September 17, 2008
After seeing so much of downtown Boston yesterday, today was completely dedicated to Cambridge (north-west of Boston) and it’s two renowned academic institutions, the MIT and Harvard. We took the red line to Kendall and then walked along Memorial Dr until we hit Massachusetts Ave. There we took a right and ended up right in front of MITs main building, where we passed the time checking out a few of the adjacent buildings. At 11am our tour started, which was led by a very nice undergrad, who talked really really fast and didn’t seem to have a problem doing so while walking backwards for quite some distance. Needless to say, the tour was excellent, especially all the little anecdotes and insider-information which gave you a view on campus life and overall atmosphere from a student’s perspective. It was also nice that the campus was alive with people, things like the Infinite Corridor wouldn’t have the effect that made them so popular without it’s students. We finished the tour back at the main building and, having walked our fair share already, Katrin and I headed to the MIT museum before getting a bite to eat nearby.
After that we took the bus to Harvard Square, and, although still Cambridge, and although it still did feel very different from Boston itself, you immediately sense a shift in people and especially architecture once you step off the bus. We decided against taking another tour and instead just toured the campus ourselves (I dare say I didn’t really see that much ivy). Harvard Yard, the part of Harvard one knows from TV and photographs has an enchanting and timeless atmosphere to it, with it’s old red brick buildings and the huge trees which keep out the sun and cool the whole square. But stepping through one of the gates you’re in the middle of traffic again, which is a bit disappointing in my opinion.
Tiring as it may have been, this day was even better than yesterday and an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. All the facilities and extra-curricular activities that these universities offer (and demand) made us feel pretty jealous too ;) Tomorrow we’ll be leaving Boston to go to Salem and probably make it as far as Portland, ME, where we intend to spend the night.