6-5-2016: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Today we rode the entire hop on hop off circuit and walked around the Montreal underground city.

Tim Hortons

For breakfast we decided to go to Tim Hortons. It’s the thing to do in Canada. I got a coffee. Because that’s what you do at Tim’s.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

It was raining very hard as the weather report predicted so we didn’t want to do anything outside. (We were extremely glad that we’d done all of the outside stuff yesterday.) The hop on hop off bus was a double decker bus with an open top, but the bottom was covered. We had to walk to the bus stop though, and we got pretty wet doing so.

The tour guide was quite a character. He was very knowledgable about both Canadian and American history and he tied the two together in a way I’d never heard. The Eastern provinces of Canada have a lot of history in common with the New England states. They were all originally British colonies so when the American colonies declared independence, many American politicians expected the Canadians to join them. Benjamin Franklin spent a long time in Canada attempting to encourage the Canadiens (French Canadians) to join the Patriot cause. In an attempt to throw the British out of the Province of Quebec and win the French people for the Revolutionary Cause, the Continental Amry invaded Quebec. Montreal was taken and for a few months it was an American city. The invasion ultimately failed outside of Quebec City when a blizzard inflicted huge losses for the Americans who were dressed in summer uniforms.

Since we’d done portions of the bus circuit yesterday, our guide didn’t tell us much new, but he was very funny. There was a lady behind us who was on her phone the entire time. Her phone was whistling all the time from texts and she didn’t ever silence it. Eventually the guide came up and was like “you don’t need this tour, you could have stayed home” and she still didn’t stop. Whenever her phone would whistle, he would imitate it in the microphone.

Underground City

Once the tour was done, we went back into the tourist information center to be dry. We had heard that Montreal has an “underground city” so we tried to figure out how to get to said underground city. We ran into a few ladies that we’d met one evening on the cruise ship. We’d ran into them again in Montreal at Mass and then we saw them again at the visitor information center. It was very amusing that we ran in to them so many times. All that was to say that the pointed out that on a certain map there is a blue underlay which shows the underground city.

Essentially the underground city is just a series of basements connection to each other via tunnels. (Actually, a lot of it is actually above ground, but it is all inside which is what we wanted because we did not want to go out in the rain.) The area we went down into was one of the busiest areas of the underground city. It was like the size of all of the malls in Denver combined and it was busy! We walked around a bit and then grabbed a bite to eat in one of the biggest food courts ever. There were probably 15 vendors in the food court. The whole area was very impressive.

Our hotel isn’t part of the underground city but there was a building only a block away from our hotel that was part of the underground city. Not wanting to go out into the rain, we decided to walk all the way around to that building in the underground city. The main part of the underground city is in the shape of a U. We started at the top of the left side and went all the way around to the middle of the bottom side. It was very out of the way (especially considering we got lost a couple times).

After leaving the top part of the left side of the U, the underground city was not nearly as nice. It was mainly just a walkway that connected some building’s basements to each other. It was a bit odd because we were basically the only people walking in the passageways. We emerged from the underground city and walked the block to our hotel and called it a day. I dealt with a few things on my computer and we checked in to our flight to Atlanta. We are going to fly to Atlanta tomorrow and rent a car. Hannah is down there already with family so we are going to pick her up and visit some friends and family in Georgia.

This will conclude my coverage of our trip. It was an awesome trip full of history and I really enjoyed spending time with mom. I will be writing some more posts about my overall thoughts on the trip and the individual places we went, but I have no timeline for that.

6-4-2016: End of Cruise and Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Today we disembarked from the cruise and went to a few sites in Montreal.

Disembarkation and Arrival at the Hotel

The disembarkation went smoothly and we were able to get a taxi to the hotel very easily. We were unable to check in to our room, but the hotel stored our luggage and the concierge gave us some information on where to go to get the hop on hop off bus of the city.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

The tourist information centre was only a few minutes walk away from the hotel so we headed over there to get hop on hop off bus tickets. From there we rode for just a very short distance to the Old Town where we got off to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame and walk around the Old Town.

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Montreal

The Cathedral was very pretty and looked very European. We did a tour of the interior and the guide explained some of the history of the cathedral. One interesting thing that was different than most churches was that the stained glass told the story of Montreal’s founding rather than stories from the Bible. Originally the church had a huge stained glass window behind the main altar but in the 1800s it was covered up because the sun shined so brightly into the building. The glass was only rediscovered when the chapel behind the church burned in a fire exposing the old window. Only two panels survived and they are on display in the chapel.

