We were all getting a bit tired of new places by now but arriving into the north end of Boston was a thrill. It’s a humming little Italy lined with cafes, gelaterias and restaurants, interspersed with historic churches and cobbled lanes. Our charming one bedroom apartment was on the main street, Hanover St, opposite the fire station with two big shiny fire engines. The Old North Church where Paul Revere started his ride was a few steps away. The towering statue of Revere on his horse (cue Alice’s clip clop sound effect) was our landmark.
Forunately Mark only had a couple of appointments in Boston, a day trip to a conference and a talk to give at Harvard. The kids and I explored the neighbourhood on the first day, finding a good playground and an even better fountain which was controlled by buttons. Interactive water features were quite a big thing in both Seattle and Boston. I suppose they don’t have water restrictions to consider. Anyway, we made the most of it.
We also discovered the local library which was a godsend, especially when the weather turned grey and drizzly. It had a relief of Dante on the wall and a reflection pond in the centre. There was a small but cosy children’s area with puzzles and games as well as books. I was also able to get a “courtesy card” to use the internet. Aren’t libraries brilliant?
With Mark we took a Duck Tour of Boston, on a replica of a WWII amphibious vehicle. The driver and narrator was hugely informative and entertaining, though Felix got “tired of his voice” after half an hour. After driving around the city for the first 45 minutes, we drove down a ramp and splashed into the river, finishing the tour with a leisurely cruise. This was the part Felix had been waiting for and he even got to have a drive. It was top fun. Quack quack.
After our five day stay was over, we embarked on the long long journey home. We checked out and took all our luggage to the amazing Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which has a truly stunning collection. The children were pretty much over art by this stage but Mark and I marvelled at all the Impressionist works, Greek, Roman and Egyptian artefacts, and the vast collection of musical instruments from around the world that deserves more attention than a restless 4 year old allows. It also has a very nice cafeteria and shop, I can assure you.
From there it was straight to the airport, a six hour flight to LA, a six hour wait and a fourteen hour flight to Sydney. I don’t want to remember the scene at LAX when both children started howling in the middle of the crowded terminal, fighting to be the one to cuddle mummy. Felix stayed awake till he was buckled in to his seat on the final flight, then fell asleep sitting up. He’d been awake for 21 hours. Fortunately they both crashed for a decent length of time and the flight home was actually quite bearable.
We were all happy to get home. Alice ran around crowing with delight to see all her familiar things. She put her gumboots on and they barely came off for the next week. Felix stayed up valiantly till 5pm on the first day and was never more happy about getting into his own bed.