186 BOSTON, USA: Cheers from The Radio Vagabond

March 9, 2021

I’m back in Boston, MA with Brianne who shows me more of her city, and then we’re talking about the Boston Marathon Bombings.
I’ll also visit the famous Cheers Bar and walk The Freedom Trail before starting my epic month-long road trip.
First stop: Providence, Rhode Island via Cape Cod.

Cheers from Boston, Massachusetts

Welcome to the 2nd instalment of the 6th season of The Radio Vagabond travel podcast. I’m continuing my stay in Boston, Massachusetts with my friend and travel-writer (and awesome host) Brianne. If you missed Part I then you can listen and/or read it here to catch up!

CHEERS!

A few famous things from Boston include the Red Sox baseball team, the wicked Bostonian accent (think the film ‘The Depaaaded’), and the birthplace of 35th president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. But perhaps most importantly, Boston is known as the setting for one of the most beloved American TV shows of all time: Cheers. So, when you find yourself in Boston you simply have to visit the bar where ”everybody knows your name”…

Inside, the bar actually doesn’t really resemble the one in the TV show, and I couldn’t make out the areas where Sam and Woody would usually be, or even Norm’s corner. But despite this, the place is packed daily with fans from all over the world eating overpriced burgers and drinking overpriced beer.

It has 2 shops where you can buy any and all Cheers merchandise: t-shirts, mugs, hats, fridge magnets – you name it! It’s a tourist trap, and because I’m a vagabonding tourist I had to buy a Cheers t-shirt…

THE FREEDOM TRAIL

After my visit to Cheers, I walked around downtown Boston for a few hours to get a feel for the city. I walked along The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long (4 km) path that passes 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. 

Follow the red bricks on The Freedom Trail
Follow the red bricks on The Freedom Trail
State Library of Massachusetts
State Library of Massachusetts

The trail is marked by a line of red bricks set in the pavement and connects the city’s historical sights through downtown Boston between Boston Common across the Charleston Bridge through to Bunker Hill. It’s a fun and unique way to experience all of Boston’s history while on the move.

Old State House serves as a museum and stands as a small house in between the skyscrapers.
Old State House serves as a museum and stands as a small house in between the skyscrapers.

One of the places I passed was the Old State House. Built in 1713, it was a seat of British power and site of the Boston Massacre. Today it serves as a museum and stands as a small house in between the skyscrapers.

Old State House is at the place of the Boston Massacre
Old State House is at the place of the Boston Massacre

BUY MY BANANAS – GOD DAMMIT..!!

After following the red brick road, I tapped my ruby red slippers together and ended up at a fruit and vegetable market that was about to close up. Here I witnessed a uniquely Bostonian situation. A vendor was aggressively teaching his young associate how to scream and yell to people to get more customers. Screaming: ”DOLLAR BOARD! DOLLAR BOARD!” while handing over boxes of fruit one dollar a piece. While doing that, he would turn around and yell to his employees “See, it’s not that hard!”

Yeah, that’s what I want when grocery shopping – a crazy guy yelling in my ear, terrifying me into an unwanted bananapurchase.

"Hey don't sit on my head"
It's as if the girl is saying "Hey, don't sit on my head"
Gateway to Boston Harbor is marked by a huge flag
Gateway to Boston Harbor is marked by a huge flag
I met some boys who were "shooting the pump"
I met some boys who were "shooting the pump"
Sanders Theatre
Sanders Theatre

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS

Cheers, The Freedom Trail, and iconic accents are just some of the things Boston is famous for. Unfortunately, the city is also renowned for the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, where 2 homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the race, killing 3 people and injuring hundreds of others, including 17 people who lost limbs.

Brianne had her father visiting during this period and he really wanted to get as close to the finishing line of the world-famous marathon as he possibly could. He tried to talk her into it but Brianne wasn’t keen on the idea at all as all Bostonians know that the area is chaotically crowded with runners and tourists. So, Brianne suggested they stay home and watch the race on the TV. And thank goodness they did… Brianne recalls the day:

“It was a really rough day. I live across from a subway stop which they shut down as there were rumours going around that the subways had been compromised and weren’t safe. The bombing occurred over a mile away from my apartment and there was so much commotion happening that day which added to the terrifying and frantic atmosphere.”

