The words of Sea Fever by John Masefield haunted me (along with John Ireland’s famous musical arrangement) a lot of the time I was in Baltimore because Baltimore has a maritime history worthy of any European port and a maritime feel only equalled in my experiences by Amsterdam and Amsterdam is my favourite European city. I have been there 6 times.  Well, Baltimore is equally welcoming and equally inexhaustible. We spent three weeks there and have decided we need another visit to see what we missed.

But allow me to show you. At Harbour 1 and dominating the newly developed Bay site lies USS CONSTELLATION. She was the first sight we saw as we got near our hotel, her rigging all lit up, draped with light. She is magnificent.

No wait she’s a bit more magnificent than that

 

She is a Sloop of War, launched in 1854 (100 years before my own launch) Don’t you just love that? sloop of war 🙂 In her time she was part of the fight against slavery and freed some 4.000 men women and children from slave ships. She served with the Mediteranean and African Squadrons andlater as a training ship was known as the Cradle of Admirals. She was towed to Baltimore in 1955 ( I was one then 🙂 ) and the townspeople have restored and cared for her ever since. With a little help from friendly tourists.

It was a joy to be board her.

                                                                                            

and also very interesting.

Table where the officers ate

Operating table

It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it, the plight of those poor souls who in times past lay on this table or occupied the small cots that hung from that ceiling… and the crew quarters are just through that door to the left. Their anguish would have been no secret to their crewmates… indeed no.
Captain’s Quarters are at the bow end with his private poop deck ( that’s a joke!) well away from the hoi polloi.
The paymaster’s room was next door
and here from the deck, you can see where the water taxis come to Harbour 1 on Pratt Street
which is home base for going anywhere else in Baltimore, bus routes, other water taxi routes, Visitor’s Center…
The Constellation is pretty much at the heart of Baltimore.  Shipping is at the heart of Baltimore…  And on our final day there, she put on such a dispaly! Mock sea battles invoving about 20 vessels up and down Chesapeake Bay, smoke and noise and sail and sunshine to make your heart burst and mine very nearly did – because I had to leave 😦