The bus ride to Boston was long, and I felt sick the entire way. Not helped with the fact I was messaging anyone and everyone to cure my boredom, and that I was really tired and grumpy. Even eating didn’t help (and I ate so much)! The road was so bumpy; the vibrations echoed throughout the bus. Now I get why highways in America have tolls. We didn’t experience such bad conditions driving from Philly to NYC and we went through several toll booths.
I spent a lot of time looking out of the window… I discovered that in Connecticut, people can “adopt a highway” and it’s called Connecticut Cares. I saw one that was in remembrance to a loved one, the sort of message you see on a park bench 😕 I don’t know. I think I’d prefer to be remembered surrounded by birds, trees, flowers, and lovely, squishy bums. Not traffic pollution and noise.
After a few hours, our coach driver was clearly a bit peckish as he stopped for a Burger King. He allowed everyone to come back on board with their food… this wouldn’t ever fly on a National Express. I bought jalapeños chicken fries with BBQ sauce and an original Oreo shake. Delicious! Helped with my sickness too. I don’t usually eat chicken nuggets, and the “fries” alternative were quite nice.
Arriving in Boston, 70 minutes later than expected, our hostel was a short walk from the bus stop, through Chinatown (which actually looked far more impressive in the sense of that it was full of life and character, than the NYC Chinatown!). The smells were delicious.
Seeing the hostel entrance, we both were like, wow. Hostelling International Boston aka HI Boston, was voted the second best hostel in the world. I can see why. It looked AMAZING!
The ground floor lobby has large, leather sofas to lounge on, and looks more like a posh cafe than a hostel entrance.
The first floor, as pictured with all the lights on, is the kitchen and common room area. Open plan, the kitchen cooking area is huge, with benches and tables for everyone to sit together to eat. They provide free tea, coffee, juice, and even breakfast! To add to how impressed I was, they do your washing up! Result.
There is a really cool bike rack. Not that I have a bike.
And random sofas to chill out on while waiting for the lift. Each floor represents a different subway line.
I was even pretty damn impressed with the bathrooms! Avid readers may remember the horrors I faced in Laos. So you know I appreciate a hostel bathroom, that isn’t filled with bugs and the shower head falling off the wall. Along with a toilet cubicle that is wider than my hips. These things matter.
Floor towels, shower gel, hand paper towels. Oh my days. Plus the showers are really big too (and hot!).
We ended the day with a short walk to Whole Foods 🙈 THAT PLACE IS THE WORK OF THE DEVIL. Ugh. I love it so. I am so fed up of eating processed meat and bread, I went with uber healthy spring rolls. Very authentic Asian and just how I like them. I may have bought some custard dumplings too but we’ll move on from that.
HI Boston – for real!
I started the day by eating, carbs 🙄 The breakfast was either sugary yoghurt, cereal or bagels. Obvious choice! I went for cinnamon bagels topped with whipped cream cheese and jam. Yeaaaah!
Emily headed off to Salem while I tried to brighten my mood with the free tea provided by the hostel. Both of us had a terrible sleep. Even though this hostel is beautiful, there are two major drawbacks. The first being that the bunk beds are so creaky than when I move during the night, I even wake myself up! Secondly, the bedroom and bathroom doors are heavy and loud, so shutting them quietly is next to impossible. All night long one hears them slam. Ear plugs do nothing!
I had a quick wander around, unfortunately an outlet Nordstrom store distracted me so didn’t get too far, before heading back to the hostel to join a walking tour at 1pm. I bought some tape for my leg, tried strapping it up and away I went.
The tour was very cute, starting off at our hostel, the five of us including the guide, wandering through Boston Central Park to an area called Beacon Hill.
Right next to the neighbourhood, and over-looking Boston Common (the Common sits next to the park) is the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Street. Gold roof, special.
We passed a statue of JFK and the tour guide lost his shizzle a little. JFK was his Representative, Senator and President, having lived in the Boston area his entire life while JFK was a local politician. He told us a story of when he was a young boy, standing on car roof tops to catch a glimpse and how heartbreaking it was when JFK was assassinated. No-one admires politicians like that these days. I wonder if the lack of media coverage back in the day played a part.
Then some 50m down the road was this beautiful front garden.
We turned a corner and arrived in Beacon Hill officially, even though I was essentially in the area already. It was BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL I tell you. This house below, is the only detached property in Beacon Hill and costs about $15 million. One of very few properties to have a driveway.
The houses are required by law to stay the same, in the sense of the style and outside appearance. All the houses are made from red brick and have black shutters. And if you hadn’t already guessed, kinda beautiful!
That rule doesn’t seem to apply to flowers and window boxes, but pretty much everyone had daffodils. It was my idea of heaven.
You may remember John Kerry, a former Presidential candidate. He lives here. We were told a story of a fire hydrant and how he was sneaky, and moved it from the corner of his property. For you information, he doesn’t have a driveway. Corner property too, risky.
