Saturday, November 21, 2015

Trails of Freedom

Waking Up At the Butt Crack of Dawn

Bright light shown in my eyes through the large windows on the east side of the apartment. I grunted and looked at my phone, it was 6 AM! What was I doing awake at that ungodly hour? Well...I actually didn't feel that bad, even though I'd only been sleeping for 4 hours. Might as well hobble up to the roof and snap some pictures of the sunrise over downtown Boston:

Was it cold and wet on that roof? My bare feet seem to remember yes...

Anyway, downtown's not the only place to see, there's the neighborhoods of Cambridge, Brookline, Brighton, etc surrounding Allston as well:

I was very grateful for the opportunity to see Boston awake from slumber, but I knew I'd need more hours of sleep, so I packed up the camera and settled back onto the couch, and woke back up at 10. Charlie was just stirring too; the downside I discovered quickly was that I was somehow groggier after the 8 hours of sleep then after just 4! Oh well, we had a good day planned.

Ah, Freedom

Charlie, Mike and I walked a short distance from the apartment to catch the subway toward downtown. This subway was...a little rickety. Something about the Massachusetts Transit Authority not having sufficient funds for upkeep. Why go toward downtown? To see the Freedom Trail, of course!

Not to see historic landmarks right away mind you, we had to eat some lunch. Seafood based preferably. Union Oyster House? Yeah, okay! I know that this is just a fish sandwich and fries (I despise oysters), but it was the best fish sandwich I could've imagined:

For some reason I can’t find the pictures of a few locations we breezed by on the trail. I was struck by the irony of seeing something like Paul Revere’s 350-year-old house right next to a Qdoba burrito place hahahaha. #Merica. Lord help us.

Mike had to leave us after Union to literally walk across town for a date (I think he’s still dating her), so Charlie and I made a beeline through the dense downtown skyline and across the Charles River, to eventually make our way to Old Ironsides:

The USS Constitution museum was great, the line wasn't that long, it was like $4 to get in, and we got to wonder around both above deck and below, taking pictures among the sails and the informational displays down below:

I’m into history and whatnot so I had to check out the informational displays below deck:

It really is a good looking vessel, especially for its advanced age:

Once we were done basking in naval history, Charlie and I walked just a few blocks through an old neighborhood between Ironsides and the Bunker Hill monument:

BunkerHill…Or Is It?

Er, it's not actually Bunker Hill, most of the fighting took place on Breed's Hill, where the 221-foot tall monument stands:

It looks even taller up close, I can't imagine how tall the Washington Monument appears when you're standing next to it.

Colonel William Prescott looks like one brave baller in statue form:

We wandered around the monument, snapping pics that juxtaposed the statue of this man who led Revolutionary soldiers 240 years ago with a modern downtown and nearby houses that could also be over a hundred years old:

He still keeps a steady watch on the local area. He doesn't have a choice really, being an immobile statue and all.

The Green Monster

After that, Charlie and I traipsed back across the Charles River over a bridge on Washington Street:

Google Maps informs me that we were looking over the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge when we were standing near TD Garden:

We then descended into the underground of the Boston subway system again and popped out near this hallowed ground of baseball:

Fenway at this time had been open 100 years even, and the dense neighborhood around it had lots of Red Sox decorations, regalia, etc. It reeked of baseball history. Sadly the park was closed this day for a high school graduation, but near the bottom picture we found a big huge security guard who turned out to be pretty cool. When I asked if we could go in, he said, "well, I'm not really supposed to let you in, but I'm gonna look off in the other direction for a few seconds, and if you're gone when I look back here, that'd be okay..." Yeah, we weren't there when he turned back around:

Neither were the duckies:

I'm thankful that Charlie indulged my desire to be there at Fenway, because I'm sure he didn't and still doesn't give a flip about baseball. It's not my absolute favorite sport to follow, but being in the ballpark where Babe Ruth (likely the best baseball player in history) played nearly a century ago was pretty special! That's why I gazed out with a mixture of awe and wistfulness on the field, and the legendary Green Monster in the next picture:

Fenway is similar to Wrigley Field in Chicago, surrounded by a very urban section of the city. That gives it more of that cozy, tight-knit feeling where it can't just sprawl out forever just to fill more seats. When we left a few minutes later, we found a layout of the field, and took of pic of me looking particularly bearded and ruddy:

And here's a couple from outside Fenway and nearby:

At least one of us was getting quite peckish by this point, so we must have used Yelp to find Boston Burger Company, which was an excellent burger; on the way, I found this picture of a little green area that looks to me like something out of a Japanese garden or old England:

Boston Burger Co. is overshadowed by the Prudential Tower. Charlie and I had a fairly extensive conversation about that tower, because I was trying to get up to the top as I am wont to do for skyline picture-taking purposes. We determined that it really is the perfect tower in downtown Boston to contain an observatory, because I think it looks hideous haha. Therefore, it's not in your pictures if you're in it. We just didn't make it over there because it was closed by the time we got done with dinner, which was probably 2 hours long.

Funny thing is that this was the time I was the coldest on this whole trip. My light jacket was not sufficient to cancel out the brisk breeze that evening. After stuffing ourselves with burger, we got back to Mike's, and Charlie and Mike went back downstairs to the bar for beers. I needed some quiet time up in the apartment.

Mike and Charlie came back up after a while, and Mike gave us some good hard cider to nurse while taking some pictures using the excellent view of downtown at night from the rooftop:

I found it hard to tell, but that is Charlie's silhouette in the last photo.

All in all, it was a day with a lot of walking, lot of historical landmarks, lotta great food in one of America's oldest cities, and perhaps one of its best cities to pay a visit. I'm glad to have gotten to explore it then, and again with my parents in October 2015. It put me in a certain, Peace of Mind...

Good night from Beantown!