America’s Most Livable City: Pittsburgh PA
Last stop on our wonderful river cruise on the American Queen Steamboat is Pittsburgh.This city is very built up with skyscrapers, the meeting of three rivers and many bridges, all in Pittsburgh yellow. First I went up the Duquesne (pronounced Ducane) Incline. It’s one of the few funiculars in the US (there are many in Europe) that goes up the side of the mountain. What an amazing view of the city, the rivers and the bridges. Beautiful skyline from daytime and nighttime. On the way down a proud Pittsburgher told us that in her family no one can get engaged until they have their BA, cannot get married until they have their MA. In addition, the family gives them $1500 when they get their BA, $2500 when they get their MA and $6000 when they get their Ph.D. I think that is a wonderful set of values to pass down. It is great how people share things with total strangers they meet when they travel. Everyone is so relaxed and open to learning, exploring and sharing.
I took the Hop On/Off bus. Went to Finnegan’s Wake, across from the Warhol Museum for lunch and had the famous Primanti Sandwich – steak, cheese, French fries and cole slaw, but this one is in a wrap (the Primanti is on thick Italian bread). Then I spent the entire afternoon visiting the 8 floors of the Andy Warhol museum. Saw his art work, publications, movies, TV shows, celebrity memorabilia and lots more. What did I learn? That he was an amazing entrepreneur and self-marketer. He was shameless about it. He also did quite a bit of religious art and met with Pope John Paul. Then I continued on the Hop on/off for another hour to see the rest of the city, including the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The following day I spent the entire morning at the National Aviary. Great exhibits on the birds of the Wetlands, Tropical Rainforest, Penguins, and saw a live show where the birds of prey (falcons, eagles, condors) flew above us. Then went to The Strip for lunch, souvenir shopping (Pittsburgh loves its sports teams) and a trip to Wholey Fish Market. Saw some Southern specialties like Chittlings, Pigs Feet, Crawfish and a zillion different kinds of fish and seafood. Had a great dinner ar the Hofbrauhus Beer Hall in the Southside Works area. Delicious Hungarian goulash soup, spaetzle and a specialty of the house with potato pancakes, ham and turkey with bier cheese, bacon and tomato and of course a stein of beer, while being entertained by singers in their Lederhoisen (the short pants). It seems that everyone who turns 21 gets a birthday celebration there. Watched a glorious sunset and took a cab to Mt Washington, saw the gorgeous view of the city at night – Voted the 2 place in the US for nighttime vistas (the Arizona Painted Desert is #1). I can see why Pittsburgh was voted Most Livable City by Rand McNally.
If I had more time I would have visited: The Carnegie Science Center, Children’s Museum, PNC Park, Heinz History Center, Heinz Hall, Market Square, the Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Museums, Southside Riverfront Park, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum.
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