Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Boston - 7 October 2011

The campground proprietor provided helpful information on our travel options for visiting Boston. We had researched what we could from the Internet but his information was based on the particular issues involved in parking a large, high, vehicle – information not disclosed on the Internet sites.

So instead of driving 3 miles to the local commuter train station, we drove 40 minutes to the end of the Green T-Line and could use a much cheaper all-day travel pass. The Green Line took us directly to Boston Common where the Freedom Walk started.

This walk, well marked with a bold red line in the pavement, traces the early history and happenings of the Boston settlement, focusing on the times around the Revolution and Declaration of Independence. The walk ended, for us, at the harbour to see the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) which is the oldest commissioned warship in the US Navy and thus could still be called upon to go to war – but probably would not be!

The deck and a couple of levels below are open to visitors and all is in absolutely top-notch ship-shape condition with the brass gleaming and the woodwork all highly polished. We did not establish whether or not the cannon were still in battle ready, working order or not.

Visits to the USS Constitution are free if you have photo ID - it is a Navy Base so unidentified riff-raff are not allowed! How many tourists are going to come prepared for this without some warning? Murray had a photo licence but Christine had nothing so we had to blagg our way past security. He took Murray's licence, asked Christine his date of birth and thus proved that she was not a terrorist in disguise. We were very grateful for his discretionary latitude.

It was not the first time that ID had been asked and waved through. On a number of occasions the younger two were asked for ID before being served alcohol with their meals. Considering they are more than a decade over the legal age, we all thought it quite hilarious. On one occasion Alan's NZ licence was accepted but he was told that it was not valid documentary proof as it was an “out-of-state” licence. On another occasion Christine resorted to assuring the waitress that Janine was indeed over 18.

After lunch we made our way to Harvard Square to meet Janine's friend Dan who is a post-grad student at the Harvard JF Kennedy School of Government. Dan gave us a personal and informative tour around the prestigious centre of learning ending with a side trip to a bridge over the Charles River where the students were participating in the very English occupation of rowing on a beautiful autumn evening.

No comments: