i was taking my roommate victor on a tour of boston this morning. he asked if it'd be okay if we left a little later at 11:30 instead, because he wanted to videochat with his parents back home in spain. that gave me time to take a shower and have some oatmeal for breakfast. after hearing a rapid stream of continental spanish, my roommate took a quick shower. a quick glance into his empty bedroom revealed he'd opened his window because it was too hot. blasphemy! but i rather have a roommate feeling hot than feeling cold.
we walked to harvard square to take the no.1 bus into boston, which was already waiting by the time we arrived. i had some slightly-expired (2008) disposable hand warmers that i handed to my roommate to help with the cold. temperature hovered around freezing but sunlight filtered through wispy clouds made it seem a bit warmer (at least in the sun). of my pairs of hand warmers, one of them worked great, but the other felt lumpy with spotted bits of warmth.
passing central square and then MIT, we got off the bus at the hynes convention center. we walked down newbury to copley square, where a large group of libyan protesters immediately caught our attention. we toured the boston public library ("i know you guys don't have books in spain") where my roommate revealed that he forgot to recharge his camera battery.
next i presented the trinity church ("you've must of seen your share of churches in europe") as well as the hancock tower ("first glass skyscraper in the world"). we followed commonwealth avenue northeast to the public garden and boston common. it was nice seeing the george washington statue since i've been reading his biography (i'm at the second continental congress). we took a quick detour to see cheers nearby. at the intersection of charles and boylston street we ran into a noisy mob of pro-choice protestors, on their way to a rally in support of planned parenthood.
because victor wasn't shooting (due to camera battery drama), that affected how i was shooting - a little bit over a 100 photos, which isn't very much by my normally quantity-over-quality style.
my original plan was to have a late lunch in chinatown before continuing with the rest of the tour; that was until victor told me he didn't much care for chinese food. "how about vietnamese?" i asked. "what's that?" he said. sensing a lost cause, i decided we'd visit chinatown anyway, but wouldn't eat there. i did stop by a vietnamese sandwich shop to get something for dinner before we made it to the chinatown gate.
from chinatown we continued to the southern end of downtown crossing and back into boston common. the large group of protesters had congregated at a hexagonal pavilion. which stopped to watch the rally briefly, before going to frog pond to see the skaters then until through a bit of beacon hill to see the boot scrapers. next was the state house, where earlier there was a large organized protest in support of wisconsin unions, but now the only sign of prior activity was a van packing up some equipment.
from the state house we moved to tremont street to see the granary burial ground (it was closed, probably due to the snow), king's chapel, and the omni parker house. moving onto washington street, there was old city hall (with it's benjamin franklin statue) and the old state house, site of the infamous boston massacre.
from city hall (a fine example of brutalist architecture) we walked through quincy market. the smell of food made us hungry (it was 3:00 by then), but instead of eating the more touristy fares within the confines, i suggested nearby north end for some fine italian dining, a cuisine choice more conducive to discerning spanish tastes.
we cut through hay market. i was tempted to pick up a few produce items, but decided i'd come back next weekend instead.
as we walked the commercial length of hanover street, we marveled at the two pastry shops crowded with patrons with lines snaking out the door. people love their weekend cannoli! i decided to revisit lucia, a restaurant i last visited when john came to town. lacking the proper food imagination, i went with what i had before, the mussel linguine: good the first time, good the second time too. victor ended up treating, as a token of appreciate for taking him out on this boston tour. i volunteered to pay the tip, something which victor was about to forgo when i told him it's practically mandatory in american dining.
after food, we went back across hay market, then walked to the boston garden, home of the celtics. that was the last stop on the tour. we grabbed the subway from north station and came all the way back to cambridge. "how far do you think we walked today?" asked victor. our total route was approximately 6 miles long. "why, do you have any leg pains?" i replied. he said his knee was a little sore. i nodded knowingly, but didn't tell him the back of my right knee hurt as well. thankfully we still had sunday to recuperate.
at porter square we briefly visited city sports so victor can check out some running shoes before coming home.
later for dinner i ate one of the banh mi sandwiches. the tough bread cut the roof of my mouth.