Monday, 20 October 2008

The Freedom Trail

Before I begin properly, can I just say that I know how boring other people’s holiday snaps can be. So I’ve put them in a video thingy – you can choose to look at them or not. It’s entirely up to you and I won’t be offended if you choose not to.

One of the main features of the tourist-y side of Boston is the freedom trail – a red line that’s painted or embedded in the pavements leading from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill monument (or the USS Constitution, depending which route you follow at the last wee bit). Fortuitously our hotel was right on the trail towards the end – this was a handy navigational aid for us.

On our first full day we followed most of the trail – working backwards. This meant that we were going against the flow (aye, I know – nothing new in that for me), but also that we saw things from a slightly different perspective. Anyway wandering through the streets of the North End was really fascinating (although there did seem to be a lack of coffee shops open!)

By lunchtime we had arrived at Faneuil Hall where the ‘patriots’ plotted the Revolution. Anyway, right next to Faneuil Hall is Quincy Market, which is a great place to eat and be entertained. The central section of the Market is wall-to-wall food outlets serving almost every sort of cuisine – except haggis! Outside you’ll find street entertainers. Later on we discovered (or were misled if it’s not true!) that the performers have to audition to be allowed to do their stuff around the Market. They don’t get paid by the Market, they earn whatever passer-by ‘tip’ them. Some of them were really good. We saw a very good and funny juggler/clown, a group of kids doing breakdancing or hip hop or something (not sure about these sort of categories) and a very good singer/songwriter. I really liked her stuff – a bit of Suzanne Vega maybe? She’s called Cheryl B Engelhardt and if you look very closely you can see her in the bottom left corner of one of my photos. (What do you mean you didn’t look at them? I’m officially offended!) Cheryl has a website – it’s worth checking out and you can hear tracks from her second album on her myspace page.

Back to the Freedom Trail – it meanders on through the city centre past various sites of interest until it reaches Boston Common. If you’re ever in Boston it’s worth the walk, and you can get guided tours from the Park Rangers in period costume. However, I’d recommend taking one of the trolley tours, which will also let you see other parts of the city.

They may not have as much history as us, but they do it well – and probably know their history a lot better than we know ours.


His Girl Friday said...

My son did a research project for school on the tall ships, including the USS Const. They really are magnificent, esp when under sail.

We'd love to take our kids 'way out east' for a proper exploration of some of the historical sites.

nonprofitprophet said...

i loved the freedom trail. yes, it is my history so it was good to see it all. gets it out of boring history books and into reality.The USS Constitution was magnificent. Of course, in Boston, I had to try Bangers & Mash... was okay but a bit bland for my Texas tastebuds. Try Texas sometimes ER, we got some folks here who would be your official guide - 'cause we are a country all our own~ (Texans love to brag) ~npp