Friday, October 19, 2012

Richmond, Baltimore

Last week I spent with my aunt and uncle in Richmond, Virginia. I know, I've been slacking a bit as far as blogging about my travels. 
But anyway, Richmond is an awesome little town steeped in Civil War history and full of southern charm and big front porches, while still having the most dreadlocked hippies I've seen outside of, say, Eugene or Portland. Me and my hairy armpits fit in pretty well. Also, outside magazine voted Richmond the "Best River Town in America." http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/best-towns/Best-Towns-Richmond-Virginia.html. It's the only city with class four rapids going right through it. And, it turns out, it's way more outdoorsy than I'd thought. There are a ton of biking trails right by the James and on islands in the James such as Belle Isle, which also was home to a well known Confederate prison. I borrowed a mountain bike and rode around there a bit and was impressed at the trails and their proximity to the city as well as their history. 
Of course, there were also Neo Confederates waving the Confederate flag around--a form of protest known as "flagging"--while I was there. And Richmond, while much safer than it used to be, is still pretty well known for crime. 
But still. The people there are far more relaxed than those in Washington and it sort of reminds me of a bigger, much more diverse, interesting, and historic version of Boise--what with the river running through it and all. I loved it. 
Baltimore has also been a fun city. I've not gotten to do a lot there since my class is all day Saturdays and Sundays, but I like what I've seen. I've been down to the Inner Harbor and Fells Point and I stayed in a hostel close to the downtown area and close to the University of Baltimore, where my class is. Baltimore is grittier than Washington but it feels just as important and more like a real city. It doesn't have quite as much of a touristy nature or a highly transitory population as DC, and something about the architecture makes it seem more serious and academic. It's the kind of place I'd like to be a student in; I like it. 
I'll be glad when this weekend is over though, because that means I can just relax in my storage closet for a few days without running from train to bus to metro to couch to futon, etc. 

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