Boston

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BOSTON

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The city of Massachusetts is known for its universities, but also for its history (Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party …). The influence of the Italian and Irish immigration of the 19th century is reflected in the architecture and gives an European look to the city. After New York, Boston was my preferred destination. So with my friends of Quebec we decided to go there for a weekend.

Day 1: Arrival – Harvard Square

The journey started with a six-and-a-half hours ride. This time Jason was resting.
Halfway of the route we made the mandatory stop at the US Customs. An officer took our passports and we had to wait quietly to be called. A few minutes later we heard a customs official screaming: “François!! François!!”. Once, twice, three times. Nobody walked towards the counter. I decided to approach a little bit so as to have more informations. That’s when I realized that the gentleman of the customs had a French passport in his hands, and that the passport was mine. Weird, my name is not François. Perhaps he had read my nationality (“Française”) instead of my name? Anyway you do not want to mess with the US Customs so I tried not to laugh. By opening my passport the nice man discovered the green paper that you receive when you go to the United States by land, and that I had forgotten to return when I came back from New York: it was a catastrophe. The nice man started to shout at me and told me things like “This document is the property of the United States!”, or “You are illegal on the territory!”, or “I can banish you from entering the American soil!”. I could only be sorry and I tried not to contradict the nice gentleman. Finally the charming man from the US Customs let me go after a while. We could get back to the road. A few hours later we arrived in Boston. The afternoon ended with a walk followed by a dinner in Harvard Square.

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Day 2: Freedom Trail – Little Italy – Beacon Hill – MIT – Harvard

We started the day with the Freedom Trail, a four-kilometer circuit on the theme of the American Revolution, offering the discovery of the main monuments and areas of the city, with a red line drawn on the ground. You will pass among others in front of a cemetery  (Granary Burying Ground), markets (Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market), a
park (Boston Common), churches (King’s Chapel, Old North Church), historic buildings (Old State House, Massachusetts State House), but also in front of one of the oldest warships in the world (USS Constitution). You will also cross the Italian neighborhood where you might want to take a gourmet break at Mike’s Pastry, famous for its cannoli.

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The walk continued in the historic Beacon Hill district, with its houses and streets full of charm. At the time the weather was still beautiful so we took the opportunity to make an ice cream break, which gave us a little rest for our feet!

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Then we headed towards the universities. I always said that I will be going to MIT someday, so it was the opportunity to go there. After we had crossed the bridge which separates Boston and Cambridge, we walked along the Charles River for several minutes to get to MIT.

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The building is huge. We stayed in front of it for a while to do an improvised photo session, before to go inside. At the entrance a few students were playing ball: they really looked like MIT students. Once inside the building we walked next to some classrooms. In the hallways you could see the pictures of alumni, professors and Nobel Prize.

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After this visit of MIT we decided to go to Harvard. This time the visit will be shorter because it already started to get dark, so we did not go inside the buildings. When the tour of the campus has been done we returned to the apartment. And as it was a long day, we took the evening to rest.

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Day 3: Sailing Day – Waterfront – Chinatown

For this Sunday the program was simple: an afternoon in Hingham in a racing sailboat. The city is located in the southeast of Boston and an hour away by ferry. A colleague from Boston, Ben, with whom I had worked on a project, had kindly offered to take us to explore the area on his boat. So after a quick breakfast we set off for the port of Boston, towards the Waterfront. On our way we passed through the shopping streets of Downtown Crossing, an area known for its shops.

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After a short walk we arrived at the port and we took the ferry, and an hour later we arrived at Hingham harbor. Ben’s son, Jean, was waiting for us there.

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Then we joined Ben, who was waiting for us in his boat. We often spoke on the phone but I was meeting him for the first time today. Ben is in his fifties, rather small, and is a smiling man. He seemed friendly and to like laughing. We sat in his boat and then we left to the sea for several hours. What a pleasant feeling of freedom, it was amazing! When we returned to the port we improvised a picnic on the boat. This was the opportunity to continue to discuss and learn a little more about each other. Ben had an exciting life. Before being in Boston he has lived among others in Japan, Australia and Thailand. He had several lives, many jobs also. In Australia he was for example chef of his own restaurant, while in Thailand he was working for a mercenary.

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Hours later, after having well discussed and laughed, it was already time to go back, so we took the ferry to Boston. It really was an amazing experience, and that’s what I like about traveling: meetings, people. So a big thank you to you Ben, I hope we will have the opportunity to see each other again, I hope so!

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When we returned to Boston it was almost dark already. We just had the time to go to Drink, a bar without any menu, where the waiter chooses your cocktail according to your tastes. Interesting concept. After few drinks we left for a walk in the streets and finished in Chinatown, where we stopped at a restaurant before going to bed.

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Day 4: Departure

The program of the final day was quite simple: late awakening followed by a breakfast. Then we drove to Belle Isle Seafood restaurant, so as to try the famous lobster sandwich which all of the travel guides are talking about. Lobster is served in bread with mayonnaise. This was not my best dining experience but the lobster was good.

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After lunch it was already time to go back to Quebec. This time I did not forget to return my green paper at the US customs.

Some addresses:

Restaurants:
– Beat Brasserie
– Legal Sea Foods
– Belle Isle Seafood

Bars:
– Drink
– Brick & Mortar

Sweet:
– Mike’s Pastry
– J.P. Licks

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