|Stores in a renovated power plant.|
Just inside there is this view down a long corridor. The four circular shafts look like smoke stacks.
Indeed, they are! The outsides are covered in metal.
And elevators run up between them. My eldest son was captivated by the inner workings of the elevator, the gears and whatnot on display behind glass. Of course, there are the normal book shelves off to the side. It turns out that this store and many others reside in a renovated power plant on Baltimore's inner harbor. When we return home, I'm tempted to show these photos to Burlington's city officials as there is an abandoned electric department building on the shoreline.
Later we hunkered down in the hostel, watching the rain pelt the sidewalk. My husband and I have enjoyed hostel living and thought it would be an interesting experience for our boys. They enjoyed the free WIFI, a huge flat screen TV, and comfortable couches. I scored a free travel guide from the bookshelf that will help with planning the late summer adventure.
By now you're probably wondering where cycling comes into all this...just wait.
Monday morning dawned with clouds (I get up early) and the promise of only showers for the day. On foot, we head down Charles Street.
We gawk like typical tourists. I like this FedEx store in a Bavarian style building squeezed among the towering stone and brick structures. The boys delighted in the steam escaping from manholes, even from one traffic light pole! It makes you wonder about Baltimore's underworld. In general, downtown reminds me of Boston with it's harbor and mix of historical and new buildings.
A quick visit to the visitor's center provided bike maps and this photo op. This type of bike rack is all over the city in various bright colors. Of course my attention was drawn to all the commuter cyclists, but the primary reason we went to Baltimore was to explore the science center and various other waterfront attractions.
After many hours we eventually walked back to the hostel. Then I scrambled to get my bike ready. By now I badly needed some time to myself. Armed with a bike map of Gwynn's Falls Trail I set out, but first had to navigate a couple miles of city streets. As with any city there are the unpleasant areas. In a light shower I covered a poor section with burned out and boarded up buildings. One painted sign read something to the effect of "Help us. No more killing." I kept moving.
I eventually intersected the trail. And rode on a gorgeous paved portion along a river. The sound of water drowned the city noise.
Ah, finally a smile.
I was struck by how green the foliage is along the corridor. Buds adorn Vermont trees while here in Baltimore all the trees are leafed out. I spied and smelled fragrant locusts.
Part of the trail is smooth dirt. I plugged through a couple wet areas, to be expected after yesterday's deluge.
I turned around after about four miles and headed back, but continuing on past where I first entered the trail.
There was a series of bridges, a bit slippery, but I took my time. The odd thing about following a creek in this section was there was debris hung up in the trees. Signage indicated flood hazards. I presume this area has flash floods, raising the river level.
Oddly, for two hours, I was the only cyclist.
I followed the signs toward downtown as it would bring me closer to the hostel. I didn't want to repeat the ride through the rough neighborhood. So, I went by Camden Yards, the gaslight plant, under an interstate, through tiny parks, by beautiful brick row houses. The true testament to a bike path's usability is whether someone new to the area can navigate by signs. The Gwynn's Falls Trail is pure delight.