I kept a journal while on the trip. The following posts (including this one) are snippets from my rambling notes. :)
On Tuesday we arrived at Boston's Logan Airport to begin our 8 day vacation on the East Coast.
After settling into our hotel and gathering info regarding the use of mass transit around Boston, we set out in the late afternoon to see that great, old, city.
It was with trepidation that we approached the subway station. As Texans who live in a sprawled out suburban area, we needed to acquaint ourselves with the droll details of things such as the destinations of red, blue, green, and orange lines. We took a promising blue train (after receiving some helpful assistance from an MBTA employee) and boarded with excitement and anticipation.
We got off at Government Center to transfer to another line and this was my first time to step off a train and into the fascinating underworld of the subway. My first impression was that people were moving: on trains, off trains, up the stairs to the street, down the stairs to the trains. People were holding steaming coffee, books, bags, instruments. There were musicians hawking their cd's and playing for cash. My eyes could not rest from the ever fascinating spectacle around me. I could not remember any underground as interesting as this one was. The trains themselves were even more of a spectacle. To my surprise, I quickly began to note that there are a vast amount of readers who are adept at reading while standing their ground on the swaying, jerking trains. I remember being impressed by one girl in particular: a true pro, she kept her eyes and hands trained on her book, all the while standing with feet firmly planted while others were reaching to grab onto anything they could for support; she continued to read as the doors opened and people shoved past her; she read without missing a beat of anything happening around her.
Soon we were on a new line and heading we didn't know where. The train reached street level and we emerged from darkness into light, traveling at a rapid pace, with frequent stops; here was a place called Brookline... and there we spotted some enticing stores and disembarked. We made our way to a Trader Joe's for some snack shopping (would you believe we had missed breakfast and lunch due to our hectic travel schedule and the fact that airlines don't feed you anymore and we were too stubborn to pay exorbitant prices for nasty airport food?!) and then back onto the train after realizing that the time was getting late. We promised ourselves that we would return to that quaint residential area after espying a bookstore, knitting store, and other promising storefronts.
We then made our way, somehow, into downtown Boston, and specifically to the North End (or Little Italy, as some call it), a busy place with swarms of people and delightful old buildings on equally aged streets. Our destination was Mike's Pastry Shop, a place recommended to us by my brother and sister-in-law, and also by a local. The place was teeming with pastries and people. 30 minutes later and some of the family emerged with a bulging box, to be opened and indulged in later. (we assumed the pastries might be too messy to consume on the street - and we were right!)
After Mike's, we ate pizza in a tiny Italian restaurant where English was the second language, and then walked back to a sub station to begin the trek back to our hotel.
Boston at night is somehow energetic without having the chaotic, rushing madness of other large cities. There is energy, but not the frenetic sort I found in Chicago and London. It is, strangely enough, a more deliberate pace.
We opened our pastries back at the hotel and tasted our first cannoli. Delicious!