The organ in the church has 7000 pipes. Our guide said that it is very grand but you can only hear it during Mass.

Behind the main building is a chapel whose interior is very modern looking compared to the main building. It is a combination of the old architecture and new minimalistic architecture (the last picture).

Walking through Montreal

After the tour we walked a bit around Old Town and went past Chinatown. The Montreal China Town is very small compared to other major cities. Our goal was to get to a different hop on hop off bus stop that would take us to the top of Mount Royal, the mountain around which Montreal was founded. After a bite to eat, we walked over to the stop and got on to the next bus.

St. Joseph’s Oratory

The bus tour took us to St. Joseph’s Oratory, a very grand looking structure from the outside, but on the inside it is decorated in a very modern manner. There are 99 stairs going up to the entrance and many pilgrims stop at each stair to pray. We did not go inside, but we got a picture of it from the outside.

Mount Royal

We continued on the bus to the top of Mount Royal. It seems like Mount Royal is the Central Park of Montreal. We saw all sorts of people hanging out in the park doing a variety of activities. We continued to an overlook spot where we got a good view of Montreal.

Mass at Notre Dame

The bus dropped us back off at the visitor center and we walked back to the hotel and relaxed for a little while. Then we decided to return to the Cathedral of Notre Dame for the Mass at 17:00 (5:00 PM) to hear the 7000-pipe organ. The organ was indeed very grand. It filled the entire space with sound. We are not Catholics and neither of us had been to a Mass before so it was a very interesting experience. In addition to not being Catholic, we don’t speak French so we had no idea what was being said. It seemed like there were many tourists attending the Mass, but they all seemed to be Catholic (though not Francophone). I’m sure we were the only Baptists at that Mass and I bet we were the only Protestants also. It was a very neat experience.

Walking Around Old Dock

After Mass, we walked down to the Old Dock. The Old Dock area seemed to be the place to be in the evening. There were all sorts of things going on around the area. Lots of people were just walking around but there were also street vendors set up all along the Old Dock. I ate poutine from one of the food trucks. We continued along the Old Dock.

Zip Line

Something possessed us to do the zip line across the Old Dock. We got suited up and went up to the top and I got some nice pictures of the Old Dock. Then we did the zip line. It was awesome. Mom was nervous to do it but both of us had a ton of fun. I took a few pictures of other people doing the zip line.


After the zip line, we walked back through the Old Dock and Old Town to our hotel. There was one pedestrian street that we went up that seemed like the place for buskers. It was like 16th Street Mall in Denver. Once back at the hotel, I worked a little bit on my blog and then headed to bed.

6-3-2016: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

 Today we went on a walking tour of Quebec City.

Lower Town

Quebec City is divided into two parts, the upper town and the lower town. The dividing line is a tall cliff, so the upper town is literally above the lower town. The lower town is the part of the town closest to the water and therefore closest to the place where we docked.

After meeting our guide, we walked past a building that used to be the customs building. The building used to be right next to the river, but today it is about a hundred metres (328 ft). Like many other major cities built on rivers, Quebec has filled in much of the land near the St. Lawrence River over the years.

Our guide led us through the streets of Lower Town Quebec. There were many fancy shops, restaurants, and hotels in the lower town. One very nice hotel was built over the area of a former dock and during the construction, some of the stone of the old dock was found. We went into the hotel lobby and saw the remains of the wall. In the lobby there were a few models that show what the dock looked like at a few different points in history. Out on the street in front of the hotel, they had put darker colored bricks in a few places to show the shoreline at those same points in history.

The streets were very pretty and I can understand why all of Quebec City’s Old Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Upper Town

After walking around the Lower Town, we rode the funicular to the upper town (you will recall that the Upper Town is literally on a cliff above the Lower Town). A funicular is a cross between a tram and an elevator. Essentially a small car is pulled up and down by cables but the car is on very steeply inclined railroad tracks.

