On Sunday morning I woke up and showered. Zina still had muffins from the day before and I had some with some cut fruit. After two very full conference days, I was ready to just relax. Since my flight home didn’t leave until 8:20 p.m., I had plenty of time to explore the city of Boston. The first step was to finalize my plans for the afternoon. I originally had plans with another SQPN friend to go exploring, but her plans changed. I tried contacting another family via text, but they were soon leaving for home. So that left me alone for the afternoon, which was absolutely fine with me. Cliff and Fr. Roderick had planned a “tweetup” for the afternoon in Cambridge. Zina let me play with the iPad (and now I really, really want one). 😉 I looked up the list of all those attending and found that many would be there.
My next step was to find a church to attend for Sunday mass. The Liss family were intending to go to their home church, drop the boys off with a relative and then go to the tweetup. Zina encouraged me to go to a church in the North End and showed me information about St. Stephen’s on the iPad. I loved that idea since I was intending to go there for one of my audio tours anyway.
She let me know that on Sundays during the summer there are festivals for saint days and found out that there would be one happening this weekend. We looked up information about St. Stephen’s Church and found out that there was one Sunday mass. Since the bus schedule is very sporadic on Sunday, we looked up the train schedule and she printed out directions in how to get from Park Street station to the church. I said good-bye to the boys and armed with directions I was on my way. I had no problem walking a little further to the train station (the Ducttape family, Zina and I had walked from there on Friday night) and I found my way to the Red Line train. The station they live near has a really neat metal “T” and the building has a colorful banner outside of it.
I had every intention of taking the subway all the way to Park Street, but the subway system had other plans. I was listening to my iPod and when we arrived at Kendall station, another passenger told me that that was the last stop. I followed the crowd to the street and loaded on a bus to shuttle over to Park Street. Eventually I did get there and once I got my bearings I was able to find my way from Boston Common to the church. I passed Mike’s Pastry on the way and intended to go back later, but didn’t.
St. Stephen’s is a very old church (as you can see from the photo of the sign). Zina informed me that years ago both levels were used with the wealthy on the main level and the enslaved on the upper level. It has a beautiful pipe organ that was used throughout the service and a huge chandelier. Here are some photos of the inside of the church:
At presentation, members of the Society of Maria Della Cava (the saint the North End was celebrating that day) came up and presented flowers.
After mass, I discovered that the Festival for Maria Della Cava was happening on the street right outside the church. There were many vendors with food, drinks, entertainment and games all down the street.
I had a pasta dish for lunch, a lemonade made from lemons and my first canoli! The “Original Canoli Girl From North End” had me sample all three flavors, but I went with the original and it was delicious! 🙂
After a bit, I walked a few blocks to the Christopher Columbus Park (with help by Google Maps on my Blackberry) where my MP3 HarborWalk audio tour was to begin. It was introduced by the mayor, who called it the “Hahbah” and it was a very good and informative tour. It was recommended by my friend Lea who did it with her husband on their recent trip their and I thank her so much for the recommendation! 🙂 This tour had me seeing the beauty of the water and many, many sites along the way. Just look how blue this water is – gorgeous!
I never would have seen all these sites and learned so much about them on my own, so I’m very grateful to have taken it. My favorite part was passing by the aquarium and seeing these cute harbor seals.
Another highlight was seeing the James Hook Lobster Company, the oldest in the city. It was just closing as I got there, but I did get to see their tanks of live lobsters – yikes!
After that tour, I was about mile away from where I started, so I walked back to the downtown area. The Friday afternoon tour was very helpful in getting my bearing and in finding my way. It was very warm that day, but in the Columbus park and downtown there were water fountains that sprayed up from the ground helping people stay cool. The kids enjoyed it the most.
I eventually got back to Boston Common all on my own! Zina told me that the Public Garden was “right next” to Boston Common, but it was still confusing. With the help of a paper map I had (and the assistance of a few people on Facebook) I found it. What a beautiful place! 🙂 This audio tour started on the bridge over the lagoon and was much different. It had a track for each location but instead of directing you exactly where to go and when like the HarborWalk you paused it, found the next stop on your own (which wasn’t always easy) and then started it up again. It was very beautiful in the garden. They had different people on the tour talking about each stop. Highlights included the bench featured in Good Will Hunting, the actual Cheers bar across the street (the fake one some attendees went to and it is in Quincy Market), the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, the swan boats and the September 11th Memorial Garden of Remembrance.
I saw quite a few street musicians during Sunday afternoon, including this one in the garden.
