Baltimore

Picture of inner_harbor We spent our New Year's Eve trip for 2006 in Baltimore. This is the Inner Harbor, sort of the center of everything. The only reason there aren't more people along the harbor is that there's a Ravens game in progress.
Picture of aquarium The pointy glass complex here is the National Aquarium. Due to a poorly timed call from someone's mom, David is on the phone in this picture.
Picture of birds The National Aquarium started as a showplace for marine life (imagine that). These days they've added an enormous new pavilion for Australian wildlife of all sorts, like the birds shown here. Why Australia? We can't answer that.
Picture of fishtank Regardless, it still mostly specializes in marine life, primarily fish. These fish are all staring at a sea urchin. Possibly this is entertaining if one happens to be a fish. Maybe the sea urchin is in the midst of doing something shocking. Again, we just can't tell. The anemone on the back of this page can also be found at the aquarium.
Picture of newyearseve It's a New Year's Eve trips page, and that means we have to include at least one overly-festive picture that we'll probably later be embarrassed by. Luckily, we took this picture early in the festivities.
Picture of gold Later in the evening - at midnight in fact - the fine people of Baltimore blow up their harbor. Actually, several barges of fireworks are towed out into the middle. More fireworks are launched from the far shore.
Picture of red This is where we are supposed to make some sort of obvious joke about the rockets' red glare. Well, we're not going to do it. We will say that to properly appreciate this picture you should view it while standing in a slight cold rain, listening to pop music blaring from speakers that are half a mile away and drinking bad (albeit free) champagne.
Picture of lexington_market In the interest of showing something away from the Inner Harbor - here is Lexington Market. It's a fairly common tourist stop although it is also a perfectly normal functioning market (there are several more around the city of Baltimore as well). Crab cakes are of course the indigenous food of choice but you really can get those anywhere in the city. If you're visiting Lexington Market you really should try fried chicken, which can be bought by the piece (any piece) with a variety of unusual toppings.
Picture of vernon_square Baltimore is kind enough to keep most of its major attractions open on New Year's Day. This is Mt. Vernon Square, about a 15 minute walk from the Inner Harbor. It's an area of fairly upscale homes, art galleries and some interesting restaurants (which are all closed on New Year's Day). The big square building on the left that looks like a museum happens to be a museum. It's the Walters Art Gallery and it manages to have an impressive array of objects from just about every imaginable culture without becoming overbearing. Because it started as a private collection, there are some unexpected exhibits. For instance, an entire room of taxidermy that seems to have escaped from a Natural History Museum. We happen to be fond of the collection of antique keys and locks. Also, it should be noted that at the time of our visit at least, admission to the Walters is free.

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