Once at the top of the cliff, we walked around the Upper Town. The most prominent structure in the Upper Town is the Chateau de Frontenac, a large hotel and supposedly the most photographed hotel in the world. The name comes from a famous Quebecer in the 1600s. It was built in sections and started out as a U shaped building. After another building was constructed somewhere else in Quebec that was taller than the Frontenac, they built the iconic tower to once again be the tallest building in the city. Still later, they built a fourth wing to make a complete square shape around the tower.


We sent inside the hotel to see the interior of the lobby. It is very grand.


As with the Lower Town, the Upper Town has many nice shops and restaurants. We walked around and our guide talked about at a bunch of the buildings. At one spot, there is a cathedral with a Holy Door. According to Catholic teaching, if you walk through this door, your sins will be forgiven. There are only seven holy doors in the entire world. At another spot we passed a street where a bunch of artists set up stands to display their work.

After walking around the Upper Town we left the Old Town via one of the many gates in the wall around Old Town Quebec. We walked a little bit to a cafe where we ate a small pastry before saying goodbye to our guide. She gave us a few suggestions on where to go after our pastry and we decided that we wanted to walk the city wall and visit the citadel.

Walking the Wall

We walked a good distance along the wall and got some great pictures of it and the views from it. Here are some of the best photographs.

Citadel

The citadel was connected to the wall and we decided to visit it and take the guided tour of the premises.

History of the Citadel

The Quebec Citadelle (that’s how they spell it in French) has gone through many evolutions. The oldest buildings still standing are a couple powder magazines. All of the other buildings were either added later or destroyed.

Quebec City was invaded six times. The French controlled Quebec first, but the British and French swapped control of Quebec a couple times before the Seven Years War (known in the States as the French and Indian War). During that war, Britain cemented its control of Canada when the French withdrew from all Canadian holdings. The famous battle of that war was the battle on the Plains of Abraham in which the British routed the French in just a few minutes. The generals of both sides died during the battle, the French one saying that he was glad that he did not have to see his city held by the British and the British one saying that he was happy to know that he won the day.

During the War of Independence, Americans attacked the British stationed in Quebec in an attempt to take Canada for the United States. At that point, the Patriots in what would become the States thought that the Canadians would join the rebellion so they were merely trying to eliminate the British threat from Quebec. The Americans suffered huge losses because they attempted to attack during the winter and ran into a snow storm with their summer gear on.

Later, during the War of 1812, the Americans again attacked Canada in an attempt to rid North America of all British influence. This attack, too, failed. The attack was enough to warrant a new citadel to protect against any threats. The new citadel was never attacked. I guess the Americans finally figured that the Canadians were too stubborn to join the Union.

Our Tour

Our tour guide was very good and engaging. She took us all around the citadel and showed us many interesting things. The entire complex is actually active military so we couldn’t just wander alone and there were actual military people in the compound. The first stop was the parade grounds where they perform a changing of the guard ceremony during the summer. We were a bit early to see it (they don’t start for another few weeks) but we got to see them practicing.


We then walked to the powder house where there was a small museum about life in the citadel during the time when it was a more active military base. The powder store was designed with very thick walls, but a weak ceiling so that if it were to explode, the blast would mainly go up and not out therefore reducing the damage to people and structures in the vicinity.

We walked around looking at some of the other buildings in the citadel including one for the commander in the citadel and one which is the summer or winter home of the Governor General.

We visited another museum as well which had many artifacts on display from the citadel and explained some of the other history of the citadel that I have described above.

At the end of the tour we stopped at a very large cannon. This cannon had a range of about 5km (3mi) and protected the Quebec harbor. From this vantage point, we were able to get great pictures of the city.

Evening

We returned to the boat by walking down one of the stairways down the cliff face.

The evening proceeded as normal.

6-2-2016: At Sea (Sailing the St. Lawrence River)

Today we were at sea. I managed to stay fairly busy but it wasn’t a very exciting day. I played some chess and ping pong and went to the show, but other than that it wasn’t an interesting day. Tomorrow we are in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada so it should be more interesting.

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6-1-2016: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

​Today we went on a car tour through Prince Edward Island and then we walked around a bit in downtown Charlottetown.

Car Tour

Our guide took us on a large loop around the center of Price Edward Island (PEI). If you think of the island as a U with the straight parts lopped off but fat in the middle, you have a pretty good idea of what the shape of the island is. It takes about 5 hours to drive from one end to the other. We drove around the right part of the “fat” part of the island. We drove north to the North Shore then along the shore before curving back around and driving back to Charlottetown.

