Boston

Early flight in, late night flight out. it is definitely not as crowded and bustling as NY, but it has its charm in its own way. i found it more difficult to get around, in terms of helping apps for transportation schedule, than in NY despite all the brains across Charles river.

public librarybooksOn the other hand, the culture for education is impressive. As a direct result, the first institution that I will mention the public library. It is yet another architectural masterpiece on the outside, as well as on the inside. the reading roominner court of the libraryThe impressive facade shelters an impressive amount of books, available to anyone who has the will to grow as a person and educate him/herself. The inner decoration and architecture is as beautiful as the inner court little oasis of peace.

public garden

boston common

Unlike NY, it is a much smaller main city, yet I found it much noisier too. I guess here the ambulance or firefighter car is more obvious when passing, since there is no bustling street life humming in the background. I love the countless parks on the other hand. The weather was surprisingly chilled, but very pleasant at the same time. Walking around the city was a pleasant stroll all the time. It is clean, despite the same phenomena of the missing trash cans. Whenever someone would ask me about impressions about the US or Boston in general I would end up saying it is not that different from Europe, especially England (obvious reasons) therefore there was no really severe cultural shock. Some reactions of differences that I noticed and I still remember, which stroke me at first.

 

Positives:

  • people would meet you with a smile and will actually establish eye contact, which I find very human and pleasant; even compliment sth on you, or give a free advice–take ti or leave it, but I still find these reactions pleasant, more human than a cold, straight, blank face or total lack of contact
  • ice is served in abundance everywhere
  • once you ask for adjustments on the service, it is done right away, which is considered rather awkward in Europe
  • doggie bag is as usual as tipping; no one would object it unlike here… where basically the equipment thus the concept is missing entirely
  • there’s a huge variety of cuisines, most of the time good as well, at least in the big urban agglomerations
  • while walking through the train station’s tunnel under the road, in Lausanne, I noticed that people in the bigger urban agglomerations know much better how to share the common space– they are better democrats. I actually started associating the lateral line from fishes with the crowds from the US. They would be just far better at avoiding individuals that the folks back here…
  • sailing on Charles riverone particular thing that I liked about Boston was that going sailing is so easy once on the shores of the Charles river, or of one of the ponds
  • second handsecond hand/not right from the shelf of a super fancy store is not a crime!! there would be various opportunities to find great articles (treasure hunters, attention! ) of high quality, at actually affordable prices. e.g. Boomerang thrift shop– even serves a good cause! — ok I saw there is the salvation army in CH as well, so little less criticism for this one …
  • softball gameI just assisted at my first softball game! :) it was fascinating to see how people with so different backgrounds, would actually be on the same wavelength for that one hour game, leaving any kind of differences outside and actually enjoying a non-competitive game, where being on a team is the main focus

Less positives:

  • toilet bowls fill up too much with water, which can cause unpleasant even gross situations; the hygienic paper in most of the places is so thin… :)
  • one must be always sharp on the maths, cause (S)he will have to deal with tipping and total sum computations all the time; which is quite ok though
  • what is more disturbing is that the prices don’t contain tax, you see one you pay sth else…well more usually ;) ; same goes for tips. I feel like once the tip is added, the price is a bit high for the service.
  • public transportation…
  • pubic library homelesshomeless? -)social aid — there would be quite a few homeless ppl sleeping in the parks
  • seemed that people wouldn’t really thrive for better understanding of what’s happening around them; I cannot forget this happening that I assisted at, while traveling by tram (locally called street train !) where a grandma’ would give her nephew a full white flour doughnut topped with chocolate, and the little cute redhead boy would eat it all ( this is even much for me as calories) and all that she could show would be a full contentment with her deed, asking the child whether he enjoyed –the unhealthy thing she just gave him. There was another scene as well, which kept me wondering for long, again a grandma not being responsible enough about her nephews. …
  • I missed speaking other language than English… I missed the variety from Europe, e.g. Switzerland
  • there is so much variation from one state to the other one… when I found this Colgate wisp (I wonder if it is available here, but so far I haven’t seen it… :( ) in industrial quantities all over the duane reader stores in NY, in Boston I had to pay a fortune for these ingenious inventions and had a hard time finding them. Probably the plus point here is Amazon’s efficacy, but still… not to mention the difference with the west coast …
  • one more that stroke me was that centralized car locking systems make the car honk as they lock it, instead of the usual blink of hazard warning lights. It just took me a while to get used to it :)

Well, these are example that stroke me, just to name a few, but of course the list can go on and this is only a tourist perspective. Anyone has different reactions to add?

More pics here.

