Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One last Boston fling – 8 October 2011

We had a ridiculously early start to the day to accommodate the various travel plans and other constraints of the morning. First deadline was to get Janine and Alan to meet their taxi at 0630. We had all spent the previous evening packing so they were up and ready in short order, intending to breakfast once at the airport.

Since the rest of the party were going to be disturbed we figured that we might as well get on the road as soon as possible. After breakfast we set of to return the RV deciding that we would finish the cleaning in their yard rather than at the campground.

It was a good decision as the weekend was Columbus Weekend and we were on the road well in advance of any holiday weekend traffic. It also gave us time to discuss the refunds and recompense for lost vacation time due to the issues with the RV.

We had the RV all cleaned and presentable well before the 10:00 return deadline and were ready and waiting by the time the shuttle van we had arranged, arrived to take us to Boston. Our web research had indicated that the only place we could leave our bags for the day was the Bus Station at Boston South Station and this is where we thought we had requested the shuttle to drop us. As it was, the shuttle dropped us at Back Bay Station.

Bradley and Susan had decided that the complication of extra baby luggage, baby stroller and Linnea herself predicated against another visit to Boston and elected to get the shuttle driver to continue with them to Logan Airport. So we said our farewells and they drove off.

After they left we could not see any bus station as expected near the Amtrak station, so I asked where to find the bag storage and was told that we were at the wrong station, but we could take the train arriving in 1 minute to get to South Station and that we could ride for free. The train conductor was very helpful when we disembarked at South Station and it was not long before we were free of luggage and able to explore Boston again albeit with a time limit of the luggage storage closing at 5pm.

The first stop was the Tea Party Museum on the waterfront learn to more about the famous event. We were in the correct area but could not see any replica ships in the water so asked at a tourist booth only to find that the museum was being redeveloped an would open in 2012.

We then investigated various tour options: “Trolley”, “Duck”, harbour cruise and Segeway but decided to simply wander and set off along the waterfront walk, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.

At one point a large Natural Gas tanker made its way down the harbour escorted by a pair of fast Coast Guard rigid-inflatable boats each with a manned machine-gun in the bow. These out-runners had the task of keeping all other craft away from the tanker and any other craft, no matter how innocuous were forced to a dead-stop in the water as the tanker passed. Talk about an over-abundance of caution. I think any of the fibreglass pleasure craft challenged would have come off worst had they been able to ram the tanker. Still, it was an impressive display of Homeland security paranoia.

We left the waterfront a couple of times, once for a gelato and once to wander through the Fabeuil Hall Marketplace. After a late lunch/early dinner salad on the waterfront, our return trip took us back through the recently redeveloped park in what is effectively the median strip between two major, one-way traffic routes along the waterfront.

At the end was a large protest camp outside the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston building as an off-shoot of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement were vocally protesting against the “Fat Cats”.

We were so exhausted by now, that we decided to take the bus to the airport. This gave us five hours to fill in, so set about writing up the day and checking photos. By the time we got around to buying coffee, we discovered most food outlets had closed. It appears that ours is the last flight of the evening, and not very full, so all employers had decreed their shop could shut early. It was just as well we ate in Boston.

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