We've made the girls keep a daily journal since we left Melbourne. Their entries vary in detail and length but I hope they'll appreciate being made to keep them years from now when much of the day to day has faded from memory. Grace starts nearly every entry with 'today was fun' and ends it with 'and then we had showers and went to bed'. Nina meticulously records her meals. Ruby writes hers like a letter to a friend.
For me, this blog is the closest I've come to keeping a journal of our adventure. It took me a while to realise that it has become a journal or sorts as I generally don't blog the day to day of our lives and never intended this to be a quasi diary. But I think I'll be grateful.
Today we went to the New England Aquarium. We'd avoided going til now as neither Craig nor I are huge fans of aquariums. I really don't like the overpriced and tastelessly decorated Melbourne Aquarium and couldn't bear the Sponge Bob theme in Sydney. But this one was beautifully done, with excellent penguin exhibits and a 23 foot central tank containing a coral reef and loads of fish, rays, turtles and even a couple of Moray eels. We went to an IMAX film about great white sharks, somewhat bizarrely narrated by Bill Nighy, which had a conservation theme and largely avoided over dramatisation of their capabilities as predators, concentrating instead on their vulnerability to over-fishing.
The weather was so cold we elected to take two trains rather than walk the relatively short distance (about a mile or less) to Regina Pizzeria in the North end. Fortunately Boston's public transport system is so efficient that both trains were ready and waiting for us. The T is, like all public transport systems, somewhat maligned, and it's true that the stations and trains are not things of beauty. But, when it comes to public transport, give me substance over style every time. The ticketing system appears to work seamlessly, all stations are staffed which avoids the need for heavy handed inspectors and security, we've rarely waited more than 5 minutes for a train, even when the weather has been terrible, and when there are delays they are quickly resolved. The stations and carriages are clean, if a little run down. Melbourne could learn a lot.
We love the North end. I'm sure locals would say it isn't a patch on what it once was and has lost all it's authentic character, but as outsiders, it is charming. Small winding streets, old buildings, intriguing glimpses into tucked away courtyards and alleys. Lots of small shops, mostly with an Italian heritage and plenty of restaurants including Regina Pizzeria which had been recommended to us by a hot dog vendor in Salem. We had a couple of huge and excellent pizzas in a great old wooden booth and then got take out dessert at Bova's bakery. We sampled chocolate mousse cannoli, pecan slice, vanilla cupcake and assorted cookies. In my view, not as good as Modern pastries, and I wasn't a huge fan of those. Perhaps I'm missing something or sampling the wrong things.
Another brisk walk home from the station in freezing conditions. It's impossible to stop the kids, especially Grace and Nina, from going out of their way to walk in snow drifts, run their hands along walls piled high with snow, stomp in slushy muddy puddles. All warnings that they might slip over fall on deaf ears, even though inevitably someone does end up in a heap on the footpath. We should probably just give up. I'm forever warning of the dangers of too much snow play leading to wet gloves leading to freezing hands all day. Perhaps I should just let them spend a day with cold hands but frostbite seems a high price to pay to learn the lesson 'listen to your mother'. So I pack spare mittens and repeat myself a hundred times in a frustrated mantra. But only for three more days. Sob.