Saturday 10 Concord
Gordon and I drove from our camp site to Concord, which meant driving past Boston and then back again at night. The museum was a good introduction to the town, especially its famous 19th century residents Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Lousia M Alcott. Realized how little I knew about Thoreau, apart from his “Beware of any enterprise which requires new clothes”, and resolved to buy a copy of Walden once I find a decent wifi connection.
After a sandwich lunch at Trail End Cafe, visited Waldon Pond and the site of Thoreau’s little house in the woods. There was a replica in the car park across the road, with furniture based on the originals which are in the museum.
There is a Thoreau trail, with quotation carved on granite. At the Centre is a “reflection circle” of big stones with inscriptions from famous people. Even Dr Seuss is commemorated with quotes from “The Lorax”:
“Catch!” calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall.
“It’s a Truffula Seed. It’s the last one of all.
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula seeds,
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”
Sunday 11 Boston
The fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. Wanted to go to Harvard Memorial Church, but since it was closed for renovation the congregation met for worship in the Radcliffe Gym. A lovely anthem written by a student, with texts about peace from different faiths, and a sermon about forgiveness.
Visited the Christian Science church and library, with the famous Mapparium, a large globe you can see from the inside.
Gordon wanted to see the glass flowers at Harvard Natural History Museum – models made by a German father and son for the purpose of teaching botany – so we stopped off there and also looked at exhibits on climate change and tectonic plates.
Then it was time for Gordon to deliver me to Joel, my host for the next two nights, and set off on his homeward journey. Joel took me to a folk song group meeting in somebody’s house. We arrived rather late, by which time they had sung the ones I knew, but were willing to repeat some for my benefit.
Monday 12 Boston
No pictures today as I forgot to take either my phone or my iPad.
Walked the Freedom Trail past some places of historical significance, especially the War of Independence, finishing by climbing the 294 steps inside the monument on Bunker’s Hill.
Then to the Museum of Fine Arts to look at Gauguin’s picture “D’ou venons nous? Que sommes nous? Ou allons nous?” I have a print at home, bought from a library sale, but the colours of the original are much brighter, or maybe it has been cleaned. As I was looking at it, a woman walked past saying “I don’t like him” and not waiting for a reply. I now have a fridge magnet of it, though since my fridge door is plastic it will have to go on the microwave.
Walked back along the “Emerald Necklace”, a string of parkland finishing in the Victory Gardens, allotments dating from WWII. I intended to walk to Harvard, but found myself on the wrong side of the road to cross the Boston University Bridge and ended up taking the subway.
Joel barbecued some chicken for supper, which we ate on his balcony. Very tasty.
Tuesday 13 On the train
Boston South Station is near the waterfront, so I walked along part of the Harborwalk, with great views of the city.
The station is a giant food court, with lots of booths. I chose ‘pretzel dogs’ and iced lemonade. The only activity apart from selling, eating and announcing trains was a game of simultaneous chess with about 20 players.