Posts Tagged ‘boston’

Boston from on high

June 12, 2009

On Tuesday Boston threw some of its apparently typical Spring weather at us, suddenly becoming chilly and grey. Despite the weather we headed into the centre of the city so Eduard could show me some of downtown Boston.

The first place we stopped was the Boston Common, one of the large parks within the city, and part of the Emerald Necklace. The frog pond was closed but I was delighted with the frogs nonetheless

frogs

and also with how beautiful and green everything was.

lake

More of those wonderful big trees!

Spring was definitely in the air, we saw a tiny duckling being shepherded (duckherded?) by its parents

duckling

and some nesting swans.

swans

After leaving the common we strolled down Commonwealth Avenue which was again beautiful, clearly the nicer part of town. Instead of the wonderfully rustic wooden houses of Cambridge, this area had stylish brick townhouses, just like you see in the movies.

stylish

After a quick lunch (and some amazing chocolates from Godiva’s) we went up the Prudential tower to the Skywalk Observatory, where you can see the whole of Boston spread out before you. An audio tour with colourful local ‘characters’ provided some interesting information about the history and landscape of the city, but the view itself was the real star.

boston

That square of green to the left of the big glass building is the Boston Common we walked through earlier. It was so cool to see everything spread out below you, and to see the differences between different areas—the straight streets and neat brick houses of Back Bay, the wooden houses of Cambridge almost hidden by their trees, and the river winding past Harvard, MIT, and many historical sites, such as the Old North Church (said to have a role in the beginnings of the American Revolution).

On Tuesday night Eduard called on some more of his fantastic local knowledge, taking me to a cute little French-Cambodian restaurant called the Elephant Walk. Again I managed not to take any photos, but the combination of new and different (and very tasty) food and good conversation was apparently too distracting.

On Wednesday Eduard had to stop past the office, which gave me the chance to see Harvard-Smithsonian for real. Like most old observatories, it still has telescope domes, remnant of the days before the city engulfed the area and light pollution made observing impossible.

dome

You can enjoy a view across Cambridge to the city from the roof of one of the buildings—it seems like a nice place to work.

eduard
On the way back home we stopped at Formaggio’s, the most amazing deli and gourmet food store I have ever been in. Ever. And I make a habit of going to these places. As it was my last day I couldn’t buy anywhere near as much as I would have liked, but I did manage a small haul that was consumable within the day.

tasty
That’s a gourmet sandwich, a pomegranite-flavoured softdrink, a packet of ginger cookies, a punnet of raspberries, and one turkish lavender-scented caramel. I did share the cookies, but the rest was no trouble for just me. Especially the raspberries. I love raspberries and live for when they’re in season. These ones are bigger than the sort we usually get in Australia, and while they weren’t yet as sweet as they probably will be in a month’s time, they were still delicious. And at four dollars a punnet, even with the exchange rate they were cheaper than they ever are in Australia. Bliss! I was surprised how easy it was to eat a whole punnet in such a short time, but they were half gone before we even got home (as you can see from the picture). And of course making up fun ways to eat the rest wasn’t too hard.

raspberries!

However the cutest purchase of the day was definitely the honey Eduard bought—check out the ingredients list:

honey
awwwwww. :)

All too soon after that it was time to pack up, travel to the airport and say goodbye. Boston has been great, and catching up with a good friend I haven’t seen in almost a year has been wonderful. One thing is bugging me though. I was delighted to see not only my first, but many (absurdly cute) squirrels in Boston—and I didn’t get a photo of any of them!

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Exploring Cambridge

June 10, 2009

My time in Boston so far has been lovely—really chilled, and a nice change from the hectic week in Santa Fe. Of course, staying in such beautiful surroundings does help the feeling of serenity (ah, the serenity!).

On Sunday we had a pretty quiet day, as Eduard was feeling a bit under the weather. I must admit I was pretty glad to take it slowly too! It was a lovely warm, sunny day though, so we still managed to wander around Cambridge, enjoying the sun, the trees (the trees! the trees are huge!),

trees

the beautiful houses,

cambridge

and of course the gardens.

rhododendrons

It felt a bit odd walking around taking photos of people’s houses (I was worried someone would assume I was a spy, tackle me to the ground and run off with my camera, but apparently these worries were unfounded). But it was such a beautiful area that I can’t have been the first. Until now I always thought my dream house was a traditional ‘Queenslander’, but these houses are starting to make me doubtful—they’re so pretty. This is one of my favourites

yellow

(yellow with a red door—squee!) but they were all so different in colour and style

pretty tiles

and some were absolutely huge.

red

It’s perhaps a bit strange, but on my first impression of Cambridge I was reminded so much of Brisbane, a city I really love. Maybe it was the combination of sunshine and green grass? The humidity and the wooden houses with their rustic porches? Perhaps it was just a smell in the air—in any case Cambridge made me happy.