The countryside was very pretty. Here are a few photos.

North Shore

On the North Shore, we went to a few fishing villages. The fishing villages have existed for a long time and basically consist of small huts along a dock area. The huts primarily house repair workshops for the fishermen. Fishing and lobster, oyster and mussel trapping are huge industries on PEI and there are many old traditions around it. One that our guide told us about was that on the first day of the fishing season, the elder fisherman in the fishing village leads everyone out of the harbor in a procession before dispersing to set their traps.


Beaches

The North Shore is also known for its beaches. Because of the Gulf Stream, the waters around PEI are actually fairly warm during the summer and many people go there to spend time at the beach. We stopped at one spot but the wind was so hard that the sand was flying up and hitting us in the face! We rapidly returned to the car.

Here’s a picture I took at a different beach where we were not getting sandblasted.

Anne of Green Gables

On our way back to Charlottetown we stopped at Lucy Maud Montgomery’s house, the house where Anne of Green Gables was based. I’m no fan of the series, so I won’t dwell on the subject.

Walking City

After our tour, we went back to the boat for lunch and returned to the city to walk around. There are a few paths marked in paint on the sidewalks kinda like the Freedom Trail in Boston. We roughly followed the Historical Walk which took us past the the most important historical parts of town.

The first stop on our tour was a beautiful church.



Across the street was a nice row of what I presume are homes.


At the end of that street is Confederation Hall, the birthplace of Canada. It was in that building that the founders of Canada met to discuss becoming a nation in 1864.


We turned left in front of Confederation Hall and walked down Victoria Row, a pedestrian street somewhat like 16th Street Mall in Denver but much shorter (only one city block). Then we walked over through an older district of town with many nice, old houses.

Our last stop was Cow’s, a famous local ice cream store. They are famous for their chocolate covered potato chips and we tried to get a sample, but they didn’t give us one😦. We made up for it by getting some of their ice cream.

After that, it was time to head back to the ship, but before we got back, we walked along some of the boardwalk and got this nice picture of the ship.

Evening

Dinner with the Captain’s Parents

The evening was very similar to the other evenings, but we had some very interesting table mates at dinner. We ate with the ship captain’s parents. We figure that we are related because their last name is O’Driscoll and they are from Cork, Ireland. We have relatives on mom’s side of the family from the same place.

The father was a captain himself. He worked on fishing boats. His wife is a farmer.

They have a very deep Irish accent, so much so that it was difficult to understand them at times. It often sounded like they were speaking German instead of English. English is a Germanic Language, so likely the English dialect in Ireland has been influenced less by French through the ages. It has also probably retained a bunch of the Celtic influence (Celtic is another Germanic Language). (Linguistics is a very fascinating study, you can really learn a lot about history by examining the similarities between languages.)

Going Under Confederation Bridge

During dinner, we were approaching Confederation Bridge, a 13 km (8 mi) long bridge connecting PEI to mainland New Brunswick. When we got close, the captain’s father and I went up to the top deck and watched us sail under the bridge. While we were up there, I got some great pictures of the sunset and of Confederation Bridge.


Meeting the Captain

Near the end of dinner, Captain Noel O’Driscoll, the captain of the ship, came by to say hello to his parents. We were introduced to him and had a nice conversation. During our conversation we asked him how much clearance we had under Confederation Bridge. He said two metres (6.6 ft). For a ship of our size, that’s not that much clearance. In fact, they had to lower one of the ship’s antennas to be able to pass under safely. I was able to get a picture with the Captain and his father.

Beautiful Sunset

At the tail end of dinner there was a beautiful sunset. These pictures really don’t do it justice.

5-31-2016: Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

Today we went on a bus tour which took us to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

The Ride to the Museum

On our way to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, our guide talked about a few interesting things about Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Canada in general. (He also said some of this on the ride back, but I’ll just summarise it all here.)

By the way, if you want a solid source of information about any of the topics I’ve written about, I am not that solid source so don’t cite me on any of this. The reason I do this is a) to let people back home know that I’m alive and b) to sort all of the information I’ve learned and things I’ve seen in my own mind.

  • The Town of Sydney is located on the island of Cape Breton, the northern island of Nova Scotia.
  • Cape Breton has a huge lake in the middle of it. The lake is called Bras d’Or Lake.
  • Thousands of years ago it was a fresh water lake but as the glaciers melted after the Ice Age, the seawater rose to a level where it flooded into the lake basin creating the current salt water lake.

