I didn’t expect to love Cleveland. Maybe that’s why I was so impressed. I had no pre-conceived ideas of what Cleveland was before I went in.
Frankly, it was refreshing to not have an agenda going into a trip.
So, why did I go to Cleveland? I had some Air Canada flight credits that I was going to lose if I didn’t use them immediately. I had two nights off work and a desire to see some NFL football. So, I went down the Week 2 schedule, looking at every matchup and host city for games and flight combos that I liked.
Ultimately Cleveland was the winner!
It was an easy flight, the Toronto to Cleveland leg of the journey so short there was no time for pretzels and soda. We arrived so early on Saturday that we checked in to the hotel and took a leisurely stroll over to Progressive Field where we picked up $9 tickets and watched the Cleveland Indians victoriously battle the Detroit Tigers in a 1-0 ball game.
Sunday football was exactly as it should be. An early and boisterous crowd heading for a Sunday afternoon game in the sunshine. Boos, cheers and lots of barking let you know you were in the ‘Dawg Pound’ and the ‘Brownies’ were your home team.
I picked up a t-shirt at the fan shop on my way in. When in Rome, right? Go Browns! Woof! Woof!
Our team was off to a great start. Two touchdowns in the first quarter made everyone believe it was OUR day. Lots of ‘woofing’ it up in the crowd. But, the Baltimore Ravens had other plans. They would play spoilers to this great game and beat the Browns 25-20. Nonetheless, my son and I had a good time.
The final Cleveland activity was icing on the cake. We could have stopped at baseball, and football and called it a successful trip, but we pushed on and made time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’m so glad we did! It was 7 storeys of funky, fabulous music history and memorabilia. It was such a treat I really do need to write about it in its chapter and do it justice.
People have asked me, “wasn’t it a scary city? A tough town?” I can only answer from my own experience. No. No, I didn’t find it threatening, unusually populated or in any way scary. We used public transit, walked to both the stadium and ballpark, and chatted with people on the streets. One middle aged lady even stopped to ask where we were from and to say “welcome.” We were about to head into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and she said, “ah, you’ll love it. So many good things in there. You Canadians are gonna love it.”
She was right, of course, we did love it.
We stayed so long at the Rock Hall, that we had the hotel arrange a private transfer service back to the airport. Again, that was nothing short of fantastic. A professional driver, a great vehicle and a lively chat about sports in Cleveland. What’s not to like?
Two thumbs up for this great city!