on July 8, 2011
The U.S.S. Constitution is a ship but not just any ship, but the oldest floating warship. The U.S.S. Constitution is a frigate, whose hull was made from very hard oak. When the ship first set sail in 1797, it was with its 54 cannons, the most advanced warship of its time. At that time it left the Navy Yard in Charlestown to the Mediterranean to protect merchants against North African pirates. The U.S.S. Constitution went from 42 sea battles out with a win and because she was so robust that the bullets just bounced off their boards, in 1812 she received the nickname "Old Ironsides". Today the restored and refurbished USS Constitution is a Museum ship and represents the U.S. Navy. But the ship is still used for state receptions and formal occasions. Once a year on 4 July the U.S.S. Constitution runs decorated festively through the port. Currently the U.S.S. Constitution is again elaborately restored which will continue for until 2011. But the work will certainly not take place during the opening times.The U.S.S. Constitution is in the Navy Yard in the port of Boston's Charlestown neighbourhood. This is reached for example by car. Parking is plentiful in the vicinity, and if not quite as expensive as in Downtown Boston. Or you can travel from downtown with the Inner Harbor Ferry which docks less than 5 minutes away. Anyone who wanders the Freedom Trail will pass the USS Constitution, because it is one of the stations. Because the ship is registered in each district, one can not really miss it. We reached the U.S.S. Constitution clock in the morning around 11, because we had parked nearby. At that time the audience was very small and therefore we decided to visit the ship immediately and not wait until we were coming upon the Freedom Trail. This turned out to be a good idea, because shortly after us the queue was getting longer, so here it is certainly one to two hours to queue. We were just at time and took us only five minutes to wait. Why it takes so long is because that every visitor must go through a security checkpoint. Bags and jackets must like at the airport put in a crate. Also you need to empty your pockets and take off your belt. Then one goes through the control. For us this went without any problems.After the security check we went back outside and saw only once a row of chairs, where visitors were waiting. These visitors were interested in a guided tour - which apparently cost nothing, at least I have not seen any box office - and waited to be picked up. With its dark, polished wood and the tall masts of the USS Constitution makes it very impressive and may well be described as a beautiful ship. On board the ship then acts not much different than other museum ships I've visited. The fact that the crowd was getting bigger maked it impossible to stand a long time on one place and I felt sometimes a bit rushed.Too bad I found that it was impossible to go below deck. This was probably reserved for the guided tours. But since we wanted to continue, we didn’t go for a guided tour, but contented ourselves with the upper deck. More than 15 minutes we have on the ship spent, and since the tour lasts only 20 or 30 minutes, I think we haven’t missed so much. Overall, I liked visiting the U.S.S. Constitution, even if it is not necessarily a highlight that you should not miss. It is a beautiful imposing ship from which you can get not so much to see, because you may enter the lower deck only with a guide. The large crowd also clouds the whole picture a little. But since everything is free, I will not complain much. Four stars.
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