On the way we stopped at a look out spot (overlook in American English). It is said that this lookout spot was the reason that Alexander Graham Bell decided to settle in Nova Scotia after his success with the telephone.

The Museum

Before visiting the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, I only knew about Alexander Graham Bell’s work on the telephone. Alexander, however, contributed so much more than just that to society. I’ll list a few of his most notable contributions.

  • Alexander’s father was a speech therapist and his mother was deaf. His father developed a system called Visible Speech (or something like that) which was a phonetic language which put speech mechanics into a language.
  • Alexander got a job at a school for the deaf and he used his father’s system to teach his students how to speak.
  • After becoming successful with the invention of the telephone, Alexander worked on a variety of other things. One of which was helping build the first airplane in Canada. He worked with Mr. Curtiss and a bunch of other men on the project. Curtiss subsequently went off to create a successful airplane manufacturing company in the States.
  • Another of his post-telephone projects was a hydroplane, a boat which used “wings” underwater to provide lift allowing the boat to move across the water with minimal drag.
  • He had many other side projects, some of which were successful, others were very unsuccessful, but Alexander kept busy with all of his projects.


Alexander is best know for his work on the telephone. It was neat learning about how he created the telephone after taking Physics II which focuses a lot on electromagnetism. The telephone uses the properties of electromagnetism to transmit sound. It specifically uses the fact that solenoids (essentially wraps of wire around a spool) create magnetic fields when current is run through them and that current is induced through the wire of a solenoid when there is a changing magnetic field inside the solenoid. Graham discovered that both sound waves and electromagnetic waves are sinusoid all waves. Because of this, sound waves can be encoded as AC current and transmitted across a wire. All of this was new to me and it was neat being able to see how the stuff I learned in Physics is actually used in real life.

Outside the museum, there was a great view of a lighthouse.

Evening

My evening consisted of the normal activities so just read the older blog posts and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I did.

5-30-2016: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Today we went to the Canadian Immigration Museum and the Halifax Citadel.

Our original plan was to do a Segway tour of Halifax, but because of the weather, the tour was cancelled. We were very disappointed, but we still had plenty to do today.

Immigration Museum

The first thing we went to was the Immigration Museum at Pier 21, the main entry point for immigrants to Canada. Pier 21 was the Ellis Island of Canada. Pier 21 is right next to the cruise port terminal, in fact, we came into Building 22 so it was super easy to get to the immigration museum. The museum had exhibits on the history of immigration to Canada, the Pier 21 immigration process and an exhibit about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history.

History of Immigration to Canada

Like the United States, Canada is a nation of immigrants. Also like in the United States, the indigenous population historically were often mistreated. Canada was originally settled by French and British and there were many conflicts between the French and British. Eventually after all that was sorted out, the Canadians realized that they needed people to help settle the vast lands of Canada. They adopted a fairly opened immigration policy allowing most people who wanted in to come. As with the United States, Canada admitted many refugees during both World Wars. Pier 21 processed about one million immigrants to Canada while it was operating.

Pier 21 Immigration Process

Pier 21 is a pier, our ship docked within 20 metres of the facility just as many cruise liners had docked in the past. They would take the passengers in groups into the processing center. The immigrants would undergo health examinations and have their papers examined. Then, if they were eligible to immigrate, their documents would be stamped with a “Landed Immigrant” stamp. (They have since renamed that to “Permanent Resident”.) They were then free to move about in Canada.

The Trans-Canada Railway would take many of those immigrants to places elsewhere in Nova Scotia and the Maritime Provinces (the ones by the Atlantic Ocean) or to the Central and Western provinces.

The museum had a film about immigration to Canada featuring some more recent immigrants. In the film, they told stories about their experiences arriving in Canada and learning the culture. One of the best lines from the film:

Everyone was so apologetic, I would step in front of them and they’d say “sorry” and I’d be like, “you don’t need to say sorry for that”, and they’d say “sorry” again!

It was neat to see all of the people who wanted to become Canadian because they knew that Canada represented a better life for them and or their family.

