Dream trip Day 132 Boston to Providence by bus, party hostel, Irish lady

Everything is so much closer on the east coast. It was like Europe, only an hour or 2 bus ride or train, and you were in a different state.

Today it was Boston to Providence via a local bus line. Very affordable.

I took the long walk to the bus depot passing through Chinatown for some sweet pics.

chinatown

chinatown2

 

There was a craft coffee shop nearly in front of the bus depot, I got a cup to go. I think it was Guatemalan coffee.

Hurry up and wait! We gathered near the area our bus would arrive and watched the time pass by slowly! It was a bit late.

Still for perhaps 20$ this was not a bad deal at all. I only wish the train was affordable.

I can at least say I’ve been through Pawtucket.

Once again I had arrived before check in time, plus rain was due! I needed shelter for a few hours. Ah a pub!

I tell you no sooner had I entered, it rained hard for a good half hour or more. Tremendous amount of rain.

I had to get clam chowda, even though I am not a huge clam fan, the dish would warm you up. A regional favorite.

The guy behind the bar said there was a chowda for every state, even some cities used tomatoes or some other shellfish, whatever was around.

After a couple pints, a beer rep arrived and handed me a bottle opener, as well as another beer.

We talked a while, he kept buying, He seemed like a nice enough bloke. Very suburban though, like a lot of the mid cities guys I knew back in DFW.

I didn’t have much else going on plus it was still raining, no sightseeing today.

capitol

Still raining when he left. I felt it best to call a car to arrive precisely at my hostel.

It was located in a neighborhood, on the other side of the tracks. A multi story house affair. Felt very Amityville horror style.

providence

Seems the workers got top and ground floors, I was stashed in a room with several bunks, all I was assured would be empty tonight. So far.

There was 5 of us in total staying or living at the hostel, going out tonight. They had all ready decided to close up and go out by the time I checked in.

I hung out in the TV room where they had hooked up a gaming system to be their playlist player via youtube. I was DJ.

They mainly wanted to listen to 21 Pilots. Stressed Out.

We all piled into a Uber van and zoomed to a pub downtown. I bought 1st round, I laid that gauntlet down son!

It was a real Irish pub, with private booths and all. I chatted up a friend of one of the hostel employees. She seemed pretty amazed I had just been to Ireland.

She was about to move or stay there awhile, not sure. I don’t think she knew either, her family still lived there so she always had a place to stay.

Man I sure wish I had some overseas relatives to visit!

I was envious of some friends that spent summers or vacations at their relatives in another country. That is a valuable experience to have.

My relatives just lived in different parts of Texas, parts you’d only like to visit for a day.

We kept drinking, the ladies located a dance club, but I rolled with it, chatting up a couple of the guys.

The ladies here oh man, they went hard. Shots, mixed drinks, shots. More shots.

I had to stop drinking beers, everyone took turns buying shots. I maintained.

Of course people became separated, drama, the usual. I tried to hang around a couple of the people I knew.

Outside was an immense open area that many congregated that had food trucks.

Somehow everyone was together suddenly and a van was called. We were so loud in the van, just hopping over each other and everything.

A fine night in Providence!

downtown

 

 

Onwards to New York City!

Beer        Sweet Baby Jesus!

Song  Lightning Bolt   Dracula Mountain

Advertisements

Dream trip Day 131 Lost in Boston, public garden stroll, Cambridge Brewing

I knew where to spend the morning, near the door of the coffee shop that had a piano out front.  It was near winter so it was cold, sitting outdoors wasn’t a great idea for long periods of time.

Everything was so much louder here than overseas. People really laid on their horns, yelling at someone across the street was totally fine, seemed as though someone had something to say to someone else.

I procured my coffee and sat as close to the window as I could. Of course no one played piano until I was nearly done.

Indeed it was a youtube worthy scene as a guy with longish beard, possibly homeless approached the piano and then proceeded to sit and play some amazing runs.

One of my favorite places to walk is through the Boston Public Gardens, just a huge green space in the middle of the city, much like central park in NYC.

Always something to see in the park. I wondered about the fantastic brownstone houses across the street and how much rent was.

I concluded rent was 0 for most people, these were family homes, built and paid for years ago. Now used as rentals or for special times of year.