Coming out of Beacon Hill, the houses were still very pretty, with lovely window boxes.
We walked through the park again through to Back Bay. The park, and Back Bay, didn’t exist a few hundred years ago. The entire area was underwater and it took 15 years for the land to be reclaimed.
There are lots of churches in Boston, and they are all very pretty and welcoming.
And are a stark constrast in design to buildings nearby. A lot of these churches were originally in different parts of the city. Made from wood they were burnt in a fire(s) and therefore rebuilt on the reclaimed land.
I saw the Public Library. It was also BEAUTIFUL. Outside sits two statues, either side of the main entrance.
One represents science…
The other represents the arts…
If any statue could represent Boston today, these two do so perfectly.
Inside the library, the main staircase was ever so grand.
And the library seats are similar to what you see in the movies! How could anyone concentrate in there, with tourists snapping and taking photos. One of the girls on our group had a really noisy camera and I felt a tad awkward when it kept on going off!
The library has a really pretty courtyard too.
Then outside the library is the finish line for the Boston Marathon. I stood across three lanes of traffic to take this photo for my friend, Amy. You can just about see the traffic ahead. She was very pleased.
The walking tour ended at the library, and I asked one of the girls if she’d like to do the Freedom Trail with me later that afternoon. We agreed to meet up in the hostel lobby at 4pm. A guy also in the group invited himself along, and then decided to follow me. I said I was leaving the library to go back to the hostel, he decided to follow. He tried to walk as close to me as possible, even down narrow streets rather than going single file. Anyone who knows me, knows. Haha.
Upon returning I said bye to him, and I’d see him downstairs in the lobby at 4pm, as I was going to the kitchen to eat some lunch. Two minutes later he appears in the kitchen and sits next to me. *sighs* clearly a bit taken. I’m really not that special!
I ate my lunch as quickly as possible, and hid in my room until 4pm. The three of us set out on the Freedom Trail, but first we went to a very famous Boston bench. This bench is where the iconic and dearly missed Robin Williams sat, with his Good Will Hunting co-star Matt Damon.
I went to give my phone to Aisyah, the girl walking with us, to take a photo of me, but Shadow (his name isn’t really Shadow – I like codenames), jumped at the opportunity and then dropped my phone in excitement. At least I have a good case!
That guy in the background had to get in the photo. He was bird watching after all.
Boston Park is very lovely. This mummy duck photographed below went next level quack towards us, clearly threatened by the humans to her little ducklings. When we walked away up the bridge, she stopped quacking.
Look at them swim away…. awwww.
Like I said, lovely!
Boston Freedom Trail
Across the city is a yellow brick road. No of course there isn’t, but there is a red brick trail spanning three miles that marks the path of freedom the colonists and rebels once took. It’s called the Freedom Trail. I set off along the trail with Aisyah and Shadow, from my walking tour earlier that day.
It took us through Boston Common into the Downtown Crossing area.
We treated ourselves to a cupcake, which was “omg so cute”…
We carried on along the trail, past buildings I do not remember for the life of me what happened there. Treason, that’s what happened! Pesky Americans plotting against the British.
The trail took us all round the houses, quite literally.
I found taking photos was really difficult, as my shadow was borderline tripping me up and had to dodge around him to just HAVE SOME SPACE.
I had heard about Charlestown as a district, so I thought it was super cool that I was there. Even the fire station was historic!
We walked up a residential hill towards Bunker Hill, and saw the Monument. And a statue not wanting a sun tan.
Bunkers Hill is where a big battle took place, with both sides losing many men. In fact, despite winning, the English lost half their army. Definitely a case of, they may have won the battle, but they haven’t won the war. And they didn’t.
We reached one end of the Freedom Trail.
The alternative ending, is by the dockyards. Walking back down, we went past USS Constitution. Okay now we had completed the entire trail. High five!
And then back to the hostel. Shadow invited himself along to dinner, despite saying I was going to meet my friend and I couldn’t promise anything. He still asked for my number (noooooooo!) and so I couldn’t really be that mean. It’s hard being a solo traveller, after all. I messaged Aisyah along to dinner, and suggested she message Shadow to ask him. As annoying as he could be, I wasn’t going to isolate him.
So the three of us who did the trail plus Emily went out for a seafood supper. I started with a clam clowder. Typical Boston! It was so thick and creamy, and was really meaty too. Yum.
I had a seafood platter for my main. Squid, scallops, clams and prawns, as pictured below. Yes please. It was melt in the mouth, utterly delicious. Even the dog wanted some! The best squid I’ve ever eaten!
Shadow went to order the same as me, but when I changed my mind, funnily enough he did also. It was sweet, I guess. I don’t know!
A woman sat on the table next to me said, “Good girl” when my food came out. I felt so honoured.
