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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baltimore, MD Part 1 (of 6)

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Baltimore with my wife. She was going to a conference and I would have time to pursue photography. (Unfortunately the weather turned bitterly cold with the second full day there hitting a high of 33 with a wind chill of 20 something).

Baltimore is such a fantastic place that when I began sorting through photos and compiling the posts for this blog, I realized that I would have to break the story into parts. After some head scratching, I divided the story into 6 parts, General sites to see (this post), Buses and trains (yes there REALLY is a B&O railroad), Fort Mc Henry (and the Star Spangled Banner), the Baltimore Clock Towers (which I fell in love with), and the ships in the harbor.

With that said, Let's tour Baltimore.

I arrived on the Friday night before Thanksgiving and went out for some quick night shots. Baltimore is beautiful at night.

I was amused by the letters that were burnt out and what was left on. 

The term "Hippodrome" comes from the Greek and was used to describe a stadium for horse or chariot racing. While current horse tracks may still be called Hippodromes, the term became more commonly applied to theaters and  performing arts at the turn of the 20th century with vaudeville acts.

The Hippodrome in Baltimore appears to be fairly well known. I wish I had had the time to go there.

Later that evening, as I continued walking the town, I found this building which I at first believed to be an old church. The building is charming but I never would have guessed what it served as until I found in the dim light the sign stating its business.

The Sports Legends at Camden Yards. Its a sports museum!

Absolutely loved the appearance of the building.

 One more shot.

Saturday morning, the Christmas lights replaced by a cheery if turning cool sunlight. Notice the flag that the wind is holding straight out. 

 And then there is the graffiti. Normally I wouldn't have paid much attention but the space between the building and the outer wall has the smallest of walkways. I doubt very many walk through there but rather go around. But the spray paint crew apparently considered no place too small to attack. Sigh.

 Now for a really neat idea! What would one do if on street parking was eliminated and there was no use for parking meters anymore? I kept spotting these parking meters on corners where there was no possible way to park at that location. But then I stopped and read the writing on the post.

Get it?

It is what I consider a brilliant move. Recycle the old unused parking meters and get people to use them as a means to donate change securely at convenient spots around the city.  WOW!

And how could one not stop to look at the Camden Yards Oriole Park? The Sports Legends at Camden Yards is just around the corner from where this was taken.

And then I found this old church just a few blocks away. How old is it. Just wait.

People that know me know I always try to capture an image of any signs explaining what is going on. (A fact that endured me to my mother in law on a trip to the Grand Canyon as my father in law didn't like to stop but my mother in law loved to stop and read the signs.)  This church goes back to 1771 !

Take note fo the distortion in the glass. Modern glass is mass produced and is relatively distortion free. This on the other hand indicates it is "old style glass". (I have no idea if it is all old or some remade due to breakage.)

Parking is at a premium in Baltimore. Parking at the hotel with the hotel frequent member thingy got our parking all the way down to $23.99 per night!! Although one can come and go (with prior arrangement with the hotel), one would have to pay to park anywhere they go. Thus it is expedient to use the free transportation. (More on that in the next post.) $100 a month!

By the way, how do you tell the difference between a native Baltimorean and a visitor? The native person has a decent coat and hood. It actually did not get that cold until the next day. Saturday had a high in the mid 40s. Sunday was 33 with a wind chill in the mid to low 20s!)

Baltimore relates itself more to the Civil War than  the Revolutionary War from what I observed. Several references are found about town in relation to the Pratt Street Riot.


The three stooges or rather the three seagulls. Seagulls are everywhere, especially in the harbor. When these three parked themselves right in front of me, I had to get the shot.

Coming in for the attack. 

And no it did not "hit me", but it made for an interesting moment. 

Baltimore has a great plan for people walking and riding bikes (they have to with parking the way it is).  I wish other cities come implement such a design. Notice that pedestrians and bicyclists have a dedicated lane and bicyclists are not darting in and out of traffic so much, being a vehicle of the road one moment and a pedestrian the next. 

