The stories of Boston are told from a very interesting Airbnb loft where I’m spending my (hopefully) last nights in New York. Something with plastic mattresses, a heater at one million degrees (Celsius of Fahrenheid doesn’t matter), cats and turtles. But more on that next time…
I just got back from Boston after three very fun days. My bus on the way there arrived an hour late, but I guess that’s what you should expect from a 4,5 hour, 15 dollar bus ride. Anyway 5+ hours in the bus and a short ride with the metro I arrived at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where Simone is doing a post-doc. She gave me a lab/campus tour which started with me helping her carry power supplies back to other labs. It just felt like I was her student again doing my master thesis. The lab tour also included an encounter with an old friend: the MiniMag. The MiniMag is a magnetic steering system that I helped building during my master thesis. Back in the days Simone and I spend a full week winding the electromagnets for this system. So it was good to see that all the blood, sweat and tears that were put into that system were not for nothing and that the system is still being used. After the campus tour I borrowed Simone’s bike to go for a city tour. A nice bike ride brought me from MIT, along the river to Harvard University which has many really cool old buildings. Then I biked back through a residential area with beautiful wooden houses to meet up with Simone for dinner at a very nerdy restaurant (see menu below). After that we met up with some other people and went for an evening of stand-up comedy. There were three groups playing and most of it was quite funny (e.g. people pretending to be dragons breeding on their eggs; the conclusion that air is just dry water; or a guy who has a tailor store who is considering to make food pants).
Periodic table menu
Simone and I with our good old friend the MiniMag
The next day was very very very rainy. The weather was too bad to be outside, a good day to finish a book. So the day was spend in the public library, the covered market hall and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The museum wasn’t very big but it had a few nice works. One of them was a half an hour video of a Rube Goldberg machine. They got very creative with loads of fire, explosions and foamy liquids. The also had a media center which had some very comfy benches with a great view over the harbour. In the evening we went for dinner at a very tiny lobster restaurant (more of a snack bar), they had great lobster. To finish the night we went to a fancy bar with a beautiful view over the city.
Because of the shitty weather on the second day, I stayed a day longer than originally planned and only went back to New York on Saturday morning. This was a very good choice. The weather was perfect on Friday, a good day to walk the Freedom trail. This trail walks past all kind of sites that are important in the US history. There are some pretty churches, graveyards and town halls. It also goes past the harbour where the ship the USS Constitution (a US navy ship build in 1797) is. Sadly enough the ship was in a dry-dock for restoration and could not be visited. However a WWII Destroyer ship that was in the same harbour could be visited. The freedom trail ended at Bunker Hill where you can climb the monument (an obelisk) with 294 steps to a nice view over the city. However, the logic was a bit weird: the ranger a the monument asked me if I wanted to climb the monument. Of course I was interested and he told me it was for free. This sounded like a great plan, however things are not as easy as they seem. In order to climb the monument you need to have a climbing pass. He could show me one of the passes but he could not give me one. They were only available at the museum across the park. When I arrived at the museum there was an identical guy sitting behind an identical desk. I told him I was interested in climbing the monument and he gave me a ticket. No further questions, passport checks. or anything else. After the Freedom Trail I went to the Mount Auburn cemetery (Thanks for the great tip Geert!). The cemetery is a hilly terrain with loads and loads of large grave monuments and little ponds. Walking on the cemetery I heard some weird sounds and after some time looking around I found a group of full size turkeys walking between the graves. I guess that is normal here… That evening Gandolf was also back in Boston again after being away all week for work. So for my last dinner in Boston he made us some juicy mega steaks. After the food we went to the local bar (fittingly called the 21st amendment) for the last Boston beers. I had to go home early because the next day I had the early bus back to New York.
Simone and Gandolf: thanks a lot for letting me stay at your place, showing me around your city and organising some great food!
For the freedom trail a song about freedom: Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky (with a great sample from Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator)