Jul 21, 2008
Posted in: Visit
About a month ago I got a comment in one of my entries that read:
Snively, Since you are used to getting up early now, go out to the Boston Market on Saturday and load up on the cherries and avocados, not to mention all the other fruits and veggies available right now. Better still, talk a walk through Little Italy. The smell of the bread and garlic early in the morning is amazing. Then go to Bunker Hill and climb the stairs (if you haven't done that already). Then walk back to Little Italy and eat. Its an exceptional treat that I would love to do right now.
Normally I wouldn't actually do this because I'd be too busy or just not motivated enough, but for some reason this seemed like a good idea, so I went along with it. That's right, your comments actually affect what happens in my life. I'm kind of like a less creepy version of the subservient chicken.
Unfortunately, my day of excitingness started off a bit rocky. I woke up too late to hit the market or to wander the North End (Little Italy) and enjoy the smells so I had to settle for going to Bunker Hill. I strapped on my skates, grabbed my directions from Google Maps, and headed out.
I made it reasonably far before Google Maps decided to mess with me.
"Cross suchandsuch a bridge for .25 miles."
Yessir Google Maps, I'm at your command. *goes to cross bridge*
Um, crap, no sidewalk or bike lane. I took a moment to evaluate my options. There were all sorts of bridges going across the river but none of them seemed to have sidewalks for me to skate on. I tried going left, skating for a while to see if there would be an alternate way across the river. Nope. I skated back. How about to the right? *skate skate skate skate* Woo-hoo! A bridge! I skated across the bridge and then attempted to skate back to where I was supposed to end up according to Google Maps. Easier said than done. That's the thing about step by step directions instead of a map, one mistake and you're done for. I skated for about 15 minutes, unable to figure out where Google Maps's sidewalk-free bridge ended and couldn't do it. I ended up stopping at a drugstore and buying a map of Boston. After a quick map viewing I oriented myself and was back on track.
This is when I saw my first exciting tourist attraction of the day. Quick, just by looking at the picture, guess what country I'm in:
Looks like Europe, doesn't it! For a second I thought I was back in Italy on vacation, but then I heard som guy yell (with a thick Boston accent) out his car window at another driver and I was quickly reminded where I actually was.
I continued skating towards the bridge and connected with the Freedom Trail, a brick trail that connects all the major historic locations of Boston. Basically, a giant magnetic line for tourists. Fortunately for me, this trail led right to Bunker hill so I followed it.
Let me tell you something about Bunker Hill. It's a hill. A big hill. A hill that I skated up. A hill that, once I reached the top, I couldn't let myself go back down just because it would have been a waste of the energy required to get to the top of the hill. Instead, I took off my skates and wandered around a bit, enjoying the sites at the top of the hill.
Ok, time to listen to the blog comment and climb the stairs of the monument. I wandered over and saw this sign:
Psh, that's not so many stairs! I'm in good shape, I can do that no sweat. In fact, I think I'll jog it. After admiring the masonic symbol on a decorative cup at the base of the tower
I began my ascent. *jog jog jog jog* This isn't so bad! *jog jog jog* Look, I'm already at step 50! *jog jog* Hm, I wonder how far I am now? *jog* Step 75!? *step step step step* Well, maybe I'll walk a little bit and then start jogging again later *step step step* Ok, this isn't fun anymore *step step* 150!? WHAT!? Really now, that's it? *step* I hate stairs.
At around the 210 step mark I realized that turning around wasn't an option because I'd already come so far, but going any farther just wasn't something I wanted to do. What does one do? One keeps going, even though it hurts (remember that for next year all you eager beaver '12s). Eventually, 294 steps up, I made it to the top. Oh, have I mentioned the 90% humidity? In the top room I saw about 5 other equally exhausted looking people, all soaked with sweat, taking in the view. Now, I will cram the view down your throats. Why? Why am I going to post so many pictures of it? Because I almost died trying get to the top, just to see this, so now all of you are going to see it too.