As I was finishing my tour, it was getting closer and closer to the time I was to meet Jeff and Zina. The meetup ended at 5 and I was still downtown at 4:30. I booked it over to the Common and waited for the next shuttle to Kendall. I got a text from Jeff after I was on the bus asking where I was and I wrote back that I was on my way to Kendall. Since it was so close to 5, I wrote that I would meet them at the condo instead of the bar where the meetup was taking place. After I reached the subway, I read his next one asking me to text when I was on the train but had no reception. Instead I texted when I was at Alewife, the station nearest to their condo.
Once I arrived there, I texted him to let him know I was there and asked if they could get me from there. I assumed they were already at the condo and would be there in minutes. Apparently they were still at the meetup because it took them quite a while to come. It ended up being a very good thing, though, because a” Godincidence” happened about 20 minutes after I arrived.
While I was sitting on the short cement wall, I looked across the street and pondered the person coming towards me. Wheeling a suitcase behind him was a man who looked a lot like Matthew Warner. As he got closer I was sure it was him! I paused my iPod and took out my earphones to say hello. I asked him if he was on his way to the airport and he was. Talk about divine intervention! I told him that Jeff and Zina were on their way to get me to take ME to the airport and it would probably be no problem for him to come with us. We talked for a little bit and it turned out that he was having dinner with a friend at the restaurant across the street. Before long, Battlecar Gallatica pulled up. Inge and Myra were also with them and with the removal of Owen’s booster seat and Zina moving to that seat (with a Neat Sheet over it from Saturday’s incident) they had room for Matt and he sat in the passenger seat in the front.
I hopped in the back with Inge and we swung by the condo to get my suitcase. I also ran in and grabbed my phone charger that I knew was still in the outlet in the room. Once my bag was secure in the van, Myra, Inge and Zina stayed at the condo and Jeff, Matthew and me were on our way to the airport. His flight was leaving at 8:45 so it was perfect timing for both of us. Jeff and Matthew had a nice chat along the way, which was good because they hadn’t met before. Jeff dropped me off at my airline check-in first and I said good-bye to Matt and thanked Jeff profusely for their hospitality.
Inside, I checked in easily at the Midwest desk and headed up to my gate. I’m pretty sure it was the exact same gate I landed at, but I could be wrong. Across from the gate was a gift shop where I got my traditional overpriced magnet and postcards and a bottle of water and pretzels. My phone barely had a charge, so I happily plugged it in to the charger while I waited for the plane. As soon as I sat down, I realized that I just paid $4 for a liter of water and there was a water fountain right outside the store! A little while later, I walked up to the food court. I attempted to get a salad from McDonald’s, but they were out so I got a parfait instead – delicious! By the time I got back to the gate, many more people were there and I lost my prime seat (which also happened after a bathroom break in Milwaukee).
Eventually, it was time to load the plane and happily it went a lot smoother and faster this time. As we were boarding I noticed Dr. Paul was also on my flight! Once he saw me we chatted a little bit as we were waiting to board. He told me that he and Fr. Jay had dinner at the North End at the festival and I told him that I was there in the afternoon. It ended up that he was seated in the row right ahead of me on the plane. This flight there was a lot more overhead bin space so there was no need to gate check my bag (yeah!). Dr. Paul had a Mike’s Pastry box with him and was bringing home cookies for his family (aww!). He had an iPad and was “working” on it throughout the flight (so he says). It’s all play to me when it comes to that amazing device.
After being surrounded by them all weekend and getting to play with one myself, I’m more and more convinced that I want one myself. This was only Dr. Paul’s first flight and he would be getting home by 12:30 a.m. The flight went very well and we arrived right on time at 9:55 p.m. (losing an hour along the way).
Although I am unsure if we left from the same gate we landed in and know we entered the same gate we left from. There was a burger place across the hall, so it’s certain it was the same. After landing, Dr. Paul and I said good-bye and I walked up to the terminal where my dad was waiting. He greeted me with a hug, we walked to the car and he drove me home. It was a very long day and I was ready to see my bed. I unpacked my sleeping clothes and went right to sleep.
So after three days and many hours I have finally recapped the details of my trip. I hope you enjoyed reading all about it. I will be posting a guest blog post at Catholic Tech Tips soon (I wanted to get these done first), and I will post a link to that when that is published.
If you wish to view all 388 of my photos (and a few my friends took), they are all posted on Flickr. If we are connected on Facebook, they are also all posted in different albums. I welcome your comments on these posts and on my photos.