Food coma. Shower. Restless night’s sleep. Tea. Breakfast. Time for Day Two.
On the way to the subway to go to Harvard, I came across the most interesting bookshop, from the outside at least! Yup that’s a giant quill poking out of the book.
And the shop’s outside storage lockers were pretty cool too. I almost went for wallpaper similar to this in my flat.
Okay so Harvard is nice, but it’s not that great. It’s probably more amazing being a student there than just wandering around aimlessly. Similar to Oxford or Cambridge. The district was named Cambridge after the English city so would make sense.
The buildings were really pretty, can’t deny that. And have lots of random events being set up – like a robotic balancing competition, and an arts festival.
While our student tour guide chatted away, I was a bit away with the fairies.
This yard in front of the library is where the graduation ceremony takes place. It’s also where they have concerts. Tiesto was there last week dj’ing for the students 😂 EPIC!
We saw a statue of the first beneficiary of Harvard, John Harvard. Although the statue isn’t even him! No-one knew what he looked like so it was based on a student back in 18-something. The statue also says he founded the university in 1838. That is a lie. He died in 1838, which is when he left the college money, books and land in his will. The college was actually founded in 1836. LIES. LIES. LIES.
I love the fact the most famous university in America, has this in its yard. Quite comical.
The Harvard Memorial Hall was something. This is where the students have guest lectures from famous people, like Rihanna for example. I’m sure she was quite popular amongst the students. The stained glass illuminated the dark hall, the sunlight glowing shades of purple and blue.
Last stop before heading back to central Boston, the Law School. Obviously!
We got the subway back, where Emily and I parted ways for the afternoon. I ended up in Primark, to buy an umbrella! It’s seriously the nicest Primark I have ever seen. The changing rooms were delightful, with fancy wall art.
The standard Primark items, like t-shirts and bikinis, were the same price but in dollars. So actually cheaper than at home. I didn’t need anymore clothes, just something to keep me dry. It didn’t do much for my jeans and trainers unfortunately!
I then went off to find myself some more seafood, in Quincy Market which is a large food hall.
While I was walking down here, some guy shouted, “Hey Beautiful,” to me. Which I naturally ignored. I didn’t even look up. As much as it’s nice to think a guy finds me attractive, false flattery gets them absolutely no-where.
I stopped a few restaurants down and bought a crab salad roll. It cost $10 – for crab meat and shredded lettuce in a bap!! 💸💸
After eating, I noticed the guy who shouted at me was still lurking nearby, talking to his friend. I walked out the other exit where I got a maps app up on my phone to see what was the quickest way to get back to the hostel, as the rain was so heavy, my shoes and jeans were soaked through. My legs were cold and my socks were all wet. Horrible sightseeing weather.
Low and behold, this guy turns up in front of me. He must’ve run out of the side door and round the other side to talk to me. I wouldn’t even say it was flattering, just utterly creepy. But also, maybe that’s normal? I am British afterall, we don’t do emotion 😐
So he comes up to me and says, “Hey Beautiful,” again. CRINGE. I was trapped with no escape. I said hello back. What else could I do? He said he saw me eating and asked if I enjoyed my sandwich. CRINGE. He then told me how beautiful I am, and I have a very European look about me. I replied back, well I am Turkish, actually. Looooool. He didn’t get my matter of fact reply, and kept on commenting how beautiful I am and my physique. Basically I have big hips and a big bum. I stick out compared to the super slim, gorgeous blonde Boston girls! He asked if I was local. I said no and I was leaving tomorrow. Get the hint, mate.
He asked me out for coffee, in a proper Boston accent. Can you imagine it? “Would you like to get a cup of cawfee?” I politely declined, and said I had to meet my friend, which I did. We had a baseball game to get to! He clearly didn’t believe me, and insisted we had time for a coffee. There was time, but I didn’t want to. So he let me get on my way. If he insisted, I think I would’ve lost my patience. His name was Phillip and it just reminds me of the Bye Filipe Instagram account, where guys can’t handle rejection.
I feel like I should be flattered. I’ve never been asked on a date like that before, and it took having to come to America for it to happen. No games; just upfront. Hence why I wonder whether that’s why I find it a bit cringe and creepy. A guy who knows what he wants?! Say whaaaaaat? No, it was a bit too much. It might work on Boston girls, but not Princess Ayla.
As with other creepy/stalker encounters I’ve had, they’ve come in threes. Who is next?!
Chuckling to myself, I wandered back to the hostel in the rain… to discover the baseball game had been postponed to July! Annoyed we’ve lost out (and will try to sell the tickets), I was sort of relieved. The rain is so heavy, and so cold, it would’ve been horrible!
So here’s to chilling out in my hostel kitchen window seat, on my last night in America, watching the rain, and traffic go by.
Toronto tomorrow! Canada 🇨🇦 and my last stop on this adventure.