Bar Harbor

Right before landingHappy accidents do happen. The flight from NY to Bar Harbor was with a stop over in Boston, which was a good idea. The first part was short but enough– like a roller coaster. Both takeoff and landing were designed for serious adrenaline junkies, I am happy that it wasn’t my first flight, but we made it!! :) and then I switched to a small Saab 340 plane for the rest of the trip. Like 30 ppl were on board and the flight was very smooth and surprisingly short. In like 1h we were basically landing on the tiny airport of Bar Harbor, yay!

The lodging turned out to be a very good deal. Due to the misunderstanding with my confirmation, I got to stray instead of the college dorm, in the hotel/motel across the street, in superb conditions, so this one checked!

The weather was still an issue to fix though, as after the 35+(felt like 40+) C in NY, here we would hardly have some ~20C, which I was not really prepared for. The town is quite, but very small.

Speaking of happy accidents, it is not only the lodging that turned out well, but also the room mate and the people I got to meet right from the beginning, in the tiny little airport at arrival. We sort of forged together right from that moment, and ended up going for a traditional local dinner on the first evening, skipping the one provided by the course. The view was scenic, wonderful colors, but unfortunately I did not have the camera with me.

Jordan PondWhen the weather was not crying, one day in the lecture break, we managed to escape for a short walk around the Jordan Pond. Well, glacier little lake, like…many other in Switzerland, but was a good means to disconnect from the science overdose that I got in the last 3 days.

 

Sandy Beach P1160344And yes, there is justice in the World! Finally after a week of rainy, overcast weather, we have a …half day of great weather! We make it basically to the sandy beach to do some tanning and relaxing on the beach, in the sound of breaking waves. The water was pretty cold, no brave people were actually swimming for long time in the water.

A later stop brings us back to the Jordan Pond, where this time we have a very pleasant conversation on the side of a blueberry crumble (the local favorite) and popover — the must try at the restaurant over there.

Sunset from RegencyBack in town, we make a third attempt to try the pool and the hot tub from the Regency hotel, right across our stay, and victory! The water is just perfect in each pool, we have a great relaxing evening, by waiting for the beautiful sunset at 8 PM. I have already missed a gorgeous one a few evenings back.

 

Irish PubTo finish the evening is style, we decide to head out, downtown for a walk, which ends in the local irish pub! Guinness, fries and chowder! Bon App!

 

 

Favorite dinner place and the dinner! ...will miss this place

Days went by and the weather decided to keep on playing bad tricks on us. There were not too many sunny days, but the good thing about such weather is that one gets to know fairly well all the shops and cafe places. The favorite breakfast / coffee place is Cafe This Way, a very nice shelter from the rain, bustling with half of the life from Bar Harbor during weekend time. However, the preferred dining place stays for me, the College of the Atlantic mensa, for the great organic food and awesome salads they serve.

Compass HarborOne of the finally sunny days brought us on the shores, in the cove next to the Jax Lab, Compass Harbor, so got to explore this angle of the chilly island too. The nature is very similar to the low hilly regions from Romania, like 600m alt., but with the crispy touch of the ocean breeze.

 

Finally and final sunny day. The nice part of the story ends here, since most probably the good weather will leave us for the end of the course. The lectures and the insight into the clinical world, for someone coming from the realm of theoreticians is always fascinating! I enjoyed today particularly the presentation of clinical cases, with references to genetic testing results. Fascinating!

Sailboat in the bay area

However, as I am getting closer to the end of my second week of genetic studies, I start feeling the symptoms of a scientific overdose. Therefore I turned my attention for the rest of the afternoon, towards the other fascinating motif around, the bay area. Couple of sailboats riding the crests of the small waves, some kayakers and a lot of calm. I particularly enjoy a lazy time on a bench not far from the course room at the hotel, and contemplate for a long while the scenery.

View from the Regency

I must mention that the lawn was amazingly thick and well trimmed. A pleasure to walk on it. Another nice thing while sitting on the bench and contemplating this view, was that after all the presentations of the day, there were many genetic diseases presented, from phenotypical p.o.v. alike, so this is a challenge for someone not used to work with such conditions, therefore, the sight of a healthy, energetic teenager playing soccer with his father on that lawn and obstructing my view from time to time, was very pleasant!

Mists of ... Bar HarborActually we had one more beautiful sunny day. Though it was a bit special, due to the fog that spread across the bay area and gave us a special feel about the place.

One of the art galleries from Bar HarborArt and handcraft -- SunlightcatchersThe last day was actually a treat; we got to walk around the city once more and as a treat, we got to discover the literally hidden gems of the place: art galleries! The handcraft objects sold in the local art shops are very neat and original. Here’s an example… .

Was a great time, however now is time to say

Bye Bye … Bar Harbor!

P.S. I forgot to mention the local market experience, on the only Sun we had there. It is a tiny, neat market, with only a few stalls, yet one can find some hidden gems. The one I discovered was Lucy’s granola. Very nice granola, would order it online if I went back to the US.

More pics here.