The travel of summer 2019 brought me to the United States. Still, if you follow me for a while, even on social media (Facebook and Instagram in particular), you already know it. The first stop was the city of Boston, where I also landed and from which I left to return to Italy. Today I begin to tell you about the city, and I do it, as usual, starting from the useful information for the stay.
The city has 4 underground lines, plus the “silver line” (buses) and numerous buses that connect the various parts of the city. With the subway, I always arrived wherever I wanted to go, with a maximum of two changes (but only when I really “said bad”). The Logan International Airport is connected to the city centre by the blue metro line, which can be reached by free shuttles connecting the various terminals of the huge Boston international airport.
When you have to take the subway, to choose the platform from which to take the train, you have to pay attention to the direction you are going! You go “Inbound” if you want to get to the city centre, or “Outbound” if, instead, you are going out of town. In all the stations, however, there is the personnel in charge of assisting passengers: for any doubt or problem you ask without hesitation, they will undoubtedly be very willing to help you. For trips outside the city, trains depart from two stations: the North Station (from here I left for Salem) and the South Station (from here I took the train to New York and Plymouth). Commuter Rail trains depart from both, managed by the MTBA (the city public transport company), while only the second Amtrak trains (fast trains to many American cities).
Tickets for public transport
Single ticket: 2.9 dollars;
Daily ticket (24 hours from the first stamping): 12.65 dollars;
With the Charlie card prices fall significantly (for example the single ticket goes down to 2.4 dollars). Failing to understand where and how to buy it, I asked one of the assistants at the station who gave me one.
How does the card work? It recharges very quickly to the machines you find in all the subway stations. If you charge us for single trips you can use one for several people, otherwise, for longer passes, you will need more than one.
You can do your shopping in different chains and supermarkets.
7 Eleven: certainly one of the most famous chains in the United States. You need to bear in mind that the size and supply of goods available obviously vary according to the area in which you are located (the most central ones seemed to be slightly larger and certainly more supplied).
CVS/Pharmacy: I had already got to know this chain when, in 2015, I was in New York. It is a pharmacy with an adjoining minimarket where you can buy anything you may need during your stay with regards to food and drinks.
Roche Bros: real supermarket, here you can shop for everything you need for a complete meal. I went to the store located on Summer Street (at number 8, be careful because you have to go down to the basement), very close to the Downtown Crossing metro station.
Costs of life
As I imagined before I left, it is not a cheap city: compared to Europe, I knew that I would find expenses a little higher.
But paying attention to how I spent I had no liquidity problems. Remember that in the United States you can pay with a credit card virtually anywhere, even a few dollars! I suggest you check first, of course, that your card works (I forget, with my card, that I had to change a setting from my bank website, and I needed to do that as soon as I remembered to use it).
Dinner out: I never spent less than 25/30 dollars (for one person).
Spending at the supermarket: with an expense of about 15/20 dollars I bought at least one dinner, two breakfasts, snacks (more or less healthy) for 2 days and water to take me around.
Life in the city
I indeed found a very liveable city, where I never had any problems, and I never felt in danger. I walked around quietly with both light and dark (though never after midnight). I felt at ease from (almost) just arrived in the city, which has a decidedly very European air: I almost didn’t feel like I was in the United States, I have to admit it! I found a very calm city, never a beep or people “agitated” that were running: walking on its streets, even after many kilometres, was almost “relaxing”.
I immediately learned how traffic lights work: pedestrians must always “call” them with the button on each side! The cars always leave the pass to the pedestrians. If like me, you cannot absolutely live without the internet connection you will find several “open” networks to which you can connect (in addition to the usual Starbucks network and similar places that make it available to customers).