And, that last stair, the hardest one:
Finally it was time to descend, something that really hurt me to do, seeing as I'd built up so much potential energy by climbing those bloody stairs. Let's see, mass x gravity x height = potential energy. That equates to 81 kg x 9.8 m/s^2 x 20 bazillion meters = 15,876 bazillion Joules of energy. What a waste! I started me descent, jogging.
Luckily for me it's much easier to jog down than to jog up, so in about a minute and a half I was at the bottom. That's right, even jogging down it took a minute and a half. That's a long time, but I was able to entertain myself by watching the gradual change in expressions of the people climbing up the stairs. As I started down it was like watching the undead reach the summit but as I neared the bottom I noticed eager, athletic, and optimistic faces.
When I reached the bottom I took some time to cool down and read some plaques that talked about various historical things. I'm not a big fan of history so I won't go into detail, you'll have to look it up on Wikipedia, but eventually I'd read enough and was ready to move on. I now faced a decision: should I head straight back to the dorm or should I do something else with my Sunday? While I decided I wandered to the (air conditioned) Bunker Hill Museum. I forced myself not to purchase a Jaw Harp (even though I really wanted one) and made my decision regarding the rest of my day. I decided to walk the freedom trail all the way back to the Boston Commons, effectively eliminating it from my list of "101 Things to Do Before I Graduate" list and in turn, culturing myself.
My first stop on the freedom trail was the U.S.S. Constitution, or as you may know her, "Old Ironsides."
I om nom nom'ed an Italian sausage and some peppers before checking out the original drydock for the Constitution.
After the Constitution there wasn't a whole lot to see on the freedom trail for quite a distance, it just snakes around through the North End. It does give you a chance to see the Bunker Hill monument from a distance though.
The next important location was the Old North Church. You remember that, right? Paul Revere, lanterns, land and sea, British? That's right, let that APUSH flood back into your brain for the next 5 seconds as you look at two pictures:
I continued on my trek and saw a fountain
and a donkey
What's that donkey looking at?
Feet! I should stand on those!
A little farther down the street was one of the big important locations on the freedom trail, the Granary Burial ground.
There were a couple of awesome things about this cemetery. The first was the hilarious show of gender inequality that was proudly displayed in the center of the cemetery. For your viewing pleasure, the tombstone of Benjamin Franklin's father:
But, Benjamin Franklin's mom must be dead too, and wouldn't she want to be buried near her husband? Where could her grave be?
Wait, what's that?
Hm, whose name is on that tiny little tombstone shoved behind the giant Franklin monument?
There she is! I wonder if they discussed those burial arrangements?
"Honey, I'd like to talk about our burial arrangements."
"Oh dear, I trust you to be fair and true when deciding how we will forever be remembered by the world."
"Absolutely honey, we'll have two ident-- AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"
"Oh no! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to pour scalding hot oil all over you! Please, please forgive me!"
"Oh, I forgive you. Really, it's no big deal. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go finish up our burial arrangements. No, really, don't worry about pouring boiling oil all over me right before I decide who gets what in the cemetery, I promise I'll still be fair. . ."
Other awesome dead people present were all of the victims of the Boston Massacre
and our favorite brewer, Samual Adams.
After the cemetery I visited Quincy Market, Borders, a bar to watch a bit of the Eurocup, and then I ended up on the Boston Commons. How did I know I was in the Boston COmmons? Because, conviniently, a large red pushpin marked it out for me.
A walk back to campus from the Boston Commons yielded two things of note:
1) Another Smart Car!
2) The Church of Scientology!
Finally, after 5 hours and a little over 11 miles, I saw MIT.
I got back to the dorm and collapsed. It had been a very long, culture-filled day and it was definitely time for some air-conditioned r&r.
Curious just exactly where I went? Click this link at your own risk, it's kinda a big image file, but it traces my route for you all to enjoy.