As winter was coming, the city drained the fountains which left several puzzling statues. What are these kids doing?

baby fountain

Soon I encountered an island and wondered if any of the many homeless had tried to live there with the ducks.

 

island

I paused to watch the ducks dive for food, tails up!

 

dive duck

There is always some sort of protest going on or 1 person yelling on a street corner to anyone who will listen.

Eventually I decided to follow the trail near the Charles River, ducks followed me there as well.

ducks

I really wanted to see the Sox but they were out-of-town until the weekend. What else to do in Boston? Perhaps a rock show?

Electric Six were playing at the Middle East, a venue I’d heard of before so that would check two items off my list!

I freshened up at my hostel. My lone roommate was an older Indian guy, extremely friendly. He was in town for a math conference.

‘Oh I love math! I want to work on math all the day long!’ he exclaimed.

This was his vacation, a very long flight, he said he had to spend the night in Frankfort.

He had to have spent a full 2 or 3 days in the air or airports just to listen to professors talk math. To me that sounds like torture.

All I know is I am very thankful for math people. All the planes, trains, stop lights and who knows what else all relied on maths to work. I couldn’t do it.

For some reason I felt cocky, I didn’t buy a ticket to the show, nor did I ride the bus. The route was very awkward via bus as you had to walk to and from drop offs for several blocks.

It would take the same amount of time to ride a bus vs walking. I walked the 2 miles, mask off.

The route crossed a bridge so that made things very cool. Literally it was very cold and windy walking over that dadgum bridge.

Once I arrived, the show was posted as sold out. Crap, well at least there was an open seat, may as well have a beer in the Middle East.

I located a brewery a short walk away and decided to walk over after my pint.

A couple of pints sitting at the bar, I do recall a baseball series was on the telly, helped the time pass.

I spoke in passing with the bartender, making comments and things as I could with the limited moments we had.

Soon back over the bridge through a nice neighborhood.

Cold windy bridge!

Likely my last night in town, had to keep going to NYC as I had friends there. I wanted to spend the weekend in New York, Brooklyn.

I made a left instead of a right and popped into Bukowski’s one last time. Caught the play off highlights, baseball you know. It was September.

Maybe I could swing a playoff game either Boston, NY or DC, all those were in the playoffs, I just had to time it right.

Looking at the weather, it was due for heavy rain, not a good way to see Fenway.

Onwards to Rhode Island!

 

night time

 

Beer  Tall Tale Pale Ale

Song Dropkick Murphy’s   Shipping Up to Boston Whoa!

 

 

Dream trip Day 130 Flight to Reykjavik, Boston, Bukowski Bar

Don’t you hate it when you wake up a few minutes before your alarm is due to ring? What do you do with those free moments? Go back to sleep? Get up?

I got up. I had all ready packed, all set there, just strapped my backpack and side bag over my shoulder.

Typically I used Uber overseas, it was a bit more reliable vs Lyft but I did ride with both at some point on my trip.

A driver selected me so I waited. I waited more, his car didn’t move. Over 4 minutes they sat in the same place

WTH man. So a quick search revealed my journey was less than a mile, no one wanted to do a short run like that.

I still felt I had time so I canceled this ride and requested another. And another driver sat in his spot for a couple of minutes before I had to cancel again.

Finally after calling 3x, a car shows up, a friendly chap is behind the wheel.

I made it through security with plenty of time to make the gate before boarding. Of course I carried everything, the checked luggage lines were always very long.

Be sure to always carry a pen in your bag. Borrow one from your airline, hotel, dr office, toss it into your bag and forget about it. You’ll always need a pen for filling out the document to get into the country.

Our first leg was only to Iceland, so perhaps just over an hour or maybe 2. A breeze.

Then we landed in Reykjavik where we deplaned 60’s style out onto the tarmac, into the terminal, directly onto another plane. We waited for 10 minutes or something.

We were informed a few times that the Aurora Borealis viewing was perfect, just stop by a desk in the terminal and they would change your reservation.

Really the changig of planes is a waste of time but hey cheap tickets. I knew I was coming back, I just had to do it right, get a car, drive all around the coast was my plan. Over a week.

