Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Duck Tour

On Sunday September 7th, my First-Year Experience class and myself went on a duck tour around the city of Baltimore.  As more of a part two after our real fall orientation, our FE 100 teachers wanted to start us off right by first of all introducing us to the city that we would come to know over the next four years at Loyola College.  The main goal of this trip was not only for us to get to know the people that were in our group that we would be spending an hour week with but to help us get accustomed to city of Baltimore.  The amphibious trucks that we traveled on are called a DUKW, however, people preferred to call them ducks, were crafted during World War II.  These vehicles were a great asset in the storming of the beaches at Normandy, known as D-Day, because of their ability to easily transport troops from boat to land.  In this case, they served a different purpose by transporting us around to introduce the city to us and to teach us about some of its history.

A man named Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, founded the city of Baltimore on July 30, 1729.  He was the 2nd Baron because his father, George Calvert, was the First Baron Baltimore of County Cork, Ireland.  Baltimore started its rise as a booming city with the increasing popularity of the sugar and tobacco trade from the Caribbean at the Port of Baltimore.  The city has developed into so much more since then into a more diverse and active city.  Through this tour, I have learned about some of the smaller sections like Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, and the Inner Harbor that make up Baltimore.  Included in these sections are some of the interesting facts and historic events that are a part of the city.

            One section of Baltimore that we passed through was Mount Vernon, home to the original Washington Monument.  It was build a few decades earlier than the more famous one in Washington, D.C. and I assume it was completely over-looked because I personally had never heard of another one.  They were both from the design by Robert Mills as a dedication to George Washington, but since the newer one is built extremely close to the nations capital, it received much for attention.  As we traveled farther south in Baltimore, we came across the Inner Harbor.  The harbor seems like the place that would be absolutely mobbed on a Friday or Saturday night.  There are so many restaurants and shopping areas that would make it a great place to go with friends to relax and hang out.  Then, of course, there is the actual harbor, which can be seen from most of the attractions that are close by.  Just the spectacular view itself is worth going to see or you can take a paddleboat and navigate your way around to get a better look for yourself.  Unfortunately, we were not able to go out far enough to be able to see Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”.  The way the fort was constructed into the shape of a star sounds very out of the ordinary and the fact that it saved the Port of Baltimore in the War of 1812 makes it seem like a very interesting place.  It is the one place that I would definitely like to visit before leaving for the summer.  

I was extremely glad my FE class did this for all of us early in the year and will continue to keep us involved for the rest of the semester. Some kids in my FE class were talking about possibly going together one night just to get to know each other more and to explore the city a little bit more on our own.   Overall, this experience got my feet wet, almost literally, in getting myself connected to everything that the city of Baltimore has to offer me for my next four years at Loyola. 



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