I already had a good feeling about Boston before arriving. And I was right. For some reason Boston just clicked with me. We only spent a few days here but I loved every moment.
As I mentioned before, we always like to stay in Airbnb's and this time we rented a nice apartment in the South End. The location was perfect. You could just walk out the apartment and there were lots of nice restaurants and coffee shops. We walked around and on the first night had a very early dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar. We just ordered some tapas and a jug of sangria. We were enjoying the dinner but the kids were acting up a bit so we made it a very quick dinner and got out of there! We decided to walk around the neighbourhood since it was finally starting to cool down a bit. We walked past this old lady on a bench with 2 little puppies. Gaja and Soraya went crazy for the puppies and couldn't stop playing with them. We spoke to the lady for a while, and as we thanked her and walked away, she mentioned that there was a Latin street party a few roads down. If she hadn't had mentioned it, we never would have known. This is what I love about staying in Airbnb's…. you always get to stay in local residential areas instead of touristy hotel areas… It was still early so we decided to walk by the street party, which turned out to be a Puerto Rican festival. My girls were having the best time dancing to the music and running around. Soraya especially went crazy, dancing and clapping and jumping around making everyone around her smile. As we walked away the organiser of the party came to say goodbye to us and commented what a happy beautiful family we had. He had such warmth in his eyes when he said that, it made me smile that he felt our happiness.
The next morning we met my good friend Julia from my University days in South Africa. I hadn't seen Julia since our crazy University days (I won't even mention how many years it's been!), but as soon as we saw each other, it was like old times. We had brunch at Toro, a Spanish tapas restaurant. I loved the place! We ordered a bunch of things to share (thank god her and her husband loved to share, I hate going out for meals with people who don't like to share dishes!?!?). We ordered so much food, I guess Richard thought it was lunch or something, he ordered a beer and asked if we should also order a bottle of wine. I looked at him questioningly, saying that it was only breakfast time!? He burst out laughing, saying he's been traveling so much lately, it must be jet lag, he thought it was time for a drink. Ok Richard, if you say so…… he went ahead with the beer and Julia and I settled for a glass (or maybe two) of cava… The manager came over while we were eating and kindly gave us the house special to try, Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija - Grilled corn with alioli, lime, pepper and aged cheese. When it arrived it just looked like corn with a big mess on top, but my god it was delicious!! I loved the whole atmosphere and the casualness of the place, and the food was all amazing.
Julia and her husband then showed us around Boston. We first went to SOWA Outdoor market which is open every Sunday. They have arts & crafts, a farmers market, specialty stores and food trucks. There's a great area of the kids too where you can hula hoop, build little bricks, blow bubbles, all sorts of things to keep the kids busy. Gaja and Soraya were entertained for a long time! It was hilarious watching them try to hula hoop… Hmnn, maybe they take after me, with no rhythm at all…! (I made a mental note to buy them hula hoops as soon as we get home). Then we went onto New England aquarium where you can actually pet the stingrays. It was nice cooling off in the aquarium since it was a super hot day. As we walked to dinner we also managed to see the Boston Holocaust Memorial. We ended the day off with some oysters and champagne, which to me is the perfect end to the day! The girls entertained themselves watching the lobsters in the tank, while we enjoyed the delicious fresh local oysters.
Next day we went to Newbury Street (what a beautiful and fun street) and had lunch in one of the small restaurants along the way. A Japanese/Korean place, we weren't picky the kids were hungry so we just went into the first place we saw. Gaja repeated about 20 times in a row 'I want sushi! I want sushi! I want sushi!' So that's what she got… We then walked down to Boston Common. A friend of mine had given us the book 'Make way for the ducklings' which I had read to Gaja over and over again, so she was so excited to see the duck boats. Soraya didn't really have enough patience to listen to the whole book but she was equally happy seeing the ducks and the boats. What a beautiful day. We ended it off by walking down Charles Street. Richard found a specialty map shop and ended up buying a beautiful old map of Manhattan. While waiting for him Gaja and I were on the street and she was busy peeking down a window into a restaurant kitchen. 'What is he cooking mama!?'. She was so intrigued she had her face squashed against the window, the Italian chef on the other side couldn't help but smile and wave at her.
It was a long hot day of walking A LOT and I was amazed that Gaja managed to walk the whole day without complaining. Soraya also walked a big part of it, or should I say RAN a large part of it, as she never walks, she only knows how to run….
Overall I just loved Boston, it's a big city but is very spacious and I feel very comfortable walking around with the girls. There are so many nice little shops, not just big shopping malls. And many nice restaurants. Yes, definitely a place I will come back to!
1704 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118
530 Harrison Ave,
Boston, MA 02118, USA