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  • Chuck Marra

Day 1.2 (Part 2) Good Morning, Baltimore.

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

The rain stopped. The clouds were still grey and heavy. We drove about a mile before we turned on a small country lane and stopped. We unsnapped the two silver clips and pulled

down the convertible top, and the aroma of the earth after the rain, flooded in as the world opened up around us. I put Sophia into gear and drove along deep green pastures and the brown horse fences up the country roads of Laurel.

With one turn we left the quiet countryside and were in the middle of the never-ending scream that is I-95 north to Baltimore.

“Look alive, Chuck!” I heard myself saying. The noises of riding in a low open-top convertible with tractor-trailers bouncing, axels groaning at our eye-level the highway that snaps the brain up and I'm hyper-alert and aware of every movement. I had forgotten this part of the Alfa Spider experience. Trucks bounced and grumbled, other cars growled angrily around us. I downshifted into third gear and Sophia screamed with glee at 5000 RPMs and giggled as we sped up the 95 to Baltimore.

Up the interstate, down the main roads of the town, made a left onto High Street and suddenly we were in a very small town within the town. We were in Little Italy in Baltimore.

Slowly down High Street, Amici’s restaurant was on the right. Jeff, my oldest and dearest friend in the world, was already there sitting at a corner table right near the stairs.

Jeff made the drive down from Massachusetts just so we could have lunch. As we pulled up to the restaurant he stood up and raised his hand to make us stop, back up, and drive to him again so he could take a picture of us and the Alfa.

Jeff was there when I bought my first Alfa back in '79, and in fact, taught me how to drive a stick. No. I did not know how to do that when I bought the car back then. So it’s very fitting that he was also here on the day we got Sophia, and I hadn't seen him in ten years.

I was a little nervous about where to park this new car, but there was a spot just down at the end of the block which was perfect, and ...

...where the street corners are painted with the words, “Piccola Italia” and

“Little Italy”. It was perfect.

If you get the opportunity to visit Amici’s, , definitely do it.

I can’t sing their praises high enough. The food was wonderful. The staff was fun and friendly. And sitting at an outside table, under large red umbrellas, on the small Baltimore street was irresistible and relaxing after our first highway drive.

We ate Fresh Steamed Mussels in herby garlic butter and white wine sauce, a Ceasar Salad, garlic bread and their famous Pane Routundo, which is a round loaf of Italian bread, brushed with garlic butter, topped in a creamy shrimp scampi sauce.

We ate and laughed and talked like no years had passed at all.

Then Megan went off exploring Little Italy and returned with a bag of fresh, warm, sweet, flakey Italian pastries and bread from Ovenbird Bakery on Exeter Street, and this picture of this very dedicated position in life, which being a Yankee fan, made me laugh. I love that people care that much.


When it was time to go, we all went to the car and I popped the trunk. Jeff saw every inch of it already carefully packed like a puzzle and he laughed, “You’re gonna kill me.”

He had come bearing gifts: a backseat load of car care for the inside and out. Liqui Moly for Sophie’s engine and special soaps, detergents and micro-fiber clothes for her skin and so much more. There didn’t seem any place to put all the gifts, but Alfa Spiders have more room than appears at first blush. Even though you can’t fit even one more person in the ‘back seat’ there is a surprising amount of room for more artfully packed car care gifts. We packed by committee and when it was done, we took some last-minute pictures.

Then we said tearful goodbyes and pulled away. So long Baltimore!

Check out our Good Morning Baltimore playlist on Spotify:

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