Dr. Hoffer's Travel WebSite This site was last updated 05/23/18
IRELAND15 #1 LA to BOSTON to MUNICH
July 6-13, 2015
AMTRAK: Los Angeles to Boston
This begins our 12th trip through a country or region of Europe and we are running out of places to go. This time we decided to finally visit the Northern Ireland we never got to see in 1999 because of the violence there at that time (the so-called "Troubles"). Because we had a meeting in the UK in July and another one in Spain in early September our trip was increased from six weeks to three months again. Since I have reported on our trips to Boston several times in the past, I will keep this one very short.
I made an unfortunate error for this trip - I decided to try to use my Palm Treo phone one more time rather than switching to the calendar on my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone to keep the Diario details of the trip. I kept all the details carefully on the Palm in 2013 without being able to Hotsynch it to the computer until the day I got home. So I thought I might get lucky and could try it again so I kept all the details from the time I left Santa Monica on July 6th as I have on every previous trip since 1997. On that fateful day in Barcelona, on September 4th, while plugging the Palm into its charging cord late at night, it suddenly did an automatic reset and when it came back on everything worked fine but the Calendar was completely blank. All the two months of data from the trip were gone. From then on I used the S4 and prayed I could recover the data. When I returned home, I sent it to an expensive data recovery lab ($2000 if they recover; free if they can't) and they returned it unable to recover anything. So this Diario will be a little bit different from all the others due to all the lost information and trying to reconstruct it from receipts and memory. This is also the first time I have felt comfortable using the S4 phone for photos for this site now that the quality has improved so much and am using less of the GoPro camera shots. Stock photos have a black border.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Clara, our housekeeper for the past 35 years, drove me to Union Station at 5:05 PM and I rolled my three bags (below) to the First Class lounge on the second floor of LA Union Station (below). At 5:55, the Redcap arrived and took by bags to his electric cart and drove me to Train 4, the Southwest Chief, and right to my car #431.
My car attendant took my bags to my Deluxe Bedroom B and we soon departed at 6:15 PM. After getting settled in, at 8:00 PM, I went for dinner in the dining car and. I tucked into bed at a reasonable time.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
I woke at 7:05 AM and again at 11:40 as we pulled into Albuquerque. I dashed off the train at 11:45 AM and did my run alongside the tracks into the bus terminal in the dry heat. At 12:10 PM we took off heading northeast. I sat in the lounge car (below left) and worked on my computer for awhile until it was time to change for dinner.
As I walked through the couch cars (above right), I made my dinner reservation at 8:00 PM. I had some wine so the total cost was $11.50 instead of free. I was again on the computer until I fell asleep.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I woke at 3:20 AM, 5:55 and again at 8:30 and wound up staying up and dressed in my running outfit. We pulled into Chicago at 3:15 PM and I rolled my bags to the station and checked them in at their brand new First Class Lounge. Wow, was this a redo not consistent with usual government designs. It was absolutely beautiful, with free food and snacks laid out as well as fresh Peets coffee available - I just couldn't believe it.
I took the escalator up to street level and did my usual four times around the block of Boston Blackie's restaurant and then can't stop myself from taking a photo of one of the Chicago River bridges (above left) and the old "Sears" Tower (above right), now known as the Willis Tower. It is a 110-story 1,450 ft (442.1 m) skyscraper built in 1973 and was the tallest building in the world for 25 years (now 16th).
I then bought some things at the Food Faber Store on W. Jackson St. and at the Corner Bakery Café [S. Riverside Plaza, 312-441-0821]. Of course I wended my way to my favorite Peet's Coffee (below left) which is just two doors down from the Adams St. entrance to the station.
I enjoyed a large cappuccino and caught up on email for a relaxing period. I then got back to the fancy lounge and waited for the loading call for the Lake Shore Lmtd. The Redcap took my bags on his cart and rolled me to my car and the attendant took them to my bedroom. On this train all the rooms are smaller roomettes except for the two Deluxe bedrooms (A and B) and a large Handicap room. I enjoyed a chicken dinner at 8:00 PM, worked on my computer and went to bed.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
I woke, got up and I was all ready when the train arrived in Albany, NY at 2:50 PM. I did my run in the station area alongside the train at 3:00 PM. My car attendant moved my bags to the Boston part of the combined train but I wound up losing my sleeper room and the trip was now in a coach seat to Boston South Station. The Boston half of the train left Albany at 4:10 PM and I got a coffee and worked on my computer. My favorite photo out of the back of the last car of the train (right).
I arrived in Boston South Station at 9:10 PM, on time. I rolled may bags into the station and at 9:25PM, made a mad dash to Auntie Anne's for a pretzels at $3.65. I rolled my bags out of the station to the taxi queue and at 9:30 PM my cab took me to the Boston Harbor Hotel [70 Rowes Wharf, 617-439-7000] (below) and checked in.
Marcia had flown in from LAX several days ago and drove a rental car to Rockland, Maine to visit her nephew Matt. She should be driving back tomorrow. This three night stay is costing $1,745.05 and highly out of our usual price range for hotel stays. I wanted to try it once.