The Sinking of the Empress of Ireland

Just a few years after the Titanic sunk, the Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence Seaway. To this day, it remains the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history. It was a foggy night when the captain saw another ship. The captains of each vessel assumed that the other would go one way, but in reality, they went the other way. The smaller vessel broadsided the Empress of Ireland and she sunk in only 15 minutes. After the sinking of the Titanic, the number of lifeboats on the Empress of Ireland was more than doubled (20 to 42). This didn’t help because of the crew did not have time to deploy most of them. Of the around 1200 passengers, only a few hundred survived.

Interestingly, the captain didn’t “fall” out of the ship onto a lifeboat. (Looking at you Costa Concordia.)

The Halifax Citadel

After lunch back on the boat, we headed to the Halifax Citadel, a fortress built to defend Halifax against potential attackers. Halifax has been attacked by many different countries. The first came from the French during the Franco-British wars. For example, Halifax was attacked during The Seven Years War, better known as the French and Indian War on this side of the pond (at least on the south side of the 49th Parallel). After the United States separated from Great Britain, Halifax became even more important because the British had lost the excellent harbors of Boston and New York among others. During the War of 1812, the United States attacked Canada in an attempt to rid the entire North American continent of British influence. Halifax was attacked, but in the end the United States failed in taking Canada (evidenced by the fact that Canada still exists).

The current Halifax Citadel was built after the War of 1812 and did its job very well, Halifax has not been attacked since.

We arrived at the Citadel right before the changing of the guard ceremony so we watched that. It’s nothing like the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, but it was still interesting. We then headed inside to the main building at the center of the star shaped citadel. We began by walking through some of an exhibit on the history of the British Military. Then we watched a film about the citadel which discussed the history and significance of the citadel. After that we went to the ramparts and looked for a few minutes.

At this point, it was time to return to the boat so we headed back to the boat. The evening proceeded much like the previous evenings.

5-29-2016: Bar Harbor, Maine

Today we were in Bar Harbor, Maine (pronounced Baahh Haahhhbahh). Bar Harbor is know for its lobster but it is also near Acadia National Park.

Bike Tour

We did a bike tour through the park. The park came to be through large donations from John D. Rockefeller Jr. and a few other men. They bought up the land, preventing it from being developed. After cars were introduced to the island, Rockefeller built a road around the entire park and built separate carriage roads where no motorised vehicles are allowed. They were named carriage roads because horse-drawn carriages are allowed. Throughout the park, the car road and the carriage road intersect in multiple places and in those places, Rockefeller had bridges built to ensure that people on the carriage roads didn’t have to deal with cars. Our tour went on these carriage roads. I think it is best to just post a bunch of pictures and let them speak for themselves.

Walking in Town

After our bike tour, we walked around the town of Bar Harbor. We ate lunch at a local restaurant that served lobster rolls (basically lobster sandwiches). I had one and it was very good. We walked around the town for a little while looking in the various stores and enjoying the town. Then we headed back to the boat and the evening proceeded much like the previous ones.

5-28-2016: Boston, Massachusetts

Getting Into Boston

We got off the boat early this morning because we had a lot of things that we wanted to do in Boston. We took the Subway towards the North End, at the tip of the peninsula that Boston is on. We walked along the Freedom Trail to Paul Revere’s House.

Old North Church

Since Paul Revere’s House wasn’t opened yet, so we went on to the Old North Church (pronounced “Awld Nawth Chuhch”). The church’s most recent major renovation was in 1911 (+/- 5 years) but it was built in 1723 (+/–10 years…ish). The church is an Episcopal Church (the Episcopal Church is the US affiliate to the Anglican Church). The pews are box pews which is exactly as it sounds. There rows of boxes with a pew in them and a door to the isle. The walls were about four feet high but the pulpit is elevated so it is easy to see the preacher. The pews are bought by families in the church. The Revere Pew has been passed down and Paul Revere’s children still own the pew.

On the walls were a bunch of plaques commemorating various people associated with the church. There were stones that listed all of the priests of the church. Another plaque commemorated an officer who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

There was a very nice organ in the back. I would have loved to hear it play during a service.

Paul Revere House

By this time, the Paul Revere House was opened so we backtracked to the house. It is one of the only houses left from that time period because of a fire that went through sometime a long time ago. The house was very small considering up to 11 people lived there at a time (Paul Revere was very good at making babies, he had 8 with his first wife and 8 with his second wife after his first died in childbirth). They had the house furnished with furniture from the mid to late 1700s and early 1800s.

