Friday, September 9, 2011

In which I take a walk

Normally, I'm an indoors person. Don't get me wrong, I love nature, but I spend many of my waking hours on my laptop, comfortably protected from the weather. Plus, I spent the first eighteen years of my life in suburban Connecticut, in a small neighborhood. It's not a terribly exciting place to walk around, and there's no sidewalks on the main road if I want to go further. I also can't go out past sunset, because no one else is about so the natural assumption would be that I was up to no good. There's a nice woods behind my house, but it's not a good place to walk after dark either due to the sometimes twisty and uneven trails.

But now, I'm in Boston, which has the useful trait of being a fairly large and rather safe city. There are hundreds of streets to walk down with sights galore: buildings, a rather impressive river, lots of people, and of course trains (active subway and commuter rail, and abandoned infrastructure). I feel safe walking around most of the city, even at night; the areas near BU (Cambridge, Fenway-Kenmore, Back Bay, and Brookline) are all good safe areas.

So, I've taken to walking, both to class (even though I could catch the BU shuttle bus for a few blocks) and just for fun. The BU Campus is 1.5 miles from Kenmore to Packard's Corner, and there's lots of fun stuff a similar distance away. Brookline in particular is a nice place for strolling.

Today, I had a few errands to run. I walked up Commonwealth Avenue to the student union, then back down to Kenmore Square. I decided to walk to the Back Bay Best Buy (actually next to Hynes) to get an ink cartridge for my printer. I took the long way to Mass Ave, via Beacon Street and Charlesgate East. At Charlesgate, between Storrow Drive and an access ramp, there's a random house:


It stands alone among the Muddy River and a mix of rusting highway ramps. It's too far from the Green Line to be an old headhouse or vent (like the emergency exit on the corner of Charlesgate East and Newbury Street), and it doesn't seem to be occupied. Perhaps it's a fancy maintenance shed. Whatever it is, it's mostly covered in Ivy.

From there, I walked across the Harvard Bridge and through MIT on Massachusetts Avenue. At Central Square, I took the stairway down into the T and filled up my Charliecard. I considered walking back to BU via Cambridgeport and the BU Bridge, but that would be another 3 to 4 miles back to Hynes, so instead I boarded the Red Line inbound. At Park Street I changed to the Green Line, on an extremely crowded tram. I squeezed my way out at Hynes and strode into the Best Buy.... only to learn that they did not have the ink cartridge I sought. I went back to my dorm via Newbury Street and Bay State Road, using the convenient pedestrian underpass at Kenmore station to safely cross under Commonwealth.

Still, it was a great walk. The weather was finally clearing up after three dreary days, and the view from the middle of the Charles was spectacular. My total walk was about 3.7 miles including the bit coming back from Hynes, which is probably more than I walked all summer. Thanks to all this walking, I'm hungrier than I was when sedentary. I anticipate moving to a four-meals-a-day schedule within a week or two.

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