Across the harbor is Federal Hill 

(Told you I get images of the signs) 

Image of Federal Hill captured from the historic boat side of the harbor. (More on that in a couple of posts) 

After walking around the harbor (actually not that long a walk) I arrive at the memorial to the Pride  of Baltimore, located at the base of Federal Hill. The ship was a reproduction of a 19th century sailing ship. The memorial is dedicated to the the 4 crew lost when the ship sank at sea in 1986. 

Federal Hill is in the background. 

As I turned to go to Federal Hill I spotted the trees shown here. Loved the twisted limbs. 

Some of you may ask, "What would you do if something happens to spoil the image?" You mean like a car pulling up and parking? I wanted to get a shot of the trees with the flag in the background, but the car pulled up. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Thoughts of cutting off a limb and telling them to move, but no, I didn't. I simply missed the shot. Meant to come back afterwards but forgot. Oh well.

Another shot of Federal Hill as I approach the top. 

Here is an image of the painting outside at Federal Hill Park. (The painting is outside and it is not under glass??)  Image is a little off in perspective as to get it perfectly aligned, you have to be centered not only from left to right but top to bottom. I wasn't 

Couple of more shot of the Flag and the cannon. 

The memorial to the Pride of Baltimore with the cith in the background.

Yes the star count is correct. It is not a fifty star flag. Never got a close enough shot but it appears to be a 15 star flag. (Try shooting a flag some time and you will see the difficulties. Capturing it with the flag straight out takes a lot of wind.)

Gen Samuel Smith.

I liked this image of the general and the falg in the background.

Couldn't resist the image. Wonder if the people in the hotel way back there ever noticed the cannon?

Loved the leaves changing color and the park bench.

Something about the beauty of the leaves and the BMW wheel with the leaves up inside it make the image. 

More of the beauty of Baltimore.

Loved the solitude of a single green vine growing out of the wall of rock. 

Several people told me to try LP Steamers. Kind of a hole in the wall but great food which was exactly what I was looking for. When I go out on a trip, I don't care to eat the same national food chains you can find in any town, anywhere. I like to find something unique, kind of mom and pop that you know you've been somewhere special. 

Although I love scollops and shrimp, I went for the crab cakes since the crab is fresh from the area waters. Add some fries and cole slaw made with the Crab boil seasoning (that domes from the area) and top it off with a nice local ale, yum!

A little more of the history of the riots at the start of the Civil War. 

Aahhh, Little Italy. Not Little Italy the tourist trap but a true pocket of Italian. Food was great, more in a moment. 

Wish the weather had been better and I could have seen one of the films. Temperature this day was 45 and the next day would be 33 with a wind chill of 25 or so. 

A small out of this world Italian sandwich. The bread was not the usual store made. The entire thing was about $9.00 which was worth every bit. 

Now about that parking. You park in lots. I didn't observe any parking on the streets. This is a garage door and if you block it by parking on the side of the street or curb, the towing is a maximum of $900 !!! Signs like this were everywhere. Our parking at the hotel lot was reduced due to the hotel club whatever. Cost was $23.95 a night!

I spot well worth visiting if you have the time. The people inside told me about the legislation that was passed a while back allowing Jewish people to hold political office. It wan't exactly prohibited but when you took office you had to swear your belief in the Holy Trinity.  So they finally passed a bill changing the language to a belief in an afterlife.

Apparently the bars are just burglar bars but the curved things are to prevent people from sitting on the ledge. I saw varied designs at various buildings that had been made into the structure a long time ago.

This is a truly moving memorial. 

Notice the people forming a flame.

I have had the opportunity to go through the Dachau Campo when I was in German. About 8 km north of Munich if memory serves me right.

Keep reading the pedestal.

All so true.

May we never forget.

Note the reference to the trains that brought the people to the death camps. 

Now to understand the complete significance of the railroad tracks. 

Notice the railroad tracks at the memorial. 

A beautiful waterway.

A little of the skyline. Look at the outbound traffic. Notice the baseball stadium to the right. 

A little better view of the stadium. 

Down by the harbor. Notice the masts of the USS Constellation in the background. More on the ships in an upcoming post.

One last shot of the buildings.

As you can see, Baltimore is an incredible place with tons of history and good food.

Coming up next, Trains, Buses and Planes, minus the planes.

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