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“Boston . . . is often called
the “hub of the world,”
since it has been source
and fountain of the ideas that have
reared and made America.”
-F.B. Zinckle

Approaching on the train from Gloucestor.

Where do I start with Boston?

My sister called me about 15 minutes before I pulled into the station, hearing through Facebook that I was back on the mainland .  We talked the remainder of my train ride about my boat trip, why I left, and where I might be going.

The train pulled into the station as I got off the phone with my sister, knowing I was finally back to someplace I had wanted to be for the last 12 years.  “. . . Boston is the place I want my story to end.” was the concluding statement of an essay I wrote in my freshman composition class, which reading back on it is far from being my greatest work, but it captured the feeling well enough.

Boston, I think, is a model of the modern world in a way.  It began as a colony of religious refugees.  However, beginning with the founding of Harvard University, it evolved into one of the beacons of science and learning in the world.

From the station, I boarded the T, the Boston subway, which can be brushed away as an unkempt minor convenience.  But I still hold it as a metropolitan marvel.  I would much rather take a metro than drive somewhere in one of these cities, or even in Grand Rapids.

Despite my occasional misgivings about HI hostels, the one in Boston was one of the only ones I could get a room at that night, so I decided it was convenient enough to extend my stay there a few more. The HI is located in the Back Bay district, about a 5 minute walk from Fenway Park.

The first obvious thing that I noticed about the Bostonian (though I prefer the sound of Bostonite) crowds walking about was their youthfulness.  Its no secret that Boston is a major college town, but this was evidently visible in a neighborhood wasn’t necessarily a direct college neighborhood.

So, a block away from the metro stop, I checked into the HI Boston.  Despite the fact that they had my reservation under the name BenjImAn rather than Benjamin, I still had little trouble checking in.  The building was much larger than most hostels I have stayed at, feeling more like an apartment building with the occasional random lounge in the hallway.

When I opened the door to my room, there were no taken beds.  I found one near an outlet to charge my iPhone and went down to the lobby to check it out.

Once the phone had a decent charge, I set out on the nearby streets.  At this point, I had no deadline, no date by which I had to leave to city.  Hell, I was even considering staying here.  So, there was no reason to rush a whole city tour into one night.

I looped around the surrounding area, finding a genuine Boston Irish Pub, ordering a Grey Goose Dirty Martini Up (my favorite drink) and going along with my father’s new texting habit, telling him, “A dirty martini in Boston.  This is how life should be.”

From there I wandered toward the downtown area, still not knowing exactly where I was going, but knowing I could find my way back.    A few blocks away, I came to the Prudential Center.  One of the highest buildings in the city, it also contains a large shopping mall.

Courtyard in the middle of the Prudential Center mall.

Eventually, after much wandering through the back bay area, and finding people sleeping outside of an Apple store for some reason, I returned to the hostel to finally sleep, a precious commodity in a world with far too much to see.

Looking downtown at night.

A street in the Back Bay area at night.

A crew sleeping outside waiting for the iPad maybe?

Comics and condoms, the classic 2 birds with 1 stone.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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