Sunday, November 08, 2015

Baltimore and Philadephia

                Two huge naval ships tied up in the very industrialized approach to Baltimore

Once again it was a motoring day to get to Baltimore, but there was fog, so navigating by chart plotter and radar was the plan for the day.  Fortunately it lifted a little as we came into Baltimore and we were able to see the public dock where we discovered there was room to tie up. 
We had decided we wanted to see Philadelphia so we hopped on a free shuttle and made our way to Penn Station to book ticket to Philly on the Amtrak, the high speed train that runs up and down the Eastern Seaboard. There was a Norwegian tall ship docked on the waterfront very close to us and as we strolled by they were having a soirée onboard.  We could hear the sailors singing a sea shanty, wonderful!  We came across a couple of enebriated fellows who were shouting about why the ship was flying the Confederate flag.  They engaged us in conversation and after figuring out we were Canadians one guy wanted to know about our gun laws.  He claimed as a convicted felon the US gov't was infringing on his rights by not allowing him to carry a gun, hmmmm.  Later the subject of the Comfederate flag came up again and it twigged and I let them know it was a Norwegian flag that was flying. They were very happy and there were high fives and soul brother handshakes all around. 

The next morning we were off to Philadelphia.  We chose to walk the 25 blocks down to Independence Square to see the Liberty Bell. It was a great stop, I had heard of the bell but had no idea it was such a symbol.  It rang out at the time the Declaration of Independence that was conceived and written in Philadelphia in 1776. After the crack became irreparable, the bell went on tour across the nation a number of times. 
We visited the Reading Terminal for lunch, a former railroad station that has been converted into a market with every kind of food booth you could desire. It was massively crowded and we shared a cafeteria style table with a bunch of lawyers, there on a convention.
There were lots of street people sleeping on park benches and near subway grates for the heat.m

We checked into our hotel about 1500 hours and luxuriated on the king sized bed. I actually had two baths during our stay, my first in 5 months!! Philly cheese steak was on our list for supper and I really enjoyed mine. 

We went on a tour of Independece Hall the next day.
The room where delegates from all the states sat to discuss independence and the U.S. constitution.
                           Beautiful furniture in a reception hall upstairs. 

Philadelphia was where the U.S. government was formed and it acted as the Captial until Wash. D.C was ready in 1800.  The tour was very informative and seeing the actual chair that John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin sat in when deciding matters of state over 240 years ago was enthralling. What was annoying about the tour was the guide, he spoke so loudly that it was painful to listen to him. Barry said he couldn't even concentrate on what he was saying in the first small room we were in. 

Pennsylvania Sate Prison was our next stop. It was fascinating. It was the first prison of it's kind and the idea behind it was so that the prisoners would serve penitence. There were hooded when they entered the prison and were not allowed to talk to anyone.  Their meals were shoved under the door and they were allowed out to individual courtyards to have exercise twice a day. If you broke the rules about communicating you were gagged. It was built in the shape of a spoked wheel and the later spokes were expanded to be two stories. The prison was closed in 1970, and was in a state of disrepair when it was decided to save it and turn it into a tourist attraction, they have done a wonderful job, the self guided tour includes recordings of actual inmates memories of their time in "The Big House". 
The Philadephia Museum of Art is at the end of a long boulevard which was built to resemble the Champs Elysees. 

The steps are were Rocky trained for his boxing matches and were covered in tourists doing their Rocky Imitations. 
I briefly toured the museum and was loved the Impressionist gallery, they had a lot of Monet's and I fell in love with one depicting a headland with a custom house in the foreground.
That is William Penn on the top of City Hall, apparently sometimes he wears a Philadelphia Eagles hat!
We met several interesting characters on the subway. One older gentleman was a jazz musician, he played the flute and the saxophone, he was on his way to a rehearsal.  The other guy worked in a factory that made the subway cars, as well as the Amtrak cars. The factory shut down in 1980 when they lost the contract to a Japanese company. The cars are now over 35 years old and still holding together well, he must have done a good job back in the day!
We strolled down Benjamn Franklin Parkway towards the most outstanding city hall I have seen yet and headed back to Baltimore.  What a treat to get off the boat for a night, while in such a historic and vibrant city. 

Sailing Info.
Chesapeake City
Anchored in the basin in 3m of water, very good holding, mud
No info on services, except no water taxi because it was out of season

Baltimore, MD
Tied up to public town dock in Inner Harbor, $60/day, fellow gave us a break, should be $2/ ft
Washrooms and showers available about 5-10 min walk.
Great access to free bus service
Waterfront was lovely to explore, tall ships tied up very close to us.