Sunday, July 22. No alarm to wake me, what a treat! I leisurely planned my adventures for the day: Walters Museum of Art, the Baltimore Basilica, and a late lunch at a local restaurant named Maisy's. All located within a half-mile of my hotel. Uphill from my hotel, I might add.
I can't say enough good stuff about the art museum. It was outstanding in both the quality and variety of exhibits. Ancient Egyptian, Buddhist, Roman (extraordinary jewelry), armor and weapons, Impressionist paintings, those are just a few of the things I saw. There was a "Wonders" room, similar to how wealthy folks would display their collection of things unusual or interesting. I include a photo here of the "Wonders of Nature" display case, wherein you can see an armadillo, nowadays way more pest than wonder! In the Collector's Study, the explanatory sign said, "where a nobleman... might spend leisure time studying beautiful objects." I'd say that nowadays we spend way too little time doing that. The "icing on the cake" of my visit was getting to see two Monet paintings. Those truly make my heart sing!
The tour guide at the Basilica referred to it as the first cathedral in America and the "mothership" of Catholicism in the U.S. It is very different from most cathedrals I have visited--no stained glass, limited statuary, very plain and simple by comparison. It was completed and dedicated in 1821. Alas, due to the builders' mistake, not the architect's, it was built on sand. (Doesn't the Bible mention building on sand as a problem???!?) It wasn't until 2004 during a 30-month restoration project that the potential collapse of the cathedral was averted by installing a proper foundation. Mother Theresa visited here in 1996, and there is a powerful and moving statue of her and a child in the sanctuary. The church is beautiful. The most glorious thing I noticed there, however, was the diversity, in every way, of folks leaving mass before the tour started.
After the Basilica tour, I walked a few blocks back toward my hotel and had a late lunch at Maisy's. Starting with a great local IPA, I enjoyed the best Maryland crab cake and sweet potato fries I have ever had. Then it was back to the hotel to listen to the Cubs-Cardinals game (Cubs won), and rest up for Monday's aquarium adventure and the official start of the East Coast Baseball Tour.