Catching DC public transport to the airport, which only costs $9 as opposed to a $60 taxi. Love that game! Or even better is a free shuttle bus from Logan Airport in Boston to Downtown where I can walk the rest of the way to the hostel!
Boston weather is similar to what I experienced in DC, but there is the melting snow to contend with. For a clumsy person like me, I gotta be careful. That s*** is slippery
My first afternoon was a frustrating one. I arrived at hostel at noon and didn't expect to check in right away. They told me my bed would be ready at 2pm my bed would be ready and meanwhile I could store my backpack in their storage room. So I asked for directions to the post office and off I went to post all my now useless summer clothes home. Only they sent me to UPS, not the post office, and they wanted to charge me $250 to post a 4kg box to Australia. Excuse me? $250?! Hell no. Back to the hostel and I couldn't get the wifi to work thus not being able to look up where a USPS location is. On my hostel provides map I found a nearby place called Post Office Square which sounded promising. Only at said square there was no post office to be found. Oh. Spotting a tourist map I head over and while a post office symbol is on the legend, it does not appear anywhere on the map. I walk a little more and find another tourist map which this time directs me back to Post Office Square, apparently I walked right past the post office. Said building is a court, not a post office but a nice guard tells me to walk back down the street two blocks and there I will find USPS. Arrive at USPS, door has an arrow pointing round the corner and saying use other door. So walk round the corner and the guard tells me the post office is back at the door I was just at. Well USPS, good sign but put it on the right side of the door not the left! Finally make it into the post office after 45 minutes of carrying a 4kg 11x11x11 box, my arms are sore. Postage to Australia only costs $89 so in the end the frustration and time spent to actually find a post office was well worth it for a saving of $160.
After my postage debacle I had lunch and went back to check in. Room still not available and will not be until 4pm. Life is testing me today. Stay calm and finally successfully connect to the wifi to check emails, write my blog and general time wasting until I can check in. Do so and finally can head off to do some sight seeing.
First stop is Boston Common. If it's still nice looking at the end of winter, I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be in spring. Same goes with the next door park Boston Public Garden. Both have lakes and fountains which have been drained for winter, so it was a little sparse looking but still pretty.
Having signed up for a hostel event that night, I didn't want to stray too far away. So Newbury Street was my last stop for the day. It immediately reminded me of Georgetown with its cute old timey yet modern building facades. Most of the shops are built in the two level style where the lower level is visible but mostly under street level and the upper level is elevated from street level. This street had everything but I was really just browsing wanting to save shopping opportunities for NYC. In one of those serendipitous moments I met Ashleigh, an Irish girl who has just moved to Boston from DC. We got chatting and hit it off right away. Eventually I did have to head back to the hostel but not before exchanging phone numbers with plans to meet up and explore NYC cause she's never been before.
Back to the hostel and I made it just in time to head off to a nearby trivia night. As expected I didn't know a lot except when it came to pop culture questions. Anything else US, sports and politics especially left me lost. Our team actually did really well coming second the whole night until the last two rounds and we ended up third overall. Still not to bad for a team made up of 50% foreigners. After trivia I headed to a bar with three girls from North Carolina on spring break for a few drinks.
Since Mexico City I've regularly been waking up at 6 or 7 in the morning. So I was pleasantly surprised to wake up and find it to be almost 9am. After breakfast I headed out to a shoe store I saw the day before, being in need of shoes other than converse sneakers. The shop was a bust. The promised hunter gumboots were in crap colours and the only nice pair of boots to serve my needs (brown, flat and sturdy for walking) in there were overpriced even on sale and turned out to be their last pair, not in my size of course.
By this stage it was time to head over to Boston Common to take The Freedom Trail tour, which basically takes you around the sites of Revolutionary Boston. You can DIY the tour following the red line in the street but at only $13 for a guided tour (guide in full costume and character) I figured it was worth the spend to find all the facts. The tour was excellent and I would highly recommend it should you ever find yourself in Boston.
After the tour I wandered around Quincy Market, still hoping to find some shoes. Clarks had some gorgeous boots that met all my needs and were even (fake)fur-lined at the top, perfect. But of course one size would be too small - just on one foot, and the next would be too big. The world is conspiring against me having warm shoes in NYC. And I do need them. Walking round on the Freedom Trail we would stop for a few minutes to hear the history of a certain spot or person and each time I could feel the cold seeping in to my shoes. And if it rains, which it will, converse are not gonna cut it. Post shoe failure it seemed like a good time to drown my sorrows in food. In true American style my combo lunch was far too much food, even for someone who has been overeating - seriously will need to retrain my eating habits post trip. Grilled cheese, soup and mac'n'cheese is a lot. So soup and grilled cheese was had for lunch and mac'n'cheese was saved for dinner. Lunch and dinner for less than $10...thrifty!
Next I hit the T to get me to Cambridge, or you might know it better by its famous school, Harvard. I walked through Harvard and Cambridge, down to MIT, over the Harvard Bridge, through Back Bay Ferns and over to Fenway Park home of the Boston Red Sox. Being at the end of Newbury Street, I thought it a good route to take back and stop in any shop that might have winter shoes. No luck on the shoe front unfortunately however I did stop by the Marc by Marc Jacobs store. Prior to leaving I was browsing the MJ website and spied a new watch to look out for in the US. They had the skeleton watch, tried it on and fell in love. Cue purchase. Thank god for credit cards. It seemed fitting to top my purchase off with a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes just next door. Salted caramel cupcake, yum!
While eating my mac'n'cheese dinner, Ashleigh texted me and asked if I wanted to hang out. So she came over to the hostel and we chatted random crap for a while. When it was time for her to meet her roommate at South Station, I walked her over knowing the route better than her - she's only been in Boston for 3 weeks. By this stage the promised rain which thankfully held out all day, had arrived. It wasn't enough to need a raincoat but it was enough to freeze me to death and test the limits of my water resistant coat. I also got sort of lost on the way back to the hostel and while crossing the road, my attention was focused on the street sign to work out where I was and so I stepped into a shallow puddle. Shoe, sock and foot totally soaked this affirming my need for shoes.
And just like that my super short time in Boston is over. I'm really looking forward to my 5am wake up tomorrow to make my train. Not. Literally want to go back to October me and shoot me for booking the 6.10am train. Who cares if the daytime trains are more expensive? They do not require one to wake up at 5am on vacation.
Things I'm not looking forward to back home...
1 Not being overseas.
3 Working, meaning that I have to go back to a routine and can't just make up life as I go along.