Today is gonna be a record-breaker, with the mercury set to top 90 degrees, (as the TV weatherman excitedly tells us). I think that means it’s going to be well hot. Anyway, breakfast despatched we caught the hotel shuttle to the Andrew MTA station and ‘rode the T’ four stops to Park Street at one corner of Boston Common. Ten minutes walk along Tremont and we were passing Kings Chapel, which is like very old in American terms, so we stopped and took a little look around. It was ok; quite interesting, but I have to admit the pews inside were the most comfy-looking pews I have ever seen. More like sofas – one slightly boring sermon on a Sunday like today and half the congregation will be asleep.
Another 10 mins brought us to our first real destination – Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. These are the original meeting halls for the city of Boston. Took a look inside Faneuil (which is restored to both its original purpose and glory) and then strolled around Quincy – which is a vast market and food hall. There were lots of ‘treasures’ to poke and examine and yes, already a couple Xmas presses are crossed off the list. There were lots of buskers and entertainers, some of whom were actually funny. We watched and were amused by a knife and chainsaw juggler calling himself the Street Daredevil for quite some time – he was so good even Wendy was keen to tip him.
After some lunch we continued walking to Columbus Park which was supposed to be the start point for today’s Columbus Day parade (even though Columbus Day is technically tomorrow). Sure enough various marching bands were tuning up, sundry majorettes were practicing twirling their batons and assorted members of the armed forces were admiring the majorettes. After what seemed a serious amount of chaos, the parade got under way. Getting everyone despatched took well over an hour and it was great watching them go – they take it so seriously and every High School seems to have a marching band. Highlight of the lot for me was the Alleppo Shriners, who are appear to be a) an organisation similar in philosophy to the Masons, and b) mad as a bag of ferrets. They had loads of different things in the parade, including miniature trucks they drove round like dervishes and a couple of tiny fire engines with ladders that would struggle to reach a ground floor window. The fact they all wore a Tommy Cooper fez was just the icing on the cake for me.
By this time the temperature really was getting up to 30 degrees (that’s degrees Celsius, in real money) so a cold drink break was in order. Up past the new City Hall they were filming an action movie – apparently it’s going to be called ‘R.I.P.D’ and stars Ryan Renolds and Jeff Bridges, though didn’t catch a sight of either of them. We continued up to Boston Common for another historical ramble.
Facts I learned about Boston Common: 1. It’s a nice big park with a frog pond and a bandstand. 2. Er, it’s historical, something to do with Paul Revere and the War of Independence and things. 3. That’s it.
There’s lots of statues and plaques and stuff of course, but who can be mithered to read all that? It’s knee-deep in ‘militiamen’ and ladies in bonnets leading groups of eager Japanese and talking about ‘The shot that was heard round the world’ and all that shizzle. Meanwhile we just emulated the real Bostoninans and kicked back and enjoyed the late afternoon sun.
As the day drew on we packed up and rode the T back to Andrew and the hotel. A good day. A hot day. Tomorrow looks like it’s going to continue!