My orders were to arrive at my daughter's house by 11:30 on Saturday. And bring something decent to wear. Well, OK. She knows me - "something decent" means "clean and unstained and not a t-shirt". Done, and turns out surprise is a matinee at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. We're addicted to this place - for those who have never been, it's a spectacularly renovated vaudeville theater originally built in 1914:
|For more pics go to this a renovation blog|
The show was followed by a spectacular dinner at Alchemy, where I had the duck breast special.
The reason behind matinee rather than evening show was the need for being in Canton by the harbor early for Tour du Port 2011.
Riders select from a variety of ride lengths along marked routes through historic Baltimore: Fells Point, Canton, Dundalk, all those neat little communities that the core of Baltimore is made up of. Being Baltimore, there are sections where one prefers to pedal a bit faster and stay with a pack, but part of what makes the city so facinating is how fast you go from gritty slum to gentrified, rust belt to upscale.
The city has so many icons in the harbor area:
The Domino's factory -
Natty Bo on Brewery Hill -
The onion domes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church -
I admit - I stole most of those pics. We opted for the 25 mile route, and having done the ride before I knew that I didn't want to carry a my camera, which isn't an itty bitty. Baltimore's streets are a challenge to bike on - often decayed, potholed and uneven. And that doesn't include the cobbled streets. And hills. People think that because it's by the water the topography is flat. That would be a "No." And turns out my gears need adjusting - not such a problem going down hill when I could coast and fiddle but a bugger on the long hauls up Federal Hill and up to Patterson Park.
All went well for about 24 1/2 miles. Then, within sight of the end, my daughter misjudged a curb and took a dandy tumble, taking a chunk out of the end of her bike seat as well as several out of herself.
So we limped back together, found the first aid table and cleaned as much of Baltimore city grit out as we could. It was too beautiful to go home, though, so the afternoon was spent poking around Fells Point, having another excellent meal (seated outside - I could barely stand sitting beside stinky, sweaty self let alone ask a restaurant patron to do so), this time at Mezza, a tapas place.
Baltimore has a lot of problems, serious ones. But it is a city full of character and history, art museums and parks, theater venues, and restaurants worthy of the foodie culture. Whether it's Honfest, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, or a music concert going on in some church basement, there's always something going on, and I love to visit with my daughter and wander it with her. But she won't let me drive - she says I scare her.