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Friday, September 25, 2015

Arriving in Charm City...Baltimore, Maryland

It’s tough waking up at 2:30 in the morning for a flight but getting to fly out of Ontario makes up for that. We slog through our morning rituals and make it out in time to make it to the airport with a nice cushion of time before our 5:40am boarding time.

The flight is uneventful and we don’t have to change planes but we do have to make a stop in Denver before a midafternoon arrival at Baltimore Washington International Airport.

It’s our first time in Charm City though we have been in Maryland before. We’re here to chalk up another couple of stadiums on our quest to see every Major League Baseball park. This trip will complete our northeast teams when we go to an Orioles game in a couple of days and a Nationals game two more after that. We’ll have 25 (out of 30) ballparks under our belts at the end of this trip but  first, we must make it out of the airport.

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First, our plane’s assigned gate is occupied, so we wait about an extra 15 minutes until another gate is made available for us. Next, it’s another 10 minutes before a gate crew can make it over to operate the jetway. Finally, we’re off the plane, at baggage claim, and no luggage. It hasn’t been unloaded yet and eventually it’s routed to a different carousel.

Suitcases claimed, we now head into the light rail station to make the final leg into town. It is a very, very long walk from baggage claim to the station. Once there, we can’t find ticket machines and eventually learn they’re back in the terminal.

Letty and Tim wait on the platform while I go back to get them only to return and just miss a trail.  About half an hour later, we finally get out of the hot, humid air onto a cool train.

In Baltimore, it’s a three-block walk through a sketchy looking area to our hotel. We have no more problems, however, and soon check into our room at the Springhill Suites, just off the Inner Harbor.

Welcome to Baltimore.

It’s not the greatest Springhill Suites we’ve stayed in but it’s roomy, the A/C is not blowing directly on my wife, we’ve got a fairly accessible bathtub for Tim, and breakfast is free.

Hungry after that all day flight, we head out to eat. I saw a nice looking restaurant on the corner by the hotel. As we walk out the doorman asks if we need help or directions. I tell him no, we’re going over there, unless you know someplace better.

“I sure do, head down that alley across the street and look for the sign that says ‘pizza.’ It’s Supano’s and you’ll really like it.”

OK, we take him at his word and head down the alley where we find the pizza sign, a fiberglass statue of a chef, and a door…not much else. We open the door and a tall black man comes out to help us get in with the wheelchair. This, we would later learn, is Derek and he would become our friend while we were in Baltimore.

Inside, we find an expansive restaurant with three levels and non-stop videos of Frank Sinatra concerts playing. We had entered via the back door but find that it’s the only accessible entrance anyway.

The friendly server sets up glasses of Yuengling beer and takes our order. Seafood fettuccine for Letty, lasagna (Baltimore’s Best, the menu promises) for Tim, and veal saltimbocca for me.

The food is in one word, heavenly. We take bites of each other’s dishes and it’s hard to pick a winner. They’re all good.

Letty’s seafood dish tastes very good even to a non-seafood lover like me. Tim’s lasagna is the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant anywhere. The saltimbocca takes me back to North Beach in Boston to the incredible version I had at Pagliuca’s…I couldn’t really tell you which one was best but those are the best versions I’ve ever had.  This would be the best meal we’d have on the entire trip.

After dinner, we walk off our meal at the nearby Inner Harbor where it seems half of Baltimore is out enjoying this warm Saturday night.  As we walk by the historic ships on display, a street juggler performs. A three-masted Coast Guard ship is in giving tours. The aquarium has two waterfalls, a giant one indoors falling into a salmon pond and a smaller one outside feeding a creek to the sounds of crickets and cicadas. A fine cover band serenades us at  the Hard Rock as we relax waterfront before heading back in for the night.

Now, let’s say it loud and proud without any hint of sarcasm…Welcome to Baltimore!

Stay tuned, there’s much more to come.

Copyright 2015 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.
Photos by Letty Musick, Copyright 2015

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