Posts Tagged ‘food’

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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A trans-Pacific odyssey

June 2, 2009

After many hours of travelling, I finally made it.

The flight from Canberra to Sydney was short and uneventful, as expected. Once I’d checked in for my flight to San Francisco, I grabbed a much needed coffee and bikkie—an Anzac seemed appropriate.

coffee

Despite my otherwise intentions, that’s the first and last photo I took while in transit. Apparently I was either too busy going through security, or just felt the whole experience was so soul-destroying that it didn’t warrant documenting. Oh well.

I had a few hours to kill in Sydney so I wandered the duty-free shops to check out the deals for when I fly back in (one litre Bombay Sapphire, here I come!). Then it was onto the plane—my first 747, and I was lucky enough to get an exit row! Helloooo, two metres of legroom. However despite books and magazines and audio books and movies and a laptop to play with, I still missed my knitting. Though I probably wouldn’t have had elbow room to knit, thanks to the huge guy beside me. I had decided not to sleep much (not that it would be easy for me anyway) but unfortunately my one hour of shut-eye was disturbed by shrill-voiced women who felt the need to talk right near my chair, and babies who chose that hour to start squawking, after twelve hours of adorable silence. Hmmm.

But I arrived in San Francisco in a relatively decent mood, and they let me into the country and everything. There was even a massage salon in the airport, but I didn’t have time for a pedicure before my next flight. Bugger.

Boarded my third (and final) plane, bound this time for Albuquerque. Again somehow luck was on my side and I was seated in the very front row of the plane, which meant a few precious extra centimetres of legroom. Bliss! However the lack of sleep and excess of travelling was catching up with me, and two or so hours in an aeroplane seat just seemed like too much to bear. But I got to Albuquerque, and I got on the shuttle bus to Santa Fe, and just over an hour later I was at my hotel. Having not slept for over 30 hours.

Overtiredness does strange things to your perception. My first glimpses of Santa Fe convinced me that it was an intimidating and outlandish place. Everyone I met seemed to watch me warily, as though expecting me to cover myself in peanut butter and break into song. (Of course, after ten hours of sleep and some decent food it was apparent that these impressions were a little hysterical. But a sleep-deprived person cannot be reasoned with. And it’s very likely that the only reason peanut-flavoured Gene Kelly didn’t happen was lack of energy.)

The hotel is gorgeous—somehow, again, luck was on my side and the el-cheapo conference special (less than a third of the rack rate!) meant I got a large and luxurious room. Just like a 4 star hotel at home, but bigger. And more Mexican.

The most pleasing thing was the huge bed

bliss

(Ten pillows. Ten!) but I was also delighted with the enclosed balcony

balcony

and the amusingly fussy presentation of the towels. It’s nice to think someone did all this to impress me.

pleats

I decided on room service for dinner (terribly decadent, but fit to mix with the general public I most certainly was not) and ended up with a massive serve of very tasty fajitas.

fajitas

And they even had white wine from New Zealand. *insert satisfied sigh here*

Anyway, as I zonked out rather quickly after that, it seems appropriate to end here, and save the exploration of Santa Fe for a new post.