On the Bus: Boston Edition

 Over the course of two days we made a total of 19 transfers connecting us between the 21 legs of our journey through Boston and to Salem and back*.  If you think traveling is glamorous...prepare to be disappointed by public transportation that smells vaguely of urine - unless you are made of money I guess.  Despite the complexity of our travel strategy, we spent most of the time walking the streets of Boston and Salem and learned a grundle about American History - both wholesome and a little more back alley.  

We packed one light backpack so that we could get to Boston's Historic 'Nawth End' for our 11 o'clock tour without having to drop our luggage off across town first.  Our tiny French tour guide Michelle showed us around in freezing temperatures just shivering through animated stories of immigrants, priests, brothels, and revolutionary heroes.  We ate at a cozy Italian restaurant and stayed as long as we felt we could to warm our frozen toes without ordering more food.  The weather was actually beautiful: blue skies, no wind, but freezing none the less.

We wound our way backward through most of the Freedom Trail, but made a slight detour to see the Boston Aethenaeum.  The Aethenaeum is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States and is one of the few 'members only' libraries left.  For the record, I'm not sad about the trend away from private libraries toward public ones over the past century, but there was something a little awesome about a library that felt more like a private learning club than a homeless shelter.  The library was founded in 1807 and overlooks the historic Granary Burying Ground including the graves of Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. 

From there we hopped on the E train and barely made it to the last showing of the Maparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Christian Scientist Library.   Not familiar with a Maprarium?  Nether was I.  In 1935 an architect named Chester Lindsay Churchill built a three story tall, stained glass, to scale replica of the world.  This wonder is hollow on the inside and you walk through it on a bridge.  There is  a brief presentation describing the ways in which the world has changed (USSR, French IndoChina) and also highlights figures who changed it with quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi.  It was quite moving actually.       

With several hours to go before our dinner appointment and the Boston Symphony later that night, we holed up in a corner of a Boston Market and played paper triangle football for sometime.  You know, where you hold your hands up like goal posts?  Winter traveling is harder than other seasons I think.  At least its more expensive.  If we had a few hours to kill during May we could have read our books in a lovely park, sat by the sea and ate ice cream, or drawn pictures of the historic buildings from a park bench, but in the dead of winter you have to find shelter and most of the time that means paying for something.

We had a lovely tapas dinner followed by the Boston Symphony, for which we stayed mostly awake.  It was a long day. 

I think I'll leave tales of Salem, Saudi Arabian Lime Tea, and hand drawn genitals for the next post.   
First Italian Catholic Church in Boston
"One if by land, two it by sea" Historic Steeple where Paul Revere hung his lanterns

*Many of our legs had to do with getting to and from the airport.  We wanted to use our free tickets so we had to get to Baltimore at 6 in the morning, which required a few early morning maneuvers to keep the cost down.  I also included things like the free shuttle from the Amtrak Station to the Airport. 


  1. Brian and I thought about going to Boston or New York over the 3 day weekend but decided that a trip when it's a bit warmer would be more productive.

    So we decided to stay put in Falls Church. I'm kind of bummed, but it made the most sense. I'll be honest though, I was secretly hoping they'd tell us they couldn't change our reservation and force us to move. I guess there's always next time. We still should hang out though! Let's find a time. We've still got language training ahead of us, so we're here until August.

  2. I so enjoy reading about all of your travels Brooke. You and Max really make the most out of your vacations ... and see sights that most of us sadly overlook!

  3. Sounds like our travels in Ecuador, constantly on the bus and in transit. Although, we weren't freezing...we were hot and sticky from the humidity. Not sure which is worse? :)

    Nice going on the free tickets...Brian would be proud!