Since I had already run, I could relax and walk around the hotel for a few minutes but it was getting late so I headed out for dinner. I walked all the way over and at 11:57 PM, I sat down at Legal Harborside Restaurant [270 Northern Ave, Liberty Wharf, 617-477-2900] (above right, below left) and I had the largest steamed lobster they had with cole slaw and French fries (below right).
I took a cab back to the hotel and went to bed at 2:00 AM.
Friday, July 10, 2015
For my second day in Boston, I slept late and went out for my run around the wharf area. It was exhilarating. Many things I did are lost on the dead Palm phone but here are a few shots of this incredible hotel. The main part of the hotel is on the right (the darker brown part) and over the large archway are two levels; the lower of rooms and the circular upper level a business center. Our room was the three open windows on the lower level above the arch.
It is very hard to photograph the whole building in one shot. As you can see (below left), the hotel looks out on the bay where there are wharfs and ships.
Below left, again you can see our room with the three windows open. Marcia arrived in the late afternoon. Before dinner we went out to the back of the hotel and they were having a "Blues Barge" event with live music. It was very nice.
We had to walk several blocks to find the Italian restaurant that the Concierge recommended and arrived for dinner at 10:53 PM at Antico Forno Cucina a Legna [93 Salem St., 617-723-6733]. I started with a delicious Italian Peroni beer and then we enjoyed a very reasonably priced bottle of Pinot Grigio. I'm liking this place already. Stock photos below from their website.
We started by sharing a Margherita pizza (below). I immediately noticed that their padded chairs (below) were very similar to the ones that used to be at my Peet's coffee shop at home and was determined to find out where they got them. They gave me the phone number of the owner, Carla Agrippino-Gomes (above right) so I called her and she gave me the specs on the company where she got them - very nice lady.
I then had a primi of a rigatoni salsiccia (homemade rigatoni pasta with Italian sausage, sweet onions and ricotta cheese, finished in brick oven) that was delicious and filling (below left) and Marcia had vitello (pan seared veal scaloppini in a sweet wine demiglaze with artichoke hearts, roasted potatoes and string beans (below right) which she enjoyed as well.
We rated the meal excellent and definitely plan on returning here someday. On our walk back to the hotel, at 11:28 PM, we stopped into the CVS Pharmacy [218 Hanover St., 617-720-2688] for some items and then we had an after dinner beer and wine at the fancy main floor hotel bar called Rowes Wharf Bar (below). Its quite posh.
We left at 12:37AM and headed up to the room and got to bed at 1:45 AM.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
On our third day in Boston I woke late and did my run through the wharf area of downtown and finally got far enough away to get a photo of the whole hotel with my S4 phone.
As I traveled away from the wharf into the denser areas I came across this beautiful tall building which is on the site of the late 1700s Long Lane Meeting House (left) that later became the Federal Street Church (right) It started as Presbyterian, changed to a Congregational church and then due to its famous pastor, William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) (below left), it became the first headquarters of the American Unitarian Church in 1825. The Meeting House is where the Massachusetts State Convention ratified the U.S. Constitution on February 6, 1788.
It was built in 1971 at 37 floors and became the First Federal Bank Building (owned by Bank of America) but was sold in 2012 and is now simply called the 100 Federal Street Building and is the 7th tallest in Boston.
When I was finally done with my run, I went into the famous old Langham Hotel [250 Franklin Street, 617-720] (below) because I had read that they had a room dedicated to N. C. Wyeth, the father of the famous American artist Andrew Wyeth whose name is on the major art museum in Rockland, ME where Marcia grew up. The building was erected in 1922 and reburbished in 1953. It was originally the first Federal Reserve Bank from the late 1800s.
It is a 4* hotel. The plaque on the side of the building describes the previous building on this site.
N. C Wyeth (Newell Convers Wyeth, 1882-1945) (left) was also famous in his day for his many paintings (stock, above right) for such classic novels as the 1883 "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) (right). I made it up to the Wyeth room on the second floor and found these two huge Wyeth paintings on each side of the large room. The one on the left (below) was of George Washington and on the right was of Abraham Lincoln. They were quite spectacular. These were the best photos I could get.
Because the flood lights are so strong on them, here are the stock photos I found. The one of Lincoln is him conferring with Sanford Chase.
When I got back outside I walked by Leventhal Park in the Financial District and from their map below you can see how far it is (upper left) from South Station (below left) and to the Boston Harbor Hotel (upper right).
When I got back to the hotel, I went out to the backside to see the ships. The area is called Rowes Wharf. From the plan (below left) you can see the hotel practically wraps around it. There was an Odyssey ship moored on one side and I noticed this old three-master sailing ship on the otherside.
I went around for a better look at it. I learned that it was the Hermione, a 32-gun Concorde-class frigate fitted for 12-pounder guns, completed in Rochefort by the Asselin organization in 2014.
