On the morning of the 27th, we (as in Kate [purplicious], her father, and I) walked around central Boston with Matthew (screendoor3) before his flight home - and our travels happened to involve my first experience in trying Philly cheesesteak, which was nothing like I expected and rather good. American food is yet to disappoint me, besides the criminal lack of barbecue sauce at Subway. We also visited the Granary Burying Ground, which is home to the graves of a number of famous people in Boston and US history, and what made me sad is the very poor condition of some graves, with the less notable ones suffering some extreme damage. All of us were surprised with how the site seemed to receive less care than it deserved.
After Matthew's departure, we followed the Freedom Trail around town, although my feet were starting to get tired by this point. My shoes had proved not to be exactly the best to stand in for hours on end, and after all the jumping and general insanity of two U2 shows, my feet were crying for a break. But there were sights to see! Old North Church proved to be fascinating with its box pews - there are actually walls around each pew. I came up with the idea of pew parties: while the pastor is talking, you could duck down below his sight level, invite in people from nearby pews, and throw a party. Or play chess:
Pastor: *says prayer* In Jesus' name, amen.
Pew chess player: CHECKMATE!
We also found the same cool pews in the Old South Meeting House, but much more notably there was a book shop we stumbled across on our way out. It was in a side door and contained the most incredible collection of old, secondhand books. That has to be on the of the best book stores I have been in, with huge sections on all kinds of topics, even geometry of all things! Kate's particularly fascinated by a collection of fairy tales from 1895 that she bought, while I managed to pick up the Complete Works Of Shakespeare, the Canterbury Tales, and a compilation of works by Edgar Allan Poe for a pittance. We spent over an hour in there before we sadly had to leave.
We visited Bunker Hill on the 28th, and it was a bit of a surprise as it wasn't the grandest hill in existence, but it does have a tall obelisk as a monument at the top. Of course, Kate and I had the bright idea to climb the thing, 294 steps and all, even though my feet were already sore despite a night's rest and we had a U2 concert coming up later that day. Kate's father was smart enough to turn around and go back down after only fifty stairs, but we just kept going. The view from the top was awesome, but I still don't know why we inflicted that climb and descent upon ourselves. Suckers for punishment, maybe? Well, anyhow, near Bunker Hill is the USS Constitution, the oldest active naval ship in the world. We were a bit tired to fully appreciate it, but it was really cool to be on such an old ship. It was definitely impressive, though I can't say I would have wanted to serve on it back when it fought battles. Talk about cramped conditions!
Another site we visited, and the last I will note, was the JFK Museum and Library. That was packed with all kinds of stuff, the collection of old newspapers and television footage (especially of the assassination) was fascinating, and I must say I was amused by the songs that were sung by supporters of presidential candidates. The entire museum was very interesting, although a little hard to write about: it's much easier to note how afterwards, we sat outside by the Atlantic and watched the continual stream of planes flying into Logan Airport. Talk about a busy place. Then again, Boston's a large city, though I didn't feel overwhelmed by its size. I wish we'd had more time as there was so much to see and do - and I can't say I have any problem with the climate!
Coming up in the next entry, whenever it happens, the experiences of Kate and I at the 2005-05-28 U2 concert.