Cemetery

From the Paul Revere House we proceeded on to a cemetery where there were a bunch of very old graves. I think it said that the oldest was from about 1650.

USS Constitution

We walked across the bridge to Charlestown and to the USS Constitution, one of the ships from the first US Navy. The ship still sails a few times every year (right now it is in drydock for a few years). Before going to the ship, we went to the museum. There were displays about the history of the USS Constitution, what life was like on the vessel and some general information about the ship. I’ll just list a few of the most interesting details.

  • T he USS Constitution served in the War of 1812.
  • The USS Constitution was involved in the bombardment of Tripoli during the war against the Barbary Pirates. The subsequent invasion of Tripoli is still commemorated in the Marine’s theme song.
  • The USS Constitution was dubbed Old Ironsides because cannonballs seemed to bounce off its sides.
  • The USS Constitution never sank (duh) and captured a bunch of ships and sank a bunch as well.

After seeing the museum exhibits, we went over to the boat and walked around. It is very small for the number of people who lived on board.

Bunker Hill Memorial

The Bunker Hill Memorial was the next thing on our list of things to do. I’ll start by explaining some of the history of Bunker Hill.

The British had occupied Boston for much of the beginning of the War of Independence. The Patriots laid siege to Boston and the British wanted to get a foothold in Charlestown on the other side of the Charles River. Patriot spies received intelligence on the British plans and an order was given to fortify Bunker Hill, the highest point in Charlestown. The decision was made to fortify Breeds Hill, the hill closer to Boston. When the British awoke, they saw saw a redoubt (groundwork fortification) and a network of groundwork and fences and walls defending Charlestown. The British sailed across the river to attack the Patriot stronghold. The Patriots were able to repel the first two attacks by waiting until they could see the “whites of their [the British] eyes” before firing a deadly volley into the attackers. On the third attack, the British took off their heavy packs and attached their bayonets. The Patriots ran out of ammunition and lost the hill to the British, but the cost was high for both sides. The Patriots casualties were about 400 but the British were decimated. Of the 1500 who crossed the river nearly 700 were killed or wounded.

Despite technically being a military victory for the British, the battle was a morale booster for the Colonies because it demonstrated that the Patriots could stand up to the best trained force in the world at the time: the British Army.

The museum basically talked about the history of the battle (much more in depth than I laid out above) but the monument outside is notable. On the top of Breed’s Hill is a monument that looks a lot like the Washington Monument. The person who built the Washington Monument was the runner up in the competition for the Bunker Hill Monument and took the winning design and used it in his bid for the Washington Monument. We were not able to go up the monument because of the heat, it was about 32° C (92° F).

Evening

At this point, it was time to return to the ship. I spent the evening swimming, eating dinner, playing ping-pong, writing my blog and listening to the Piano Man.

5-27-2016: At Sea

Today we were at sea and the sea was very calm so I was extremely happy about that. I was able to do a bunch of activities on the boat.

Morning

We slept in this morning because we didn’t have anything we needed to be up for. After breakfast, I went to help Barry, the Piano Man with an issue with Garage Band. He is composing the score for Shakespeare in the Park and he wanted to duplicate something in another file so I helped him with that.

Afternoon

After lunch, we went down to the theatre for a juggling workshop with the juggling performer. He taught us how to juggle with scarves which is easier than balls because they don’t fall as fast.

Then I went up to the Crow’s Nest to play some chess with David. He of course won all of the games but he gave me some good hints while we played.

At 16:00, I played the trivia with mom, David, and two ladies that we’d met at dinner one night. We did pretty well, but didn’t win.

I went down to the pool after that and swam for a while. Matt and Megan, a couple kids who I’d met a few days ago, came and we played some Marco-Polo.

Evening

Dinner was like the other nights. Read the other posts to know what dinner was night.

After dinner we went to the Piano Man for a few minutes before heading to the show which was a variety show meaning that a few performers did an act. First was the juggler dude. He was just as impressive and hilarious as before. A comedian was next, he was hilarious and had a bunch of good lines. Last was a rock singer who was very good. During his act, the cruise director, Sarah, came out and sang a duet with the him. She was very good and I think she surprised everyone by how good she was.

After the show, I went up to the Lido deck and played some ping-pong.