus route! This place only has a train running every couple of hours at off peak times. It MAY have been a different story if we were driving but to say on a hostel websitethat this place is easily accessible is a big white lie!
We were literally in the middle of nowhere! Nice scenery (if you ignore the freeway) but apart from a Holiday Inn opposite, absolutely nothing else nearby.
So... I had a swim and Dan went for a run and then after chilling and attempting to use the wifi (poor signal) we decided to go and find the place the taxi driver recommended for food. The reseptionist repeated the directions we already had and off we went, down the edge of the freeway (sorry Mum!)
Now when people told us not to be reckless or do anything dangerous, I thought they were talking about bungee jumping, or swimming with crocs! We decided to walk down the edge of the highway to go find some food! Don't worry, there was a crash barrier, we were just on the wrong side of it.
After about 20 minutes or so we came to the place recommended - a diner! It was fab and worth the dangerous trek.
Friday came and it was time to move again (thank god!) This time we were going downtown to the home of the Red Sox (and yes I know who they are, but only because of Lost!) We found the hostel with no problems and checked in and discovered Dan was finally allowed to spend the night in a top bunk! Our room had two cabin style beds with top bunks and a desk space and drawers underneath. The hostel DID have washing machines - hurrah! So we set about doing our washing. PROBLEM - how do you dry clothes that are not allowed to go into the tumble drier? Answers on a postcard please! After drying what we could in the drier and scattering clothes on any rail we could find in the room, opening all the windows and turning off the air con, we finally set off to do a bit of sightseeing again.
Did I ever tell you I went to Harvard? I did, for a whole evening! We walked over the river to Cambridge (Sorry Ian, wrong Cambridge) and wandered around the Campus. The Halls had gardens which formed a courtyard and before the storm broke (yep, we got wet again) loads of students were sat on the grass catching up etc. It was a great atmosphere and made me regret not going to Uni. The buildings were lovely and old as well and there were lots of little cafes and restaurants on the main roads leading up to the university.
Today brought us another full-on sight seeing day. We walked the freedom trail which winds through Boston. It highlights the important places and people involved, from when the city was established to how the American Revolution started. We loved every minute of it. We both learned so much, not just about American history but also our involvement in the American Revolution. Dan will add photos which will tell you more than I can.
One thing that struck Dan and I was how many parks American cities have in the centre of the city. I know London has Hyde Park, St James's Park and Regent's park but not many of our other cities do. There's also so much space. NYC is always busy but it has 8.5 million people in it. Washington and London are similar sizes but there is so much more space in Washington and the city seems empty. You only ever see a handle full of tourist in any one attraction. In London Leicester Square, Covent Graden and Buckingham Palace always seem to be crammed full of people.
Highlights of today were having a drink in the USA's oldest pub, established in 1795 and still going strong. Another one was exploring two Navy ships, one that did battle in the American Revolution and destroyed three HMS ships (booooooooooooooo) and the other a World War II Destroyer. My (yes, my) favourite was the Destroyer. It was so cool having a look round. The Officers had a common roomwith a dining table, a place where they could chill out when at sea but if they were doing battle this room turned into an operating theatre, the dining table now a surgical table where the wounded lay. Chefs had to bake 100 loaves of bread every evening to feed the 300 soldiers the next day. I found it really interesting seeing how the Navy live when they are at sea. They do a hard job but yet they're a part of our armed forces that receive less recognition than the others.
The trail ended at Bunker Hill, where there is a large momument that marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution in 1775. The obelisk is very similar to the Washington memorial, except you can climb to the top of this one and see some excellent views of Boston, or they would have been if the scaffolding had been absent. 294 steps later Dan and I were huffing and puffing and practically fell onto the wooden bench at the top, our legs giving way and shaking for some time afterwards.
We walked back to the common to go and find the bar where Cheers was filmed, which was quite cool. After that we had a final walk through the gradens, where we saw two different wedding parties posing for photos (I didn't envy those poor brides in their dresses in this heat), we headed back to the Fenway Hostel to collect our luggage.
We had dinner in a British pub, with paintings of Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill on the wall. I had good old Bangers n Mash. Very nice sausages but rather peculiar tasting mash. Dan had Shepherds Pie of course, which was yummy. The bar served Guiness and Newcastle Brown Ale among other drafts and had old fashioned advertising signs on the wall for all sorts of English alcohol including Sussex Bitter. DIdn't see any Black Sheep though!
We are now on our way to Niagara Falls with a five hour stop over in NYC, a journey which will take us 18 hours. Lets hope we get some sleep.
Hope everyone is well. Feel free to email us your news, we like to keep up to speed with what everyone is up to and enjoy reading what's going on at home.
Lots of love, Elles xx