Partook of the free breakfast once again, and set off in very overcast conditions with the threat of rain overhanging.
One of our objectives today was the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Museum. The earliest time bookable online was 12.20, so we had plenty of time to have a look round the immense Boston Public Library just across the square.
An extraordinary building. More information at https://www.bpl.org/about-the-bpl/.
A 20-minute walk took us to the Mary Baker Eddy Museum. She founded the Christian Science movement in the 1870s, and published the Christian Science Monitor in 1903. I hasten to add that our sole motivation was to visit the Mapparium, a 30-feet diameter glass sphere depicting the world as it was known in 1935. Only you were inside the globe, not outside.
We were greeted by an urbane gentleman who congratulated me a) on booking online b) on turning up on time, as though this was unusual. Really??
We were joined by a couple of other people and, in the tender care of another smooth-talking bloke, who gave us a homily about what we could and couldn’t do, we entered the 30-foot glass bridge across this glass globe.
Tragically, we couldn’t take pictures or videos here – apparently it breaches copyright in some way – because it was a surreal experience. Lots of worthy sentiments being expressed over the audio system about how we need to pray for the future of the world, but the lighting and effects were spectacular. The countries, of course, were being shown with their old names – Siam, Bechuanaland, Rhodesia, Burma, for example.
Apparently the acoustics in here are so pure that whispers can be heard in complete clarity across the diameter of the globe. We didn’t get a chance to test this, sadly.
Another extraordinary experience.
We emerged blinking into an area with much in the way of glossy interactive screens depicting sentiments such as joy, compassion, courage, etc., etc. All a soft incentive to join the movement, beautifully done and no expense spared. This movement has money to burn.
For those of a certain vintage, and a healthy cynicism about the beliefs and practices of this movement, I commend the song “Send the Marines” by Tom Lehrer. It’s on Spotify, for example. Listen to the introduction mentioning a Christian Scientist with appendicitis…..
We exited this large edifice to be confronted by a whole plaza dedicated to this movement. Huge buildings, which will have cost a fortune. It all strikes a rather jarring note with me when the money they get from very wealthy benefactors could surely be put to better use helping the less fortunate.
Next target was the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which has been mentioned as a must-see by a couple of unimpeachable sources. This was more for Jean’s benefit than mine.
Longish walk to get there, but again we saw a bit more of this wonderful city.
Just weird. I have no idea what this is about.
As we’d booked the tickets online earlier, we waltzed past the queue of people waiting to get in to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which always makes me feel good.
By this time, we were in need of sustenance, so we left our details with the host of the onsite café (it was full) and sat around to wait. Fortunately, it was only a 5 minute hiatus, and sat down to a very good charcuterie meal, accompanied by a remarkably decent Sauvignon Blanc.
The museum is a collection of various artefacts, paintings, statuary, etc., by the eponymous founder. Details at https://www.gardnermuseum.org/. It is extremely popular – I was glad we’d pre-booked.
There were three floors of rooms which housed said arty-farty stuff. It was mightily impressive in some ways, but so much of it was in dark and dreary rooms, full of wall to wall paintings, tapestries, furniture, etc. I’m afraid this just bores me rigid. Even Jean got museumed-out at the end.
Nice courtyard, though.
Logistics problems next. On Monday, we catch a train from Boston South Station to New York, so we thought we’d check out the public transport option to take us there from the hotel.
An interesting experiment using the efficient Boston Metro system, but there is no way we can lug our bags up and down stairs, escalators, etc. However, we now know, in theory at least, where to go and what to do when we get to Boston South Station on Monday. A cab/Uber/Lyft is called for….
Riveting stuff, huh?
Back to the hotel via the Metro – sort of getting the hang of it now – for a most welcome beer, wine and G&T. We also ventured up to the top floor of the hotel to check out 😏 the Health Centre.
The view was far better!
So that was it for the day.
Plan for tomorrow is to finish off the Freedom Trail walk, which should also kill a few other birds with one stone. Join us if you can.