Another take off and landing, perhaps 3 hours, not too bad. Enough for a bit of shut-eye, just meditated with my eyes closed. Tried to get into the music.

plane.jpg

I turned my slip of paper to the TSA guy who had me put both bags through another X-ray machine.

Soon I had to do the awkward take a photo of yourself, swipe your passport and hope they let you through.

The certified traveler option seems great, hardly a line. Yet it is the fingerprinting that really bothers me. Like I’m a criminal, they need my fingerprints. I don’t have anything to hide true, so why not take my side as a US citizen vs presuming I may or will commit a crime where fingerprints are necessary?

I was fearful for an inquisition due to how long I’d been gone but no, a single question then the border guard told me,

‘Get in here, we’ve been waiting on yas.’ I was home, back in the US of A!!

Boston man, let me tell you about a city. I dig Boston, a whole lot. It is great. Bill Burr says Boston is like San Franscico but racist and homophobic.

I was so excited to find a hostel near the prestigious Berklee College of Music, one of the top music schools in the US if not the world.

At least I could check in thanks to the wasted time on that layover. I located a free bus into town where I had to transfer to another streetcar line.

We had nearly crested over the pass to merge onto the highway when police sirens blared every car to a grinding halt. For over half an hour.

All that for Hillery Clinton’s entourage of blacked out SUVs. Heard it over the bus driver’s radio, ‘Remain at attention for Sec Clinton.’

Man if that don’t tell you what is wrong with our political system I don’t know what else you need to know.

How can you lead a group of people when you don’t know what traffic is? Where everything takes 15 minutes to get to because you have an escort, all the lights turn green? Ruling class now officially.

I just laughed, whatever. I knew who I was voting for.

To my delight once I arrived at my stop, I was in the midst of free piano month. For the entire month of September the city had placed several pianos for people to play, free.

One of these pianos was in front of a coffee shop next to my hostel. Score!

School had just left out so I procured a cup and pulled up a seat while a couple of kids took turns playing amazing piano pieces.

The cool sea breeze was blowing. Cars blared their horns, people yelled. A lot.

I had spied a noodle house near the corner so that was my dinner of choice.  A steaming bowl of noodles in broth will bring most anyone back to life.

I checked in and headed to a place I had tried to go the last time I was in Boston, about 3 years ago my family went to a Sox game.

Bukowski Bar was near my hostel just a few block walk.

Fortunately there was a 7-11 on the way, I get to use ATMs for free at stores thanks to my little credit union.

It turned out the bar I went to is cash only. Good beer selection, the ballgame on, good times. Another round bartender.

A nice night to walk home in the crisp Boston air.

Beer  Sam Adams Boston Lager

Song  Paul Simon   Homeward Bound

 

iceland.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song  Paul Simon  Homew

Dream trip Day 129 Farewell Oxford, 12th Century Turf Tavern, Gatwick

I woke, showered and met my Canadian friend on the patio, drinking coffee.

We discussed the night as well as our brunch plans at Turf Tavern, build in 12th century, or earlier, they just don’t have records going back further.

Lots of fires in ye olde Britain so many records have been lost.

 

1474982941003

You really have to follow a map to find the tavern, it isn’t easy. Down a small passage that at least has a plaque.

1474982941243

There were 2 sets of taps inside where you ordered beer or food. You pointed to where you would sit, in or out.

We picked outside, it wasn’t raining, yet. I chose a burger, can’t go wrong with a pub burger yup.

The place to be here is out back, big tables, covered for when it rains and it does rain a lot in this part of the country.

Why, it even rained as we enjoyed our meal but we were safe and dry.

Another pint to wait out the rain then. I soon became enamoured with a chap across from me who was loudly talking over the phone.

He was soon joined by, ‘ah here he is, the whisperer! My boy, yes, you see..’ he was proper chap, just well put together. Long wallet, coin purse, watch on a chain. Everything he carried had some sort of special carrier or satchel.

He did indeed refer to his associate as “the whisperer” several times. It was like off a BBC show or something.

I soon bade my friend goodbye, he was off to the north, I had a bus to the south.

Gatwick, home to an airport and a small village. There are 2 buses a day Oxford to Heathrow and Gatwick.

