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