Adventures In Boston

There was one day on my trip where four of us from school managed to meet up. It's amazing how easy it was for us all to just fall back into place, you'd never know it had been 6 years since we were all together and it will probably be another few years before we get the chance to meet up again so we had to make the most of it.

We booked into the Sheraton hotel in, near enough, the centre of Boston. If you're looking for ra place to stay I'd highly recommend it, the staff were very friendly and the location was great for shopping, eating and access to various touristy activities.

Anyways, Saturday morning came and we dragged ourselves out of bed, grabbed a starbucks from the hotel lobby and headed to the city centre marked by Quincy Market.

It's full of the most amazing sights and smells, from cookies and pretzels to lobster and beer. If you're lucky there may even be a few free samples to sniff out.

There was also some kind of car show going on right out front. We overheard a lady saying, in the worst English accent ever, "top of the morning' to ya' ". which Sara just thought was the funniest thing ever especially since I was there....don't ask. It was definitely amusing, although maybe I should've been offended at the stereotype, but hey it gave us a good giggle.

After a little exploring around the market place we headed to our meeting point for the Freedom Trail, basically a guided tour around the city led by a gent in a costume.

By the time we were done with the Freedom trail we had certainly worked up an appetite and we knew just the place for some food. I'd been waiting all week to head to the cheesecake factory, but my logic definitely paid off. I figured if I held off till the four of us were together then there would be more cheesecake to sample. BEST IDEA EVER!!

We had to restrain ourselves from nibbling on the bread that the waiter brought us as we just knew we'd never manage our main course let alone pudding. When my main arrived I immediately knew I was in trouble, I ordered the cashew chicken with brown rice which was good but I'm sure it could've fed 3 people.

Of course it had to be washed down by a mojito, probably the best one I had on my trip.

After attempting, and failing to eat our mains, we had to save some space for our mains after all, the waiter brought back the menus for us to pick dessert. It was such a difficult task, I could've eaten any of them however I was under strict instruction, from my brother, to try the s'mores cheesecake.

Oh My...it was amazing!

My genius idea really was that! I also got to sample the salted caramel, banana, and lemon and raspberry. Mine was definitely the best though.

Needless to say we redefined what it meant to be full. From now on all meals will be measure in comparison to 'cheesecake factory full'.

We had to sit a while before we could even contemplate moving again, but when we did we decided to take our time and walk back through Boston Commons and public garden, which I don't think we had fully appreciated when our stomachs were rumbling at us.

We finished up our day at the harbour, watching boats come in and just generally appreciating the last of our day together.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Sara, then Kirsten, Taylor and I drove out to Cape Cod.



A day in Salem

Back in high school I read The Crucible; for those who don't know its a play about the Salem Witch trials of 1962, its really good, I highly recommend it! So naturally one of the things on my to do list for the trip was visit Salem.

Taylor and I had been joined by Kirsten the night before and stayed up a little later than intended with cocktails and nibbles so we weren't so great at getting up, but armed with coffee we figured we'd be alright after the 40min drive to Salem.

Our first stop was the Salem Witch trial Memorial, dedicated in 1992, it is a tribute to the 20 people who died during the hysteria.

Just down the street from the memorial was the witch village and wax museum, which we thought would be filled with information on the witch trials. Lets just say we should've done a bit more research before we made the trip. The Wax museum was actually pretty interesting, it told you a little more about the history of Salem, the people who settled there and how they made a living.

After learning a little about the history of Salem we headed across the road to hear about the actual witch trials, this is the part we got a little wrong. Salem witch village was not in fact a tour of the village where the trials occurred but in a lesson on the history of witches, we're not too sure how accurate some of the tales were but the tour guide was entertaining so I wasn't bored.

Between the wax museum and the memorial was 'The Burying Point', as the sign says it is the oldest graveyard in Salem and there are some pretty famous guys buried here including the great great grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthrone. Notice the spelling difference? Well he added the 'w' to distinguish himself from his relative who was linked so closely to the with trials.

After snooping through the graveyard and trying to find these famous graves we were famished so grabbed a bite to eat with a great mojito before heading back out to explore.

