Only two days after Miloš’ arrival, we got into my awesome little Honda Fit and started out for our first road trip. We were headed for Boston! We were listening to a LOT of Florence + the Machine on our road trips, so we nicknamed my car Flo. (Not to be confused with the insurance commercial lady!)
When making our plans of leaving the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I wasn’t really thinking about how that day is one of the busiest travel days of the year. So when we got into Connecticut, we hit some serious traffic. It was bad. I was watching the arrival time on my GPS getting later and later as we barely moved for long stretches at a time. We did eventually get to our hotel, but it was late into the evening. Our room was small, but it was fine for us, and we had a view of part of the city skyline. The hotel was located sort of between South Boston and the Back Bay, but close enough to walk to attractions and popular sites.
It had been a long day. We were tired and hungry. (And Miloš was still dealing with jet lag.) The guy at the desk gave us some advice as to where we could go to find several restaurants. We headed out, but it was freezing cold, so we basically chose a restaurant because it was open (remember, it was late on a Sunday night) and we were too cold to keep walking. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant – the food was good, but a bit overpriced. And the portions really weren’t adequate for a man with Miloš’ appetite. After dinner, it was quite late, so we headed to the hotel to crash.
When we got up the next day, I had a bit of a plan as to what our agenda would be: I wanted to swing by my old school (New England Conservatory) to pick up my updated alumni ID and to show Miloš around. I also wanted us to grab lunch at Quincy Market, and then walk down through downtown towards Boston Common so he could see Cheers, and then walk back via Newbury Street to look at all the fancy stores. My original intention was for us to grab dinner in the North End, but our plans definitely changed for the night – but I’m getting ahead of myself!
We walked for about ten minutes to get to my alma mater, which is just down the block from Symphony Hall. It was so weird to be walking down that stretch of street again. No matter how much time can go by, going back to such a familiar place can make a person feel like they just left. I picked up my ID in the little offices across from the school, then we headed into Jordan Hall.
When we got into the building, I was so glad to find out that there wasn’t anything going on in the performance hall, so we were able to go inside and take a look. (And snap that pic that I posted right above.) I remember not only singing concerts there, but also attending concerts there as well – I got to see The Vienna Boys Choir perform right in that hall, which was a huge treat for me. I then took Miloš on a walk around the building. We walked past the big Beethoven statue, which I remembered being a regular landmark for meeting up with people. (“Meet you at Beethoven!”) And walking through the hall where I used to have my lessons. Then past Williams Hall where I had my Masters recital. We didn’t linger especially long, as we had lots to see and do that day, but it was kind of cool to be back there, even briefly.
We were hungry for some lunch, so it was time to ride the T (Boston’s subway system) up to Government Center to walk over to Quincy Market. For those not familiar with Boston, think of Quincy Market as a food court in a super long building that has basically anything you could want when looking for something quick and easy to eat. I thought it would be perfect, as Miloš is a bit on the picky side, so I KNEW he could find something here.
After our yummy lunch, we headed out. But first I needed a hat – I had accidentally left mine back at home and it was WAY too cold to go without one. All along Quincy Market are little vending carts, and there just happened to be one right there with hats and gloves. Miloš did an excellent job of helping me pick out a hat that was cute and comfy. We were then on our way! There was a huge Christmas tree above Quincy Market where some of the retail stores are, so we snapped a pic before going into one of the stores.
Pretty soon, we were walking in the downtown area headed towards Boston Common. And because of the freezing temps, we made a quick Starbucks break. My winter drink weakness is Chai Tea Latte, and Miloš kind of got hooked on the hot chocolate. Here are some pics from our walk through Boston….
We continued our walk over to Newbury Street and made just a few stops along the way. Near the end of the street, we finally got to one store that was on our agenda – the one that sold the Converse sneakers that Miloš likes. His black ones went missing (stolen?) at the end of his season on the ship and he was looking for new ones to replace them. He got a really cool pair, and we headed back to the hotel.
My intention for the evening was to get a drink at the bar atop the Prudential building and then head to the North End for our actual dinner. But we got out of the room a bit later than we had intended, and were doing our best to get to the Pru before 8:00pm. (After 8pm there is a minimum drink amount required to sit in the lounge at Top of the Hub.) We did make it just in time and were seated at a FABULOUS table right along the window with an amazing view of the city. It was perfect! We ordered drinks and our excellent server snapped some pics for us. This one is my favorite! (It’s so much my favorite that it’s now my FB profile pic! 🙂 )
Pretty soon, a live jazz trio began to play, and we were loving the atmosphere so much, that we decided to just stay for dinner. The prices were comparable to anywhere else we would have gone, and we had an amazing table and view…. so it was decided – we would stay! Dinner was actually really good. (And those drinks we got were super yummy too.) We even got to be witness to some crazy guy freaking out at the bar who was making all kinds of threats and spewing profanities at the top of his lungs. Sometimes real life can be quite entertaining! Afterwards, we wanted to head out to the bars, and it had been recommended by the girl at the Converse shop to just head over to Boyleston Street, and we would have lots of options. After walking a few minutes, we found a pub/bar called Solas. There was a good crowd and they were playing good music, so we positioned ourselves at the bar and got some drinks!
While we were there, I got a message from a former classmate of mine – Glorivy. She was still living in Boston and wanted to know if we could meet up while we were there. We let her know we were leaving the next day and invited her out with us. She was able join us around 11:30 or so. We kept drinking until it was time to leave and go meet her at one of the bars she likes to go to. But once we got to that bar, it was totally dead. In that there was literally one guy in there. So I texted her to give her the heads-up and as soon as she arrived, we headed back to Solas. (Apparently that other bar is usually packed, but we just happened to go on a random fluke of a day.) We got seats at the corner of the bar back at Solas and kept drinking.
So for those of you who know me or read my blog regularly – you guys know I’m a light weight. Yeah. (Just giving that bit of foreshadow of what’s to come….)
It was so great to see Glorivy again, and we spent some time chatting and catching up. We were all talking and talking – having a grand old time! I wish she lived closer – and I totally invited her to come to Vienna to visit me and try to do the whole audition thing too! (The offer still stands Glorivy!) Then after awhile, at some point, we started doing Jäger shots. But these were BIG shots. At this point there was no semblance of the word sober anywhere to be seen. We continued to have a fabulous time until after, oh, about the 3rd Jäger shot each? (Remember, there had been many drinks consumed leading up to that point throughout the evening/night.) So then things went bad and fast. I will not go into detail, but will just say that I will never ever EVER drink Jäger again. In my life. Ever. Never ever.
We got back to our hotel and crashed. (Again, I will leave out the gory details.)
Getting up the next morning was absolute hell on earth. We were going to spend time walking around the city a bit more, and were going to head up to Cambridge to see one of my other former classmates, Amanda. But we could barely sit up, it was that bad. Long story short, we had to cancel our plans with Amanda and decided to just get on the road asap. Besides, the weather was yucky and everyone on FB was talking about it snowing back home. We were able to check out late and get ourselves out the door. (Mind over matter!) But that drive back home was horrendous. I wanted to die. The last two hours or so of the five and a half hour drive were finally more bearable, and we were back in Quakertown by dinnertime.
So to sum up Boston – we had a fabulous time in every way except the over drinking at the very end. Otherwise, it was great to be back, and Miloš really enjoyed seeing the city.
Next up? Our trip to Chicago!