Here are some historical facts. In 1620, The Mayflower ship arrived to the East Coast of what later became the USA. Gradually, settlements and then towns appeared. Cambridge, Massachusetts, became home to the first American University when Harvard College for men was founded in 1636.  MIT, the celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology, got its charter in 1861 and was opened in 1865, right after the Civil War. These two major institutions are located in Cambridge; it is said that the number of exceptionally gifted people in this small town defies imagination.

In 1773, the Boston Tea Party marked the beginning of the American Revolution, when giant tea packs were hurled into the harbor in protest against the new British taxes. Witnesses testified much later that ocean water turned the color of tea. In 1776, the War for Independence started; in 1778, America signed an alliance withFrance; in 1783, the war ended with the victory of the thirteen American colonies, which formed the future USA. George Washington, the leader of the army, became the country’s first President.

It is easy to get around in Cambridge. At noon, lots of people get outside to have their lunch in one of the many parks, sitting on benches or on the lawns. There are plenty of cafes and wonderful bakeries where one can get a great variety of sandwiches, salads, soups and snacks. Street signs will point you in the desired direction. In an elevator, I read a sign which said, “You are in an elevator now”. It is on a par with the one we have seen in some cars: “What you see in the mirror is right behind you”. The underground can take you across the river to the center of Boston, situated on the opposite bank of the River Charles. When I went down into the station, I got confused, in spite or maybe because of the number of signs poiting in all directions. While I was standing there uncertainly, an orderly rushed to me and said, “Madam, I think you need help”. This attention to tourists and the readiness to help can be encountered on a regular basis. In Cambridge, I asked if one could get toBoston using some other kind of transport. “Let me show you how I get to work”, said a woman clerk at the conference center. She took me to a window and pointed out a very easy route: walk along Broadway to the river, onto Longfellow Bridge, cross it, and you find yourself in Boston. There are plenty of people walking or jogging in both directions, and the view is spectacular. Once on the other side, just follow the signs.

Boston is the city where many famous people were born; their names are known to every school child today. Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most well-known among them all. Many tourists from all over the globe visit Boston to walk along its Freedom Trail, the famous red-brick road, which was created in Boston in 1958, thanks to the efforts of William Schofield, a local journalist and passionate lover of history. If you follow all the signs on the red-brick road, you will visit 16 places of interest. Children walking along the road with their parents keep asking why it is not theYellow Brick Road, which of course was the road that led to the Emerald City in the beloved children’s book “The Wizard of Oz”. Parents explain that red was the color of freedom, and of the revolution. One can happen on a history lesson held right there in the center of the city, with students listening raptly to their teacher. One can see the Old City Hall and the New City Hall, the harbor, the churches and monuments. In a park, I met a city guide dressed up into the uniform of days past. When I asked him if I could take his picture, he smiled good-naturedly and replied, “M’am, be my guest!” If you wish to relax and enjoy the views, or maybe reflect on the historical events and try to imagine life as it was two hundred years ago, choose a shady place near one of the numerous lovely ponds. Use the facilities in any of the parks, and later have your lunch in a café or a restaurant. Boston is a busy city; there are always lots of people streaming along its main streets, as well as buses and taxis. Boston Logan International airport is nearby.

©gretag 2012

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