Walking Boston – Harvard Square

The next day was Sunday.  My coworkers were shuffling off to Logan International, while I took the T to Cambridge across the Charles River. I had booked an Airbnb.com accommodation for the next two nights. (I’ll talk about that some other time).  After meeting my hosts and dropping off my luggage, I was off and about for another day of walking.

Homes in every town are quite different.  This is especially so when you are in an older city.  The homes weren’t extra old here, but lots are small and tight.  With different restrictions and bylaws from city to city, you get a very different form for housing wherever you go.  The homes in central Cambridge were fairly narrow lots with little room for a driveway up the side.  Most were three storeys high and likely housed many units in one home.

I walked up Massachusetts Street towards Harvard.  It was a warm, sunny day.  After almost a week in Boston, the sun was finally starting to shine.  Just two weeks before, they were experiencing 24C weather in March.  Then the temps dropped back to cool and seasonal.  Thankfully, today was a sunny one.  It was great for walking.

On the way to Harvard, I passed by a few landmarks.  There was a giant Crate & Barrell.  Obviously I’m not dropping into there while travelling.  There was also a Chinese restaurant called the Hong Kong Chinese Food.  The neon sign screamed stereotypical Chinese/Chinatown fonts.  I wonder how many Chinese or Hong Kongers actually frequent this cafe? How authentic would the food here be?  I make it a rule to avoid Chinese restaurants like this wherever I go.  Authentic Chinese food likely does not live here.

 There was a neat old tobacco shop on the way to Harvard Square itself.  It was Leavitt & Peirce.  Tobacco probably isn’t as popular as it used to be in the past, so the shop is diversified into a gift and games store as well.  I do love the classic storefront, the statue and the old signage.  It’s just hard to find places like this on the West Coast.

My first stop within Harvard Square was the Au Bon Pain.  Food is of the utmost important and I hadn’t had a very large breakfast this morning.  Also, my host told me that he had seen Michael Ignatieff playing chess here.  My host knew I was Canadian and was pretty sure I would know Michael Ignatieff, former Liberal Party of Canada leader.  He had seen Mr. Ignatieff playing chess with another Harvard prof at the Au Bon Pain some time after his electoral defeat back home.  I didn’t have such like to encounter a well-known Canadian, but at least got lunch out of it.  And who knew that great intellects would ever congregate outside an international sandwich chain for a game of chess?

looking for Ignatieff

After a quick lunch at Au Bon Pain, I ventured around Harvard Square.  I was killing time before the next scheduled Hahvahd Student Tour.  I wondered across the street into the Harvard COOP bookstore.  You can simply feel the academia just being in the store. Maybe that’s what prompted my trip to the third floor restroom.  The books may not be as cheap as Amazon, but hey, it’s Harvard.  That’s got to amount to something.  In the end, I didn’t buy any books, though.  Way too heavy for me to cart around books when I am moving luggage on public transit.

After walking the COOP and more, I made my way back to the Harvard Square T station entrance.  That’s where we’d be meeting for the Hahvahd student-led tour of campus at 1:30pm.  Five minutes to go.

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