Big Blog X: Baltimore, I love you!

Welcome to Baltimore

After a 20 minutes walk from the train station, I got to the hostel, right by the Basilica. Mike welcomed me with open arms and explained to me what there was to see around the area and how to tackle the city. As there seemed to be quite a lot to see and a lot of restaurants to try out, I settled in quickly in a lovely female dorm with a view over the Basilica, before setting out. I went down to the harbour and walked around for a couple of hours, enjoying the beautiful waterfront and a mesmerizing fall sunset. When I got tired, I stopped for some sushis at RA Sushi. I didn’t know it was a chain, but the atmosphere was very nice, the waiters very friendly and the sushis delicious. I got my favorite, a plate of salmon sashimi and one of their specialty, the Crazy Monley Roll, made of mango, avocado, cream cheese and cashew nuts. Nothing really to do with traditional japanese sushi, but it was heaven.

Sunset

Sunset

I went back to the hostel, where I was greeted with a free pasta night. I could not not join and had my second dinner in great company. We decided to go out that night. Turns out, Halloween is not only one night a year and it is more a whole week-end affair. So, I dressed up again as a panda, but I messed up a bit my make-up that time and we set off for Hampden, a residential district of Baltimore. We had a great evening that brought us to two different bars, including a very good belgium one, where I sampled some great beers. In the second bar, I tried a Fireball shot: apparently they are forbidden in Europe, but they are so very delicious. The night was very fun and we even got an extra-hour in the bars when the clock turned back. We finished the evening with some good buns at The Bun Shop and some conversations in the hostel kitchen.

Night out with the hostel crew

The next day, I woke up early again, after barely 4 hours of sleep. I had a good hearty breakfast and went out to epxlore a little bit the town by daylight. It was a beautiful day, but a very cold and windy one. It really felt like winter and I was basically shaking all day long. Please remember that I haven’t been exposed to winter in a very long time so I need to adjust again! I went to Lexington Market to try crab cake, but it is closed on Sundays. The area seemed pretty shady and I didn’t stay too long.

Good morning

Breakfast

Hostel

Funny

Baltimore has many beautiful churches, but I only went to Westminster, to see Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, who was originally from the city. After that and a nice hot chocolate, it was time to meet up with the group at the hostel for the street art tour. I love street art and those kind of tours usually bring you to different areas of a city, so I could not pass on this opportunity.

Baltimore

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

We started with some buns from The Bun Shop again to give us some courage and walked for a few hours around various areas of Baltimore and more specifically north of the train station, the art district. Baltimore has quite a few poor districts, including Dowtown and it can be quite intimidating. Empty streets, abandonned buildings, dodgy people at every corner and so on. It was really interesting to see and explore, but I am not sure I would have been comfortable around the area alone. We saw some really beautiful murals and artwork and had a great time. We ended the tour with some giant and delicious pizza. I then wnet quickly to walk around the cute neighborhood of Fell’s point and missed the sunset, not thinking that the clocks had turn back… Exhausted, I went back to the hostel, did some blogging and packed up for an early start the next day.

Street art

Baltimore

The tour

Street art tour

Street art tour

Street art tour

Street art tour

Street art tour

Pizza

Baltimore surprised me in more ways that I can say. I was not expecting much and now I don’t know why I did not come sooner. You should all consider adding Baltimore to your itinerary on the East Coast. Baltimore is not an easy town to tackle, it can be a rough and dogy city, it has quite a few poor districts, but it’s a place that has so much to offer culturally. In one day, I could barely touch the surface, but I have already a long list of things to do and explore when I come back. Baltimore is interesting, beautiful, surprising and edgy. Baltimore, I fell in love with you and I will be back some day.

Baltimore

Today, I am off to San Diego. I have an early flight and a connection in Phoenix. I cannot wait to get to the West Coast for the first time, to explore California and most of all to get some warmer weather. I am getting sick and I could use a fix of sunshine and warm weather! I’ll write next from the other side of the country!

Street art tour

Don’t forget to follow Taralynn’s adventures in France on Voyages et Vagabondages!

 

Comments

  • Vicky

    Hi, I’ve just found your blog posts about your trips to San Diego and Baltimore — two places I’m visiting! They’ve been really interesting and useful – thank you for writing them πŸ™‚ Just wondering, did you stay with HI in Baltimore too?

    Reply to Vicky
  • Jay

    I live near Baltimore and it is not a “very poor city”. The city has professional football & basement stadiums for the Ravens and the Orioles, Harborplace, Mount Royal art area, the National Aquarium, etc. There are bad and great areas of the city, which you will find in any large American city. Please don’t judge until you’ve seen most of it otherwise you give other travelers a terrible impression.

    Reply to Jay
    • Lucie Aidart

      Hi Jay,
      Thank you for your feeback. I don’t think I gave a terrible impression of the city as I recommended everyone to get there and to see for themselves, said that I loved the city and visiting these parts actually enhanced my visit. I cannot wait to come back and visit other areas.

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
  • Caro Bleue Violette

    Do you know the story about the mysterious stranger who used to put roses and a bottle of cognac every year on Poe’s grave ? I’ve always liked this story πŸ™‚

    Safe travels, Lucie ! I’ve heard San Diego is a beautiful city.

    Reply to Caro Bleue Violette
  • Nadia

    I second Dana here ^ I wish I could read French so I could read your blog. Maybe this would be a good time to start learning french like I always wanted to and practice reading your blog πŸ˜€

    Reply to Nadia
  • mac

    Baltimore is definitely NOT a poor city by any means! You went to lexington market (famous for what it once was) and it’s insane to me they take tourists on that street art tour. Baltimore is home to gorgeous, affluent areas that you may have enjoyed much more. Going to the docks/run down area of any city is going to look like that and please don’t encourage others to do that here! Stick to the harbor and fells point if you want downtown please

    Reply to mac
    • Lucie Aidart

      Hi Mac, thank you for your feedback.
      I was told that Baltimore was one of the poorest city in the States, but I might be wrong on that. As far for where we went, we were on a group and it was really fine. And those parts of the city made me like Baltimore even more. I like cities with an edge.

