It’s called Spring Break as it is supposed to coincide with the rapid melting of snow and the appearance of new buds on the trees, but as I sit here looking out of my window in Montreal neither seem to be happening right now. Just five hours south of here, in Boston, spring was slightly more advanced, but I have to say it was not imminent. There was less snow on the sidewalks and the temperature was a good few degrees warmer, but we’re still a few weeks shy of seeing buds on branches.
‘Tis no matter! For today it rains, and it rains a lot and that can only mean one thing – snow, you will wither and melt in rain’s healthy warm onslaught! Be gone! Get thee hence to endless night….or something like that. Bottom line, rain accelerates spring by destroying snow far quicker than even the sun could do it on its own.
Speaking of Boston, I did want to wrap up the trip by penning some last thoughts before I forget them. Four days is not a long time and it felt like even less. All too soon we were packing our bags trying to work out how we ended up with about 50% more luggage for the return trip. I think part of the problem was that the main shopping street, Newbury Street, was literally one block from our hotel. Combine this with the fact that the Canadian dollar is on par with the US and finally add in a good dose of “everything always seems to be cheaper in the US” and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a major shopping spree. It doesn’t hurt that there is no tax on goods that are valued at below $175, and even if you’re buying something that is worth more than that, not saying we did, then you’re only dinged a meagre 6%. Compared to the usual 15.75% we’re used to here in Quebec, it all led us to believe that they were practically giving us the stuff. We would have been foolish to refuse such a hospitable gesture. Right?
OK so one can talk oneself into anything can’t one? Sure, I didn’t need to buy everything that I did, but I don’t feel too guilty about it either. It’s not like I have a problem. I mean I can stop whenever I want to. In fact, there is a lot to do in Boston that is not related to shopping and we discovered that four days is not nearly enough time to get it all done. One of the things we did enjoy as a family was the wonder of the New England Aquarium. Neither Marie nor I anticipated this being such a magical visit for us as it would be for the kids, but life under the sea is beautiful, serene, ugly and terrifying, all at the same time. I was reminded of the utter vastness of this planet and of frankly the tiny role that we, as humans, play in it. We’re supposed to be sharing it, and as we were here second we should be asking permission to share, but we tend to want it all for ourselves and have little concern for our fellow creatures. When you see the variety of life that exists, some forms going back literally millions of years, it’s hard not to stop and wonder at the immenseness of it all.
As breathtakingly beautiful as some of the fish are, you’ll find a couple of truly ugly fellas as well, the most frightening being the Moray eel. Quite how this poor chump got to be so hideously grotesque is beyond me. I can only assume that he lost a bet somewhere along the way. The gent at the aquarium told us they had five of these monsters in the large tank, “But you’ll be lucky if you get to see one! They hide during the day, and you probably wouldn’t wanna see one anyway“. Well, turns out that we did get lucky, if you can call it that, and I managed to snap a photo of surely the ugliest creature of them all. Trust me, those beady blue eyes follow you everywhere. It’s spooky.
You’ll eat well in Boston. You can be sure of that. Marie had done a bunch of very good research prior to our departure and we had all our restaurants planned out ahead of time, although not booked, thus allowing us the flexibility to change our minds should we walk past an establishment that looked too good to miss. The three nights we were there we ate at three very different restaurants and all of them were brilliant. By that I mean we would eat there again and I am recommending them to you right now.
- Myers & Chang: a funky indie/diner setting that offers hot, tasty Asian food in a distinctly American setting. The food arrives as it comes off the line, so you never know what’s going to land on the table next, but you can be sure of one thing- it’ll be hot!
- Island Creek Oyster Bar: only open for a short while, this restaurant has already established itself as a favourite amongst the locals, and with good reason. The ambience is brilliant, the food equally so. If you do happen to stay at the Eliot as we did, you can walk here.
- Eastern Standard Kitchen: another walk from the hotel, this place evokes the Parisian bistro but with decidedly American sized portions. I would recommend sharing an appetizer and even then, following the main, you may not have enough room for dessert. We can eat, and we had to stop after the flat-iron steak and frites.
So Boston, we will be back. We did not have nearly enough time to see everything that we wanted to see, but that’s OK as it gives us the perfect excuse to make the journey south sometime in the near future to pick up where we left off. À bientôt!