She is a reproduction of the 1779 Hermione (below), which achieved fame by ferrying General La Fayette [Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette] (1757-1834) (below) to the United States in 1780 to allow him to rejoin the American side in the American Revolutionary War. This was a lucky happenstance to get to see it.
At 3:49 PM Marcia had lunch at the Pasta Beach Restaurant [30 Rowes Wharf, 617-439-6900] and then at 5:00 PM she had a massage at the Health Spa in the hotel. At 6:51 PM, I had a nice cool pint of Guinness (below left) at Barney Fanning's Pub [99 Broad St, 617-357-8287].
It was very refreshing. A nice cozy place to enjoy a beer.
[The last days of my Palm phone.
I have since learned sadly that Barney's closed in December 2015 and is now reopened as the Broadside Pub (below left), same address and phone.]
I then took my computer and at 7:37 PM had my cappuccino at the Starbucks [30 Rowes Wharf] next door to the hotel (above right). It was getting very late so I ran up and got changed and we headed out for dinner especially aiming to hit the same Legal Seafood Harborside on Northern Ave for another final big lobster. We got there at 11:15 PM and when I asked for a large lobster they told me they were all out and had nothing larger now than a one pounder. So, I ordered fried clams to start (below left) and Marcia had a cup of Boston clam chowder (below right).
Then, Marcia had a beautiful lobster roll with fries and slaw (below left) while I ordered my favorite sautéed haddock (below right) because I cannot get fresh haddock on the West coast.
Well, there was a problem with the haddock, the way it had been cooked, so they offered to redo it but this time I asked them to just fry it. The new one was much better and I ate the whole thing. We left at 12:40 AM and caught a cab back after finding a place to get a soft vanilla ice cream cone for dessert.
After arriving at the hotel we meandered over to the nearby Barney Fanning's Pub where I enjoyed another Guinness and Marcia had a wine. At 1:50 AM, we walked back to our room and tried to get our packing organized for our flight tomorrow. We got to bed at 3:00 AM.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Today is our fourth and last day in Boston and is flight day. I woke up at 9:15 and and got into my running rain gear since I was heading for church. I ran to the St. Anthony Shrine [100 Arch St., 617-542-6440] and attended the 11:15 Mass. I was extremely tired so I walked back to my room and went back to sleep.
Marcia woke me at 2:25 PM. We checked out of the hotel and drove the car Marcia rented to go to Maine to Logan Airport. After dropping it off at the Hertz center we caught one of the buses that takes you to the Terminal. The lasy bus driver told us that these were her last days doing this because the city was taking over the bus lines at the airport and she would be out of a job.
We unloaded all our bags and went into the main Terminal. We waited in the check-in line and they took all of our bags except our take-ons. At 5:50 PM we were checking through Customs and the TSA checkpoint. Once cleared, at 6:30 PM, we arrived at the Lufthansa Business Class lounge. Since I don't drink alcohol on the day I'm flying, I passed on all the free beer and wine. At 6:45 PM I had my dinner there which consisted of a cappuccino.
At 7:45 PM I took my 0.5 mg Klonopin and at 8:15 PM we boarded the plane (Flight #425, Seats 7A/7C). Once seated and settled, at 8:20 PM, I took the other 0.5 mg Klonopin along with eight Melatonin tablets. I put my earplugs in, my blindfold on and blew-up my neck-pillow and put it on. At 8:45 PM the plane took off and at 9:00 PM I fell soundly to sleep. The flight is supposed to take 7 hours and 25 minutes and fly 3,854 miles. We lose 6 hours crossing the Atlantic from EST to CET [CET means Central European Time]. The seat in front of me housed the display of the flight statistics. They started with Mercator maps of the world showing our flight plan Boston to Munich and ...
... they also showed spherical globe depictions of it.
Marcia woke me later and asked me if I wanted any dinner. So I tried what they were serving. It was some kind of meat with mashed potatoes and green beans. It was followed by various cheeses and dried apricot. I tasted a little bit of all of it and then quickly fell back to sleep. Tomorrow we will be in Munich.
Monday, July 13, 2015
As usual, I woke up for a bathroom break about one hour before landing and stayed awake until we get there. I continued taking shots of the flight plan screens. Here are just two examples of them in German as we passed over England.
They even have depictions of the pilot's view from the cockpit as we approached Belgium (left) and then over France.
Then they showed topography maps of the land we were flying over with the cities labeled. We are now 55 minutes and 425 miles (684 Km) away from Munich flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
Most people watch movies or have the screen off, so I have included a lot of shots of the different navigation screens as we approached Munich and landed. If not interested just scroll through them.
We were close enough now to take some photos out the window of villages and farmlands.
Now they show views above the plane as it heads into landing.
Here you see the airport complex as we approach (left) and our plane on the runway (right).
Then we make the curve into the terminal area.
Here we are at the terminal gate. Quite an impressive show.
We are finally here and I am happy to get off the plane and get this trip to Ireland started. Now for a familiar taste of Germany to start.
KJH Go To è NEXT DIARIO #2
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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