It was so lovely to have some proper summery weather and I’m not looking forward to the cold of Canberra on Friday. But of course there are many other reasons I’m looking forward to going home.

On Sunday evening we stayed in, tired after all that wandering around. I made pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil (soooo good to cook again!) and we watched some happy and comforting movies—gotta love Wallace and Gromit.

On Monday Eduard had to pop into work, so after a decent sleep-in I set off to explore downtown Cambridge, and in particular find a yarn store.

The walk to Harvard Square took about twenty minutes, but on the way I was refreshed by a cup of hot chocolate and a madeleine at Burdick’s.

chocolate

Again the walk was lovely—more big old houses, all maintained so beautifully, more huge spreading trees, and more sunshine. However I must have felt I had taken enough nosy photos of people’s houses by now, because I don’t have any photos of that walk. Though one of the streets had particular historical significance, as lots of the houses had been occupied by rich families and important people—I even found a house that was once the residence of both Washington and Longfellow, but it was closed to the public that day.

Once in Harvard Square I wandered around happily getting lost in pursuit of my yarn store. At one point I crossed the river and found I could see all the way to downtown Boston.

river

I like to think that the fact that I immediately realised I had to turn around and go back across the river is a bit irrelevant.

Eventually I found Woolcott and Co, and spent a certain time in intense but happy scrutiny of yarn.

woolcott and co

By this time I was becoming aware of the limitations of space in both my luggage and carry-on, so anything I bought had to be both unavailable in Australia, very special, and quite small. I eventually decided on three skeins—an alpaca blend sock yarn (!) that will become socks for someone special, and some ice blue wool/angora blend, which I couldn’t resist because I love bunnies. And these were very kindly wound into balls for me by the staff for no extra charge—how sweet!

all wound up

I had lunch at an Irish pub

irish stew and cider

and was then so worn out I wandered back to Eduard’s, where we spent another lazy afternoon and evening chatting, eating pasta and watching movies. Again the chillaxing was just what I needed, but we did manage to make a trip to see the sunset over a nearby ‘pond’ (more of a lake really).

lake

Such a lovely way to end the day.

Hello, Boston

June 7, 2009

My last couple of days in Santa Fe seemed to go by in a whirlwind of conference talks, knitting, and people. The conference dinner on Thursday night went off as expected—there’s always at least one Astronomer who shows up in some outlandish outift

o...kay...

but apart from that it was a reasonably classy night, enjoying the balmy evening on a terrace above Santa Fe. We were lucky enough to hear an address by Robert Christy, an elderly Astronomer who was (and is) definitely one of the giants in the field of Stellar Pulsation.

The conference ended mid-afternoon on Friday and I had a bit of time before the bus left to take us all back to Albuquerque, so I wandered around the town for the last time. While munching a tasty chocolate croissant (last one left at the bakery!) I wandered into the cathedral park where I found this band playing.

ande

At first I thought they were glockenspiels (they’re very like them) but later I found out they’re marimbas, a traditional Zimbabwean instrument. All tuned to different octaves, and with drums to help, it made very rhythmic but very chilled music—perfect for relaxing in the park. I bought their CD and can’t wait to listen to it.

The next morning, after a brief night at a forgettable hotel in Albuquerque, I was once again in transit. Albuquerque to Denver, then Denver to Boston, and to Eduard! One of my very good friends from Stromlo who now lives here.

The little I saw of Cambridge yesterday afternoon and last night was beautiful. Spring is in full swing here (such a lovely change from the cold of home and the dry of Santa Fe) and I can’t wait to explore it more today! I think I’ll be taking lots of photos. We walked to a lovely restaurant (with great cocktails, incidentally) for dinner last night, and I think I made the walk almost twice as long because I kept stopping to look at everyone’s garden. I’ve never seen so many rhododendrons!

Goodbye, Santa Fe

June 6, 2009

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be leaving Santa Fe this afternoon, and spending the night in Albuquerque before flying to Boston.

The conference has been a great experience, as has Santa Fe itself. More updates on that later!