Its all purple here in Baltimore … no … Ravens town!

8.44pm, Thursday 18th January, South President Street, Inner Harbour, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Well folks, I flew cross continent from one coast to the other today, and here I am in Baltimore, Maryland – affectionately known locally as Crabtown, because of the city’s long-time love affair with every possible way of eating the crusty critters. Trust me – whilst we’re here we will be in search of the great Baltimore crab cake sandwich – just to show you why Baltimore has such a crabby reputation!

But right now, it’s not crabs, folks, it’s all about football … NFL gridiron football. As we drove into Baltimore in the Supershuttle tonight, the gateway to the city is literally underneath the massive M & T Bank Stadium – home of the Baltimore Ravens gridiron football team – lit up with bright fluorescent purple lights as the Ravens line up this weekend in the playoffs to decide the last two teams to contest the Super Bowl. There are Ravenstown banners everywhere and purple Ravens flags all over shopfronts and cars, leaving you in no doubt that Baltimore is definitely a full-on football town.

And we’ll be right here in the middle of it all this weekend as the Ravens play the New England Patriots up on their home near Boston. You know that we will all be wearing purple and black that day!

Just before I unpack and get organized for the eight days that we’ll be based here working in Baltimore, Washington DC, Annapolis and Virginia – check out my faithful traveling companion “Big Blue” – my indestructible old Samsonite hard shell suitcase. Each one of the last three big trips away I’ve thought I might have to replace him, but he keeps on keeping on. I reckon he’s done around half a million miles, and even though the locks cracked and there’s a couple layers of gaff tape holding it all together – it just won’t give up. I hope I hang together as well as my suitcase has – I’ll be thrilled to bits!

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