Sunday, November 30, 2008

Boston, Day One...the Trip and The Museum of Fine Arts

So here I am on the 19th floor of the Copley Square Westin Hotel in Boston. We got up early this morning (for us, anyway!) and were out the door of my parents' house by 9am. We had an uneventful drive, though it rained the entire way, which was annoying, and arrived at about 1:15 pm. We settled into our room, and then decided that since Matt's meeting doesn't start till tomorrow and he had the afternoon free, we should take the opportunity to go to the Museum of Fine Arts. He has wanted to go for years, so this was great. I hadn't been there in about 7 years--Rachel and I went together when Julia was an infant, and she slept through almost the entire trip. But after that, I always had a baby and a toddler and there was no way I was going into an art museum and try to see all that "boring" stuff with them in tow. However, now they are older and since we studied the ancients this fall in history (India, China, Greece, Rome and Egypt) it was the perfect time to bring them to this museum that is chock full of treasures from those periods.

Our adventure began with a ride on the T. Another first for us! Because of having such small kids, I haven't ventured onto the T with them, though I know it fairly well from our days of living here in Boston before kids. We have always taken the car out of the valet parking, driven to where we were going, paid to park and tipped the valets before and after too. So it was nice to be pretty unencumbered and walk over to the Copley Place T station and wait for the train--though if I could do it again I would have asked for no rain! We had to wait a fair bit for the T to arrive, but the museum is only 5 stops from Copley, so it didn't take long to get there. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Julia, Ben and Emma don't have to pay to ride the T, and pleasantly surprised again to find that kids get free admission to the museum on weekends, so it "only" cost $34 to get us inside.

We had a really fun time, although I have to say that it was a bit difficult for the kids to get used to the NO TOUCHING ANYTHING rule...they are used to children's museums, science centers and aquariums, where you can touch almost anything at will. At the Museum of Fine Arts, they panic if you so much as touch a glass case--granted, when you are looking at 3,000 year old artifacts and Van Gogh paintings, I realize they don't want anyone to touch! The mummies were of course a hit. It was neat to see mummified kittens, cats, dogs, baby crocodiles, rams, and people! Ben also liked the sarcophagi, all the examples of hieroglyphs, and the canopic jars....remember how he loved the brains being hooked out through the nose? Well, jars that the Egyptians put organs in before embalming the rest of the body excited him too! Emma loved the jewelry, Rachel had fun taking photos of all she found interesting, and Julia says her favorite was the mummies also....and we all enjoyed talking about how very old this stuff is.

Ancient pottery, coins, statues, jewelry, clothes, was all there and all fascinating. We went into the art galleries and saw the European masters, including my favorites--Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh....I was at first upset that they had none of the ballerina paintings of Degas, but then we found a statue of his of a 14-year-old ballerina and read the plaque, which said that this was his one named and displayed statue. We also went to the Dutch masters gallery, where I'd hoped to see a Vermeer, which I thought I remembered seeing back in 2001 when we went last, but no go. They either didn't have one or it was in one of the galleries being renovated. We did see some Delft china, including a tulip vase, which I'd never seen the likes of--basically a small urn with single stem sized holes at various levels of the vase to hold the tulips in perfect order. We also looked at Elizabethan furniture, silver and knick knacks, briefly at a photography exhibit, and walked past many things that we decided we didn't have enough interest in to spend time on.

When we left it was pouring, which was less than pleasant while we scurried back to the T stop. Luckily we were able to fit with everyone else under the roof of the shelter so we didn't get absolutely drenched, and then we got off at the Prudential Center so that we didn't have to be outside anymore--we ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in the Copley Mall, and used the indoor walkways between the malls to make our way back to the hotel. Then Matt took the kids to the pool and I stayed behind to blog, check email and go on Facebook....heaven!

I am hoping for better weather tomorrow, but so far our vacation is wonderful. The kids and I have to decide what we want to do with our day. I will post again tomorrow evening with an update!


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