One is very early, leaves before 8 I believe. My flight was mid afternoon so I didn’t want to risk anything. Travel over an hour pre-flight is typically not a good idea.

So 1 night in Gatwick, mere miles from the airport.

England has a great bus system, double-decker style so upstairs I went. Headphones on and we were off!

I love the rolling hills and tiny villages, cottages we encountered along the way. Lovely country. Need to go back to the north.

A long walk once I arrived to Gatwick and I was to my room. The airport options seem to the be the same no matter where you go. A bed, shower, toilet, tv all one needs.

I settled in, showered up so I could leave the next morning without shower time.

It turned into a rather long walk, stroll but I found a local pub. Caught my last footy match in country with a pint.

Soon some favorites appeared, scotch egg, chips, a fine final UK meal!

I sat with my new reality, my trip was nearing its end.

Tomorrow a flight to one of my favorite cities, Boston, via Iceland of course. It was only a 4-ish hour flight, not bad at all.

A long weary walk in a rainy mist was tough. I was heading home, the US, but where precisely was TBD…

 

Beer  McEwan’s Champion

Song  Led Zeppelin    Ramble On

 

It 1475001567126

Dream trip Day 128 walking tour fail, Canadian friend, back to Eagle and Child

Always confusion and chaos 1st night in hostel. If you needed to shower, you could find every restroom in the place but not 1 with a shower, bath.

Finally found it and washed the last bit of Cardiff off me.

This place was a bit high-class what with their pod coffee maker. I appreciated it but I must say those pods are horrible for the planet. I think they finally developed a degradable pod but for years they were plastic pods.

I had a cup while scanning the pamphlet list, hunting for walking tours of the city.

When I found 1 I noted where to go and found it on my map. A left right left or something and I was there!

But where is there! It clearly stated an address but it wasn’t there, the numbers jumped up over the address I was looking for.

No tour today, going to have to self walk tour. Wait someone is waving?

Ah ok its a Canadian guy I met the night before in the hostel. He was in a long tour of the England, Britain. I believe he had been on the Isle of Wright for a while.

We joined up and decided to walk the city!

1474893202676

 

1474893202765

Just quaint! This was such a nice, quant place. I felt at ease here.

Aimlessly walking a bit, the subject of beers and food are brought up.

My Canadian friend had been to Nando’s before and wanted to try something new.

Asian noodles it is, that’s not something you see everyday. Twas good, I quite enjoy a good bowl of noodle.

I don’t think there was ever an awkward pause in our conversation, we got along pretty well.

He was a college student doing an extended trip because he had time. I advised him that spending at least 1 month on a trip is one of the best things you could do.

I learned so much about life and myself, having to figure out basic logistics. Where was I going, how was I getting there, where am I staying once I arrive?

I also felt that having to make decisions daily helps you get used to them so you don’t fret.

Do you know who the Inklings are, I asked. He didn’t at first until I said JRRR Tolkien + CS Lewis writing group.

He loved Lord of the Rings, had it read to him when he was a kid. Follow me, let me show you something very cool.

I took him to the Eagle and Child, we saw the Lewis quote and plaque with info about the writing club who drank and talked there.

He was legitimately freaking out, so excited. He was taking all sorts of pictures. I ordered 2 pints of pale and we sat down.

These moments are what I enjoy the most. We were both travelers but we had different perspectives, been to different places.

It felt good to help him find a place to share with his family and friends. They had all read the books so now they could see where the books had been discussed, maybe even read for the 1st time.

We closed out the pub we wanted to linger and discuss the books longer.

On the way back to the hostel we found an open sports pub so in we went. Instead of football on they had rugby cricket and soccer highlights.

We had a couple more pints before we figured out what to do in the morning.

He had heard of the oldest pub in England was near, or certainly top 3 oldest.

My friend being the true Canadian he was wanted another beer so into the grocery store we go where we get a couple of bottles.

We have a couple chatting with one of the hostel workers. He is from Australia and is ‘fucking loaded, mate. My house has a pool, ac, sunroof.’

He had some sort of online business he started when he was younger and it was now automated, he didn’t have to work but a couple of hours a day, if that.

