Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Boston - The Freedom Trail

A clever bit of tourist marketing is the Freedom Trail. it's a 2 1/2 mile route, delineated by a red brick stripe through the sidewalks which links various tourist sites with American Independence connections through the city of Boston. And since there is a set path all of them can get a share of the tourist dollar.

It just si happened that our little airbnb flat was right next to the Trail in the North End of the city, Boston's Little Italy. An what precise attraction was adjacent to us? Copp's Hill Burying Ground. Yup, we overlooked a cemetery.

Next site along is Old North Church, genuinely old since it was built in 1723. And very tasteful as churches go. I particularly liked the family pews, which meant you could be quite separate from your fellow puritans.

The Waterfront would have been more attractive on less drizzly day, but still had its charm. And wasn't exactly overcrowded.

The old dock buildings have been renovated so are now upmarket restaurants etc

Inside from the Waterfront is the Financial District. Its what you would expect.

The Old State House sits utterly dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers.

Faneuil Hall retains a bit more dignity and presence.

Surprisingly moving is the glass Holocaust Memorial. Generally I am not a fan of these constructions, but this one hit the right note. The glass columns are supposed to represent smokestacks. Etched on the glass are various quotes from survivors of concentration camps. The most effecting was along the following lines. "Two little girls, best friends, stark naked, approached a guard and begged that he spare their lives. He shot them." OK I said it was moving, not uplifting.

Lunch beckoned, so Chinatown... We found a place that did traditional dim sum, where little old ladies wander around the restaurant with trolleys of small dishes and you just point to the ones you want. Very reasonable prices too.

From there we went to Boston Common. This sounds grander than it is. A rather unimpressive park to be honest..

Beyond the Common lies the Public Garden, somewhat more attractive.

Equestrian statue of George Washington
By the common is probably, to a modern audience, Boston's most famous attraction - the Cheers Bar!

We circled back into Downtown.

Now special note should be taken of the Government Building. A true Brutalist bit of architecture. How anyone could have been persuaded to stick this eye-sore right in the middle of a city is a mystery. Utterly hideous and totally unloved.

Behind the Faneuil Hall lie a series of old market buildings, now devoted top selling tourist tat.

We then headed up north to Charlestown, across a rather rickety iron bridge. That much rust is disconcerting when there is a big river underneath. This led us to the naval docks and the 18th century USS Constitution. And a rather overly interactive Maritime Museum. More for the kids, although it took us out of the rain.

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