The hunt for the bombers took 3 days. “It was the longest and hardest 3 days of my life. We stayed home and waited for it to be safe to go back outside. We didn’t know what was happening. There were high security measures throughout the city and you were searched when you entered any buildings or subways”.

“After they apprehended the final suspect, we all breathed a sigh. We all came together as a community during this time of tragedy, which is about the only good thing you can take away from something like that.”

Check out the film Patriots Day about the incident which I found interesting. Brianne isn’t ready to see it yet because it’s still too soon.

ROADTRIP: VAGABOND STYLE

The next morning was my last day in Boston, so I organised a rental car for my month-long road trip across North-eastern USA. I said a sad goodbye to my Bostonian friend and her elderly dog, Lucy, and started my trip.

My trip from Boston to Providence via Cape Cod
My trip from Boston to Providence via Cape Cod

I headed South from Boston to the tip of Cape Cod, a delightful hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts state and a famous seaside getaway for the rich and famous. Being a frugal vagabond, I couldn’t afford to stay there so I decided to drive back to Providence in Rhode Island, the smallest state in the USA. 

While driving, I listened to the Gimlet podcast called Crime Town which tells interesting accounts of the various mob-related crimes that occured in Providence in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Basically, I was researching how to not feature in any future episodes…

So, as I entered the city of Providence with the crime podcast playing in the background, my road trip officially began. I’ll be doing a short stop in Canada but before crossing the border, my trip will take me through all the six states of New England. I’m going to spend nights in Providence Rhode Island, Colchester Connecticut, Wakefield Massachusetts, Durham New Hampshire, Cherryfield Maine, Lunenburg Vermont, and Burlington Vermont. 

There are so many adventures ahead and meetings with a lot of really great and interesting people. Season 6 of the The Radio Vagabond travel podcast is going to be one to remember – stay tuned!

Until the next time, my name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See ya!

LETTER FROM A LISTENER

I got another great email from a listener:

Dear Palle,

First just a little presentation: my name is Nete, I am 36 years old and a regular listener of your podcast. Especially right now, when I am on maternity leave from my job as a high school teacher in Aalborg, Denmark. 

I have now (again) run out of podcast episodes about your life as a digital nomad. I’ve been listening to them and following your journey since the beginning. In June 2016, I became a mother for the first time, and your podcasts became one of the things I filled the time with during breastfeeding, diaper changes, walks with the pram, and so on… 

Right now, I am on maternity leave with my third child and have caught up with your episodes from the times when I haven’t had so much time to listen. 

When I listen, I often think that my “career” as a mother has coincided with your nomad career.

I listen, among other things, because I like to travel myself to countries that are not destinations for the large tourist groups and in that context, I especially like to get to know something about the culture, which is most easily done by getting in touch with locals – something you do a lot. 

I definitely hope to be able to make more use of different forms of living when I travel in the future, and here you provide good inspiration. 

Right now, I’m looking forward to you reaching Russia at some point, as I have traveled on the Trans-Mongolian Railway with my husband – and would like to hear you meet different people with different views of the world’s largest country. It’s going to be fun to hear if your impression matches ours.

Best regards
Nete

Wow, thank you for your interesting mail, Nete! It’s mind-boggling to hear that you have had 3 kids while I have been travelling. Are you planning to keep having children while I am traveling? In that case, you will end up with a small football team by the time I am putting my passport away in the drawer!

Yes, I definitely want to see more of Russia. I have only visited Moscow but that is not nearly enough for such a big country. A bucket list item for me is to take a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Mongolia. 

Say hi to your husband for me, and of course all of your kids!

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on listener@theradiovagabond.com or go to TheRadioVagabond.com/Contact. Or send me a voice message by clicking on the banner.

Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this.

SPONSOR

A special thank you to my sponsor, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world.

The Radio Vagabond is produced by RadioGuru.
 
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