OK. Day 3 of the road trip- Rise and shine at 6am to begin the 4 hour drive from Lancaster to Pittsburgh… well, that’s when Ricky started his day. I spent another 2.5 hours slumbering in the back of the van while Ricky drove. I finally got up around 8:30 when we got to a rest stop, jonesing Starbucks. Fully caffeinated, I helped navigate the rest of the way. We made our way through a tunnel under a mountain and over a bridge and finally arrived at the city … now to find a home for the night. We found a lovely neighborhood near a quaint railroad and parked the van- check out the pictures of that spot.. really, not scary at all (Don’t worry Uncle Jim, we found locals who said it was totally safe).
Next, we did more walking than I’ve done in probably the last 3 years combined. I thought I was going to DIE. We took a makeshift nature walk along a sewage ridden river with warning signs about water contact to downtown Pittsburgh and grabbed some gyros for sustenance. Then we headed down to Triangle Park, and on the way came across one of the most amazing fountains I’ve ever seen. Mesmerized by the choreography of the spurts of water, I probably could have sat there and watched it for an hour.. but instead we walked on. Once we finally reached the park, which is the peak of the peninsula on which the city is located, I decided to do a jump shot photo shoot, which I think was my downfall, because after 3 jumps with maximal effort I was feeling pretty winded. We continued walking over the Fort Duquesne Bridge and headed to the National Aviary, where we saw birds of all sorts- huge predatory birds, little colorful ones, parakeets, eagles (including the Great American Bald Eagle, AKA the gabe). We got to do a little feeding tour, where we held cups of nectar and these colorful mid-sized birds landed on you. I was timid at first, but then I fell in love with the first little guy that landed on me and I wanted to take him home. Although I love looking at exotic animals, seeing caged birds (or caged anything, really) hurts my heart a little.
After checking out all the birds, we walked a few blocks over to the Mattress Factory, an installation art museum that really is a hidden gem in Pittsburg and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone visiting the city. The exhibits are unique, to say the least. The first thing we saw when we walked up were stone sculptures of people.. they might have even been saints and religious figures, at least that’s how they looked to me. But the weird thing was– most of the heads were broken off. Only a few heads were left on.. I wonder how the artist chose which heads to leave on. There were lots of cool exhibits. As we were wondering around the 4 floors of the museum, exploring the different rooms, we opened a door to find, by far, the coolest exhibit: a polka dot mirror disco room, with mirrors on the floor, walls, and ceiling. We had a little bit of a disco/techno experience. YouTube videos soon to come. Then, to our great surprise, we discovered a door in the mirrored wall that lead to yet ANOTHER polka dot mirror room; this one with weird polka dot mannequins that we immediately used as props for inappropriate photography. The Mattress Museum was awesome.
Who’s ready for more walkinnnggg???.. not me. not me at all. But I did my best to keep up with Ricky, and walked all the way south to cross over the 6th street bridge. We stopped briefly for a snack and continued walking all the way through downtown and over the Smithfield Street Bridge, making our way to Station Square. Station Square is a little touristy spot, that gave me a chance to sit my butt on a bench for 20 minutes while Ricky found a magnet to add to our collection. Rest time came to an end far too quickly, and we walked to the Duquesne incline which is a little cable car that takes you up mount Washington- AMAZING views of the city. We met a family on the incline who recommended super fancy seafood place to eat at the top of the mountain- Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. With a window seat at the top floor of a tall building and absolutely breathtaking view, we wined and dined on Cajon shrimp, fish kabob with salmon tuna and sword fish, crab cake, shark, and stuffed bay scallops. We topped it all off with a delectable white chocolate mousse dessert. We spent way too much money, but it was freakin delicious food.
We hung out at the top of mountain and waited for it to get dark before taking the incline down to get some cool nighttime shots of the city lit up. Thank the lord, we called a yellow cab to take us home. We had a convo with our thugged out driver who was leaning so far back that he was basically sitting in the back with us. We chatted and asked him to tell us a little about Cleveland, our next city, but all he really had to say was “oh, we don’t like Cleveland”. I guess Pittsburgh and Cleveland don’t get along. I don’t know anything about city rivalries. So he dropped us off at the van at 26th and railroad, which was even more desolate in the evening hours. At this point, I could barely move my legs. I changed in to my PJs and took 3 Advil, we battened down the hatches and tucked ourselves in. There was some really awesome super windy thunderstorm that passed in the middle of the night that woke me up.. I really liked laying awake in the van listening to it. It could have been a tornado, for all I knew, but I didn’t care…
Next Stop: Lake Erie