In the heart of Boston winds a 2.5 miles historic walk: the freedom trail. It passes by 16 significant monuments and buildings showing the city’s major role in the US history, especially the Revolution. The Boston Tea Party pushed Americans and British closer to war when the Sons Of Liberty captured ships and threw all the tea cargo in the Boston Harbor in protest of the tax on tea by the British. Following the brick line on the sidewalk we see government buildings, churches, burial grounds but also the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned warship, 1797). We probably should have done a tour because most of the signs along the way are really brief. But even without much insight into each stop it’s a whole day gone exploring along the trail.
The next day we start with a free tour of the Boston public library, one of the largest public libraries in the US. Built in 1895, the architecture is inspired by Italian palazzos. After lunch we do another free tour, of JFK’s birth home in Brookline suburb. The president was born in the master bedroom 100 years ago in 1917. After his assassination in 1963, his mother worked on restoring the house to the way it looked back then. The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds were wealthy families, even though the house isn’t a mansion, it had water and electricity, technologies like the fridge, and it was their first home after their wedding in 1914 (usually young couples would move in an apartment). Like at Lyndon Johnson’s child home, the kids were expected to debate on daily news at the dining table. John, called by the family “little Jack”, wasn’t expected to be president, but like all the children (9 in total), they were expected to be achievers. JFK went to Harvard, our last visit of the day. We tour Harvard yard, the main campus. “Hahvahd”, pronounced with a Boston accent, is America’s oldest high education school, founded in 1636. Harvard library has over 18 millions books, it’s the largest academic and private library in the world. Some famous names went to Harvard: JFK, the two Roosevelt presidents, Barack and Michelle Obama, Al Gore, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Amy Poehler, Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerberg but they both dropped out, and the infamous Unabomber. Harvard’s endowment (donations) is the largest in the world: 37.6 billion. The school’s acceptance rate is 5,2%.