He too was chasing the sun, he worked here during the summer, saw the area and friends, then back to Australia. He only saw the summer and maybe a bit of fall wherever he lived.

We were discussing power, who was in charge, the dominate party as most countries began under a different. I want to say this was around the time Russia invaded or took back Crimea.

He showed us 1 of many videos that show a part of the world and who was in control of a region year by year, century by century. Here’s one of Europe. Fascinating.

Beer  Old Speckled Hen

Song  Supergrass   Sun Hits the Sky

1474923589247.jpg

Dream trip Day 127 Farewell Cardiff, train to Oxford, the Eagle and Child pub

At this point, months into my trip I was bewildered most of the time. It was just unreal everything I was seeing and experiencing. I felt overwhelmed and still not sure what to do or where to go.

The only thing I knew was winter is coming and I did not pack for that. I had a hoodie that worked well so far but it was soon to become real cold. Freezing.

Had I been really adventurous I would have flown to Morocco. I investigated going when I had a week off in Barcelona.

I was chasing the sun at this point, trying to stay warm if I could.

The weather wasn’t too much better where I was heading next, Oxford.

The college was certainly a draw, the writers who taught and lived there: CS Lewis, JRRRR Tolkien, radiohead… Yeah I pretty much went to see what the area that radiohead lived looked like.

I’d been listening to radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool literally the entire summer. It is a great record but can be a bit depressing. It’s a good listen on an overcast or rainy day. As is Kid A, that is my go to rainy day record.

I didn’t have time for coffee and a meal before I left so I had some of the instant coffee with sugar at the hostel before I left.

At some point the night before I decided I needed to have fish n chips here, to complete my UK fish and chips experience. I’d had the meal in England, Scotland, Ireland (N and S) and now Wales.

The fry guy just smiled when I ordered and said it would be a few, had to fry it fresh to make it best!

A stupendous amount of chips with a slab of fish soon arrived. Enough for 2 easily.

I had time but still felt rushed. I mean, the train station was only across the street so I am not sure why I was concerned.

I left my still near full box near one of the many stoops with homeless.

The railway was small and everything was in English so finding my track was a breeze, especially compared to Budapest.

I did however miss my connection in Redding. I took my time putting on my hoodie then everyone was getting on so I couldn’t push past them.

I got to the door just as it closed and locked. Trapped!

What made this rather interesting was the previous hour or so were non stop. I hoped for the next stop to be soon.

It was so I jumped on a train heading in the direction of Oxford. Luckily the trains were timed well so I had plenty of time to get on the right track.

I sat with a couple chaps at a table. They both worked for a transportation company, or maybe logistics. They were going on a work trip for more training.

The impression I got was they went to school for a specific degree related to this job.

They worked while in uni as interns or journeymen, then received a 1 year commitment at this company. The company seemed well structured and promotions were clear and easy to work towards.

To my right the green pastures rolled past, a green blur.

The great thing about this train was I didn’t have to transfer, it went to Oxford where I stood near the door, ain’t missing this stop!

After a brief walk I was near University of Oxford, a storied place whose history goes back to 1096 but it is likely older, just haven’t found a document yet.

Oxford just feels like a village, full of life as well as proper people.

My hostel was a few blocks from the uni, I found it pretty easy.

It was small and cavernous hostel, winding around a few floors. I got lost a couple of times looking for restroom and shower, located in different parts of the house.

The weather was ok so I sat outside on the patio and tried to join in on a conversation with some employees and a couple pretty gals from New Zealand.

They were stuck at the hostel waiting as they had checked out but their flight was late at night so they let them hang out in the smokers lounge.

After trying to jump in and join the conversation a few times, I had to give up.

I was hungry so I figured I’d find something a long the way. Literally the 1st restaurant I saw was Nando’s, which I passed up, felt like something different.

Jamaican! Now that is something I don’t get everyday.  I do enjoy a beef pie, jerk chicken, rice, all the stuff.

I belly up to the bar and order a Jamaican pale ale a local brewery made for them. Better than Red Stripe!

I got a couple of pies and side of rice. It was rather expensive for a whole meal, plus very large portion sizes. When I encounter this I just order a couple of appetizers and maybe a salad or side.