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
  • Dana

    I really like how you see beauty and kindness wherever you are; I wish I could read French better so I could follow along on your blog as well.

    Reply to Dana
    • Lucie Aidart

      Hi Dana, Thank you so much! Hope you can read it with Google Translate and don’t hesitate to comment in English, I’d love to have your feedback!

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
  • Emma

    I’m so glad you love Baltimore! I live here πŸ™‚ I just hope the dodgy areas you explored didn’t really ruin your idea of Baltimore! You keep saying it is a very poor city and that makes me sad. You know there are very, very nice, wealthy, affluent areas in Baltimore as well. Harbor East and Locust Point are two areas where you will certainly not see any dodgy alley ways or broken window “ghetto areas”. I hope you can one day see the beautiful, rich and wealthy parts too (there are many) so you can see Baltimore is not that poor!!

    Reply to Emma
    • Lucie Aidart

      Thanks Emma for your comment, I am sure there are more wealthy areas in town, it is hard to see everything in one day. I was just told that Baltimore was one of the poorest city in the States. Don’t think it ruined my trip there, on the contrary, cities with an edge like that are far more interesting to me than perfect and beautiful cities…

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
      • Hamster

        Naw. Baltimore isn’t poor. It doesn’t even make the top 20 for large cities in the U.S. with high poverty rates. It’s not like the entire city is like The Wire. πŸ˜‰

        That said, I’m glad you had a fun time and enjoyed the city briefly. I’m enjoying this blog swap!

        Reply to Hamster
        • Lucie Aidart

          Thanks Hamster! Curious to know the list actually…

          Reply to Lucie Aidart
          • Lucie Aidart

            Awesome, thank you! That’s very interesting!

            Reply to Lucie Aidart
          • Hamster

            I can’t find the exact link again where I found the top 20 (I looked, because I have a friend from Baltimore and was curious because I hadn’t heard of the city people in dire straits), but these are good sources:

            This is from Wikipedia:

            Large cities with a high percentage of low income residents

            For the survey, a large city is defined as a city with a population of 250,000 or more. Percentage of residents living below the U.S. government established poverty income level is listed, based on 2012 US Census estimates.[2]

            Detroit, Michigan 42.3%
            Cleveland, Ohio 36.1%
            Cincinnati, Ohio 34.1%
            Miami, Florida 31.7%
            Fresno, California 31.5%
            Buffalo, New York 30.9%
            Newark, New Jersey 30.4%
            Toledo, Ohio 30.1%
            Milwaukee, Wisconsin 29.9%
            St. Louis, Missouri 29.2%

            This is a cool study from Forbes where they created a ‘misery’ index based on finances, inflation, unemployment, and crime:

            http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/top-20-most-miserable-cities-in-america-forbes-186173

            2013 Rankings:

            Detroit, MI
            Flint, MI
            Rockford, IL
            Chicago, IL
            Modesto, CA
            Vallejo, CA
            Warren, MI
            Stockton, CA
            Lake County, IL
            New York, NY
            Toledo, OH
            St. Louis, MO
            Camden, NJ
            Milwaukee, WI
            Atlantic City, NJ

            Another list (dang, Washington DC is loaded:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/median-income-cities_n_5843150.html

            Reply to Hamster
  • Ariel

    Absolutely love the fact that you can blog in TWO languages- and well! I’ve been wanting to see and explore Baltimore and now I think I have to!

    Reply to Ariel
  • TK

    I have lived through brutal Boston winters my whole life and even I was freezing this weekend. You’re not alone in having to get used to it! I bet you would really like Detroit, it’s always reminded me a bit of Baltimore.

    You should visit Boston if you ever get the chance, it’s full of so much history and character. There are tons of tourist and non-tourist things to do here.

    I hope you have no more encounters with drunk men harassing you. Women getting harassed by men is a big problem here. I am curious– do you find things like this happen less in other countries?

    Reply to TK
    • Lucie Aidart

      Hi TK!
      I actually visited Boston twice and I really love it! But I am better off there in summer I think. And yes, I think Detroit would be interesting.
      In most country in the world, you get hit on, have to face some smiles or looks, but I think it was the first time on this trip that I was harassed so much. The best is to build a shell, to not listen or look and keep going.

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
  • Sara

    I am so glad you loved Baltimore! I am from north east of the city, and I just love it. I would have taken you around, had I been home but I go to school in Pennsylvania. I hope you had a lovely time. Baltimore is a little rough around the edges, but it is a truly lovely city and has a lot to offer. Also, you will not find people more excited about their city! Safe travels and enjoy your time!

    Reply to Sara
    • Lucie Aidart

      Hi Sara! Thanks, I did really enoy the city, but one day was too short. Indeed, it is rough around the edges, but what’s what makes it great I think! Take care!

      Reply to Lucie Aidart
  • Amanda @ Positively Amanda

    Lovely pictures! Looks like you’re having a great time!

    Reply to Amanda @ Positively Amanda
  • Linda @ TheFitty

    Hah, dont mind if I use that beautiful scenery as my desktop background because it’s just gorgeous gorgeous!

    Reply to Linda @ TheFitty
  • Ebbles

    Baltimore sounds really intriguing! Keep enjoying your travels in the USA! πŸ™‚

    Reply to Ebbles

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