We weren't quite sure what to do next so we decided to follow the red line, the Heritage trail. It's a red line that runs around Salem taking you past all the historical sites. However my favourite site was definitely this one....

It was filled with lots of exciting things, chocolates, sweets, peanut brittle. Kid in a candy store says it all really. It took a really long time to pick out some treats to take away, but hey the best things take time!

Unfortunately it was time to head back to the city to grab some dinner and wait for Sara to join us. We started our meal at Piattini with Bellinis, presseco and wine followed by some good hearty Italian food. We picked up a couple of extra bottles of wine on the way back to the hotel ready for Sara's arrival.



A New Experience

If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed I'm not in the UK at the moment. The best and worst thing about going to an International school is the fact that after graduation everyone spreads out across the world, keeping in touch can be tricky but also totally worth it. This year has been a bit of a reunion year for me; firstly my trip to Geneva (read about it here) and now my trip to Boston.

There was one thing on my list of things to do that was a first for me...I had never been to an American sporting event before and I always got the impression that the sports fans over here were in a different league to the ones we have at home. I must say their stamina is definitely something I found tricky to contend with.

Still struggling with jet lag and the 38°C (100°f) heat wave we headed to the famous Fenway Park.

We wanted to be there early to get parked and get some food, a beer and just generally experience the atmosphere.

After grabbing a quick bite in the restaurant opposite the ball park at Cask n' Flagon we picked up a couple of baseball hats in the hope of keeping us a little cooler. We still had time to kill so headed into the Bleacher bar for a second beer. from inside you look into fenway park and can see the players warming up. One of the Canadian players came over and signed some of the kids hats - such a sweet thing to do, you could just tell it made their day!

Anyways we decided we should head into Fenway and stock up on a couple of waters to help combat the heat. We had a little wander along to see the treats on offer and just generally experience 'America's most beloved ballpark' before taking our seats.

We asked a fellow fan to take a snap of us in the bullpen car, unfortunately this wasn't their strong suit, oh well.

The game got off to a rather slow start but I believe that's a pretty common thing in both baseball and American football. I mean no offence to any American sports fans but the game seemed to be a lot of nothing and then an exciting 30 seconds or so, don't get me wrong though those 30 seconds were very exiting; balls flying into the crowd and home runs which made the spectators go crazy. Of course I had to join in and embrace it; after all that was the whole point of going to the game.

The game must've lasted 4+ hours, hence my admiration of American sports fans! I can't imagine anyone watching one football or rugby game for that long. Although it was like a constant game of musical chairs, people getting up and down every couple of minutes for a bathroom break or to get more food/drink, it was a little annoying. It felt a little more like a social event than a sports game however the atmosphere was something else!

I am so glad I went and most importantly the Red Sox won so what more can you ask for, although I must confess I didn't make it right to the end of the game. I had to fight against the jet lag after the first hour and a half, so we left a little early so that I could avoid falling asleep in the seats.

It was definitely in experience, not one I'd repeat every week but if you've never been to a baseball game its definitely worth the watch.



And so it begins...

As you know I have been swimming with my local masters club recently which I'm really enjoying, unfortunately I haven't been going quite so much recently but life has been getting in the way as per usual! I make sure I get in the pool at least once a week although thats about to change. Last Friday was our first coached session in the build up to the swimming competition in November.

I haven't put my entries in yet, still trying to decide what to swim but this will be the first competition I have done since 2008 and I'm probably slower that what I was back the. I just think its going to be good fun, and even if I do terribly we'll have a great time as a team.

Sadly this is not the pool, this was the Commonwealth Games last year.

I honestly don't know what our coach was thinking there was too much fly for our first session! I won't share the whole thing just the killer set which I actually really enjoyed after it was over.

25 fly, 50 fly/back, 75 fly/back/breast, 100 IM, 100 reverse IM, 75 fc/breast/back, 50 fc/breast, 25 fc

As if doing that once wasn't bad enough we had to run through it twice, the first time it was all kick, the second all swim.

I don't think I have ever been quite so desperate to get to bed after a swim session. I suppose its a good thing though cause hopefully if we keep this up I won't embarrass myself too much at the competition.
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