A few blocks away was the Eagle and Child pub. It was across the street from the literature department so that explains why lots of writers went there.

It was very small, a bit of standing room in the front before it opens up to a nice room with tables in the back.

Cash only too I recall, no cards here. This is also a real beer destination with 4 hand cranked taps of beer.

1474883480166

In the corner was where the writers met for pints after teaching class. I sat for a good while just wondering what all they talked about…

‘Clive, what are you writing about now?’

‘Well John, it’s about a magical land some children stumble upon, witches and a lion I’m thinking of naming Aslan. How about you?’

‘Oh well I’m still writing about orcs, hobbits, faeries. I think I have cracked writing a new language for the elves as well.’

To my surprise they had last call just after 10pm. I wanted another pint, just not going to get one here.

Probably for the best, it had been a long travel day, I needed to rest up for tomorrow!

Beer Oxford Gold

Song  radiohead   Darkest Hour

Dream trip Day 126 Long walk to the sea, Maxime, party street

The day was overcast and glum outside. I wasn’t sure of what else to do but check out the water. At the time I thought it was the sea but it is actually where River Taff meets the Severn Estuary.

Everyone knows an estuary is the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets a stream…

I began my day popping into a regional coffee chain I’d been to before. I’d mention the name but they aren’t paying me so forget that. Flat white is what I take.

I noticed that in the US, which is called the States by Europeans, you get or pick up things if you shop. Europeans take things when shopping or ordering, ‘I’ll take a coffee.”

Also lack of free or discount refills is a bit annoying. They do have rewards programs but they require a separate card.

Why do we have to carry a separate rewards card when we use the same credit card for most of those transactions? I’m sure it has something to do with credit card companies charging $ for this info.

The long walk to the sea is via this strange walkway, sort of looks like train tracks which would make sense. Trains could pick up the freight from ships and take it into town for distribution.

There were a few houses, a bridge with spooky underpass that screamed for someone to stagger our wielding a knife or sleep under.

Eventually the railway/walkway turning residential, then commercial.

The ferris wheel was in action today but not many wanted a ride on a cloudy day.

I’ll bet there were great views on a clear day from the top bucket of the ferris wheel.

20160924_144605.jpg

I putted around the port a while, checking out the water, the people and shops.

20160924_144751.jpg

 

20160924_150040.jpg

I walked through a pub’s outdoor seating, which was full of bikers and their bitches. I say bitches because that what I heard them calling their wives/girlfriends. Plus bitch was all over their shirts, jackets.

I get it, you want to appear cool and aloof but man, your mom and your sister aren’t bitches so why is your wife?

I decided to hit up a pub as it began sprinkling rain a bit. I hadn’t had breakfast even, just coffee. It was likely a bad habit I had developed but if you are hungry and want to save $  £ have a cup of coffee then see how hungry you are.

I selected a seat outside on their covered patio which overlooked the water.

I was about halfway through my meal when a guy come up to me holding a camera.

“Hey I got a good picture of you if you want to see it.” said a man who soon introduced himself as Maxime, from Belgium.seagull

“Oh cool, I was just in your country, great beers and cool people!” I replied. He joined me and we talked about Belgium, photography and Europe.

We decided to walk back into town together and get a pint. He had a train to catch in a few hours so that was all the time we had to hang out.

There was a pub just outside the city that I figured would be cool as well as close to the train station.

Outside the pub were many flags including a rainbow flag, I didn’t give it much thought.

Upon entry I saw several dudes inside. After about a quarter of a pint it struck me that we were in a gay bar, not just a gay friendly bar.

Oh well, this place had beer so whatever.

Alas my new friend had to leave so we said farewell.

20160925_134610.jpg

I popped into another pub along the main street in front of my hostel for a couple hard-fought pints. It was a busy weekend evening.

I then began buying cans of beer from a shop also on the road. I’m not sure that I could drink beer in the street but I did anyways. There were so many people on the street doing rather odd things I felt that was the best option for the night.

After a bit of watching wasted people light the wrong end of their cigarette, fall, fall again, or throw things or just scream it was bedtime.

A fine final night in Cardiff!

Beer  West Coast Red   Glamorgan Brewing

Song the Alarm   Rain in the Summertime

 

cardiff