August 27, 2007

summer travel & food highlights

Boston is a charming city rich in history, tradition and amazing architecture. One of the highlights of our recent summer trip was staying at the equally interesting town of Lowell. We had a chance to experience Boston for half a day when we did the self-guided Freedom Trail tour around the city the day we got there. From Lowell, we took the very convenient commuter trail and just walked from the train station to our first stop, the very impressive USS Constitution or "Old Ironsides" right across the bridge. From there, we went on, following the "red brick" line to the rest of the historical attractions like the Old Granary Burying Ground, Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, etc. Along the way, we passed the North End's Little Italy area, before proceeding all the way to the end of the Freedom Trail, the grand Massachusetts State House with its shiny 23-carat gold dome. It was almost dark when we reached the Boston Common and Public Park. Then it was time to catch the 8 pm train back to Lowell.

a popular pastry shop (above) located at the North End's Little Italy area

a restored clock in the heart of downtown Lowell (above)the ornate Pollard library building (shown above)

the Boott Cotton Mills yard & old locomotive display

The old cobblestone roads of this once very successful industrial city became part of my daily walks around the town. It was amazing to learn about the town's history through their many informative and well organized museums. The town is home to a large Cambodian and Vietnamese population as well as to Greeks, Portuguese and Italians. Finding a unique restaurant to try was not a problem. We tried an authentic Vietnamese, Cambodian & Thai restaurant as well as a family-owned Greek restaurant serving all the savory traditional Greek dishes and sweet desserts.

long aisles of groceries and merchandise at the Battambang Supermarket

colorful containers of sweet snacks & crackers

Another highlight of the trip, I must admit, was discovering a huge Asian market called Battambang Supermarket, which is as big as a regular grocery store. Aisle after aisle, I spent hours inspecting the store's numerous interesting food, groceries and merchandise. They sell Asian vegetables and meat. They also have a live fish tank filled with swimming tilapia.

It was a delight to find some steamed rice cakes, a Vietnamese version of the Filipino "puto" and a snack made from glutinous rice which we call "buchi" (both shown above).

And as a final note, they give out these very good chocolate chip cookies at the hotel where we stayed. It was a very enjoyable and memorable summer trip!

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