Each year I like to organize a trip during the summer that, in addition to taking me to a place I have not seen before, gives me the opportunity to explore the historic aspect of the place and also allows me to take interesting photographs.
This past summer I chose Boston, centre of the origins of American history and focused on it’s past and recent events.
The first goal of my trip was to follow the “Freedom Trail”, a distance of about four miles that goes from one end to the other of the city down town and along which, you can visit the historical monuments that represent events that had a significant role in the establishment of Boston’s history and that of the United States. However, before starting my story on this journey, which will be divided into 3 parts, I would like to make a brief introduction of the city itself.
On the evening of my arrival, with a Bostonian friend, whom I met in Italy, I went in the recently developed and very attractive water front. To my surprise, I met costplayers all around, attending the “Boston Comicon bostoncomiccon.com/.”
After taking a tour of the exhibit, I walked the promenade along the docks, once used by the fishermen of the North End. Here you can find the big chain restaurants, that have spread all along the east coast of the United States, which have great fish dishes in their menu. I tried Legal Sea Food, where I can only recommend everything on the menu, because of its quality and unparalleled taste. The promenade is always full of life and offers amazing walks at sunset overlooking the ocean. At Sundown one cannot miss going to the many Irish pubs around the area, a tradition still very much alive since the Irish immigration during the first decades of the 1900s.
On the second day of my stay I decided to take the “Duck tour”, a nice tour of the city, one can take on board of copies of the amphibious vehicles that the US military used in World War II to land on the beaches during their attacks. Once on board the driver, usually a nice character that is also a guide, will take you on a tour of the city and of the river Charles as well. This allows you to see many buildings, including MIT, from the water. This experience, which gives you also a glimpse of the’ whole city, and of its Mistyc River, allows you to understand how Boston manages to be a big city without being hectic. I have already referred to this subject and now I would like to explain it in more details by telling you about the beautiful relationship that Bostonians have with their river. Children begin sailing very young and, in recent years especially, the cleaning of their river is a duty for all the inhabitants of this city. This beautiful civic sense, in many ways, reminds me of the spirit found in the capitals of northern Europe.
Boston is a city built on European urban planning, thanks to the fact that, like many European capitals, it was built in the 1700 by architects inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment period’s city planning coupled with Rationalism thinking. The buildings are not high, the streets are wide and there are many pedestrian areas with trees and gardens, you have this general feeling that not everything has been incorporated by concrete.
Another intresting part of this city are its suburbs; not the usual rows of identical houses, but homes completely different from one another: Victorian houses, the houses from the 20s and 30s, houses built in the 60 and 70, and finally, some examples of completely modern houses that fit in very well in this environment and all are strictly 200 meters or less from the ocean. I suggest you visit Winthrop six miles away from Boston and a completely different world.
Before moving on to the incredible historical sites that represent the events that took place within and in the surroundings of this great city, which have contributed to form one of the most influential nations of contemporary history, I would like to say a few words about the people who live there today, especially about the youngsters.
Boston is a city with several universities, MIT and Harvard are just some of the prestigious universities that are located near the centre of town, and for this reason, all around them there are many clubs and shops considered “Hip”, hence the word Hipster, which have created a style which is a blend of history and modern life, with which I fell in love. In Europe one can find rare examples of a city with strong historical roots that has been able to modernize without losing its authenticity. Most European cities are an irregular and inconsistent mixture of these two things, while Boston is able to have both a library overlooking the cemetery where the founding fathers are buried and streets full of fashion shops, which are not bigger than your living room and hide well in terraced houses of the turn of the century.
In this introduction I have already dwelt too much on details and I hope that these words will transpire not only what I have seen, but also all the sensations that hit you when you travel: the comparisons of the new place with your home, the curiosity about different life stiles and above all the spirit of adventure; after all this is Culture in Action !