Sunday, July 1, 2012

Touring Beantown, Day 1

The morning started a bit early, up by 6am and eating breakfast at 7am. Our motel, the Comfort Inn in Randolph, MA offers a nice complimentary breakfast, much more than the usual pastries, coffee and juices. I know that we will be doing a fair amount of walking, and I like to start my days with a big breakfast. This place allows that. Yesterday and today I ate two hard boiled eggs, a whole wheat bagel with two tablespoons peanut butter, a banana, Dannon Light and Fit blueberry yogurt with 1/4 cup Fiber All cereal and coffee. We planned to grab a meal somewhere along our tour at noonish, so this would be a great start to the day. (It's good to have plans. It's better if they work out. Which is never guaranteed.)
We bought two day passes to the Beantown Trolley tour. This is a guided tour of Boston,with trolleys running at half hour intervals. This allows riders to get off at any location for greater exploration at specific sites and then climb back aboard the next trolley and continue the tour. If you are visiting Boston, this is a great way to learn about the city. Buying a two-day pass is very efficient because it gives you a chance to see the whole tour, and then spend the remaining day and all the next day on adventures visiting sights that are of special interest.

The trolley picked us up at our motel and we started the tour. At the end of the first circuit, we exited the trolley and took our first adventure on foot. Yesterday, Alyssa with Bites Of Boston Food Tours told us about an art and food outdoor market, located in the Art District (near the theater district and Chinatown), an area known as SoWa (South of Washington Avenue.) Since the Beantown trolley stopped near that area, we decided to check it out.

The first layer of this adventure was completely out of our control. It was hot (90F) and humid (64%). That is not a terrible thing, but the second layer of the adventure was that we were not completely sure of how to get where we wanted. Boston's city streets are not laid out in a normal straight grid pattern. We first walked a few blocks one way, then realized that we were going in the wrong direction and backtracked several (many?) blocks. Then, we found out that we were headed in the correct direction initially and turned around. Eventually, we decided to go "that way" and hope for the best. We got where we wanted to go.

It was a nice market, focused on artwork of every type. (Alyssa, thanks for mentioning that while we were on the food tour.) Painting, sculpture, fabrics and repurposed materials shared space with food trucks, a pet snack bakery, and organic food vendors.

And there was a henna artist, too.

By the time the henna tattoo was completed on Tammy's foot, we needed to get back to our pickup point. I wanted to visit the U.S.S. Constitution and since that is not open on Mondays, I needed to do that today. We didn't stay at the market to eat, because I didn't get in line early enough. Everyone wanted the same thing I wanted (Lobster Roll). Oh well, we'll get some food soon. (Riiiiiight.)

We walked back to the drop off place turning the corner just as the trolley drove off. Sigh. Another one will arrive in 30 minutes. That will still give us time to grab some food and do the U.S.S. Constitution. Probably. Eventually, the trolley arrived and all was fine, except that this driver took us on slightly different routes, and took several long stops (15 minutes at one for no apparent reason, 10 minutes at another stop for a bathroom break) and then stopped to take his lunch break two stops later. At that stop, we were told that the next trolley would be there to pick us up in 20 minutes.

Okay.We will just see the ship. We will find some food when we get to the motel. (Gotta love it when plans fall into place!)

The ship was cool. I am glad I wasn't in the US Navy serving on that ship. It is small!

We finished that tour and waited for the final trolley ride back to the starting point, for the shuttle back to the motel. And food! We arrived back, and were told that our shuttle wouldn't be ready for 75  minutes. So, that gave us time for food!

It was Italian time! Just down the street was a nice Italian place, Vapiano. We ordered a mixed antipasti platter to eat there, and then a small pizza to go. We didn't know how long it would take to prepare the food, and I really didn't want to miss the shuttle back to the motel.

Mixed Antipasti

Very good food. A rustic bread with chopped tomatoes, some marinated artichoke hearts, shaved parmesan, slice tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, giardiniere of veggies and some Kalamata olives. It tastes even better that it looks!

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Thin Crust Pizza

The pizza arrived right away, so we ate it there instead of taking it to go. Such a good pizza! We waited a lot longer than planned for our meal, but I can say it was worth it. (And this meal kicked the butt of the Mexican meal yesterday.)

Dessert was at the motel. Our first night, we had stopped at a Godiva shop in the mall the held the Legal Seafood restaurant. Tonight we enjoyed two truffles each. We each had a tiramisu truffle, and Tammy had a dark chocolate shell, while I had an extra-dark chocolate truffle.

Tomorrow's plan? The Beantown Trolley to start, then a 3.5 mile walk on the Freedom Trail, ending back at the U.S.S Constitution. Then we will ride back to Fanueil Hall for some shopping and snacking. From there we will wander to the Boston Aquarium, followed by a seafood restaurant.

Those are the plans. I wonder what will really happen?

FYI: Boston has quite a few hills and we climbed up and down the streetswhile trying to find our way to the market. That, combined all the other stairs we climbed made for some impressive numbers on my Fitbit. We walked 8.31 miles, 18,570 steps and climbed the equivalent of 101 flights of stairs.

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