How I Found Bmore Charm

By: Gabriela Yareliz

The first time I went to Baltimore, I saw the harbor area. It’s a beautiful area with little boats and bright lights. Very reminiscent of La Rochelle, France, except it misses the old-time charm La Rochelle undoubtedly has. I stood under an umbrella with my host who was attempting a Skype session with her husband. The rain made it all mystical and lovely. Sometimes, rain washes the phony pretentious vibes of a city, and you are left with its purity.

As I headed to Baltimore this time, my eyes were shiny with anticipation for a job prospect, and I was filled with a sense of adventure. My bus from New York had a hilarious driver, who at Penn Station was introducing himself, and then he stopped and yelled in the intercom system, “Get out the way fool!”

He then turned his attention back to us and said, “Yeah, that is why you chose Boltbus right?” And we all laughed. Witty bus driver. When we drove into Baltimore, it was a sunny afternoon. We drove straight through a neighborhood where all the buildings were lacking windows, and some square holes were filled with plywood. Some were covered with something and duck tape. I saw a massive cemetery; some fire hydrants had exploded, and they were sending floods of water curling around street corners and following the inclination downward. Older men sat on stoops smoking; men shook hands by The Brother’s Barber Shop (or something along those lines, I remember it was called “The Brothers”).

I saw a District Court with the surrounding sidewalk and road full of trash, and a glorious multi-colored crab standing tall on the court roof. Welcome to Maryland.

I was so blessed that a friend let me stay in his charming place, where fire hydrants were intact, and there were churches on every corner. As I walked along the streets of Baltimore, I decided I had to see the city for myself and not rely on images from The Wire, people’s horror stories and what I had seen on the bus. I figured, Baltimore has to have some sort of beauty. They call it Charm City for crying out loud!

I decided to find its charm, its “diversity”, and find its beauty (and a Ravens player willing to be my bodyguard in NYC, if I was to be that lucky!).

I rode the metro rail to my interview, which is so much cheaper than Washington, D.C., and cheaper than New York City. A dollar-sixty is not bad for a one-way trip. I hate trains though, so on my “adventure”, I decided to walk.

I have bravado to me of fearless adventure, so I decided to put my money where my mouth usually is and take a walk. I took one glance at my cell, but using Google Maps kills the battery, so I memorized the main streets and how they run. My goal was to go to Little Italy. I was in need to find someone Latin, and I have an adoration for Little Italies, so, I embarked on my journey.

I walked out and looked at some beautiful buildings in the distance, and I walked toward them.
While walking, men in trucks and other cars would blow kisses at me (literally) from their windows and greet me. Some would tilt their heads in a gentlemanly fashion. Who knew I could be so popular? I then saw why Baltimore is called Charm City (grin).

Check out what I saw:

By: Gabriela Yareliz Stepping out on an autumn afternoon to explore.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Stepping out on an autumn afternoon to explore.

By: Gabriela Yareliz This apartment building was so cute and European. It is in an optimal location, close to the State Center Metro.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
This apartment building was so cute and European. It is in an optimal location close to the State Center Metro.

By: Gabriela Yareliz I was walking toward a Parisian building, and I found Mount Vernon. My favorite part of Baltimore. It has a similar vibe to Greenwich Village, except the sidewalks are empty. Not nearly as populated.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
I was walking toward a Parisian building, and I found Mount Vernon. My favorite part of Baltimore. It has a similar vibe to Greenwich Village, except the sidewalks are empty. Not nearly as populated.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Where there is a university, there is diversity.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Where there is a university, there is diversity.

By: Gabriela Yareliz I found the building whose roof top I followed.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
I found the building whose roof top I followed.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Pure charm.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Pure charm.

By: Gabriela Yareliz My obsession with churches transcends state boundaries.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
My obsession with churches transcends state boundaries.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Neighborhood skyline.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Neighborhood skyline.

By: Gabriela Yareliz St. Paul Street stroll. I love these window boxes with flowers spilling over.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
St. Paul Street stroll. I love these window boxes with flowers spilling over.

By: Gabriela Yareliz St. Paul Street straight down.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
St. Paul Street straight down.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Harbor area.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Harbor area.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Downtown Baltimore.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Downtown Baltimore.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Crossing bridges into Little Italy.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Crossing bridges into Little Italy.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Welcome to Little Italy.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Welcome to Little Italy.

By: Gabriela Yareliz A glorious afternoon in Baltimore's Little Italy. A good looking Italian man walked by me saying "How are ya doin'?" in that classic Italian-American accent. I smiled to myself the whole time in this neighborhood. Little Italy is mostly  restaurants, men loading and unloading trucks and adorable children drawing on the sidewalks with chalk.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
A glorious afternoon in Baltimore’s Little Italy. A good looking Italian man walked by me saying “How are ya doin’?” in that classic Italian-American accent. I smiled to myself the whole time in this neighborhood. Little Italy is mostly restaurants, men loading and unloading trucks and adorable children drawing on the sidewalks with chalk.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Where the Star Spangled Banner was written. Historic moments.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Where the Star Spangled Banner was written. Historic moments.

By: Gabriela Yareliz As I walked by this courtyard downtown, I felt so alone. Like something was wrong. Then I remembered I was not in New York. Baltimore is a lot more empty and slow.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
As I walked by this courtyard downtown, I felt so alone, as if something was wrong. Then I remembered I was not in New York. Baltimore is a lot more empty and slow.

By: Gabriela Yareliz I love the cape someone gave him.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
I love the cape someone gave him.

By: Gabriela Yareliz The always present falafel truck. Am I in NYC? (Double take).

By: Gabriela Yareliz
The ever-present falafel truck. Am I in NYC? (Double take).

By: Gabriela Yareliz Back in Mount Vernon.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Back in Mount Vernon.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

By: Gabriela Yareliz

By: Gabriela Yareliz Orthodox Church. Stunning.

By: Gabriela Yareliz
Orthodox Church. Stunning.

I didn’t want to leave with the impression I got of Baltimore coming into the city. I had to be adventurous and give Baltimore a chance. Once you give it a chance, its charm unfolds before your feet. I had a lovely time in Baltimore. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my trip. Granted, I was not on vacation, but my walk around the city was a wonderful exploration of the unknown. Its church filled corners; its mysterious skyline where from one street to another, a rooftop is in a completely different style; its flirtatious drivers; its window boxes in full bloom; its dancing boats and unpopulated streets; thank you Baltimore for charming me with your unique Bmore charm.

Bmore charm is the kind of charm that requires you to open yourself. Then, it winks at you, and you are not disappointed.

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