The other weekend, I had the privilege of spending a day in Pittsburgh with some of my best friends. It was that weekend when the snowstorm of the year hit and Walnut Creek Cheese was only open form 10-2. (That is how you know it was bad. They were open for four hours on a Saturday.) We met early in the morning, and slowly made our way to the big city of our dreams. The roads were terrible and we were very relieved to find a parking spot and stretch our legs. The snow was falling gently when we arrived, and it lasted the whole day, freezing our toes and making the world beautiful and magical. ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if it snowed while we were in Pittsburgh?’ was the heartfelt comment with which we all agreed as we first planned this trip. God must have heard that, and he blessed us with the very beauty we timidly craved.
Our first stop was the Strip, a street of ethnic grocery stores and shops of clothing, spices, and all kinds of other fun stuff. First of all, and most importantly, we bought Barbara’s favorite loaf of bread which was to sustain us till supper. Focaccia bread was new to me, but I found it yummy, and it was enjoyed by us all day long. Next was a tea and coffee shop, where I bought tea for half the price at Teavana. I was pretty happy with that. Then there was the pottery shop, Indian clothing shop, and the unending, unfriendly chocolate store, followed by the candy, material, biscotti, and Greek grocery store. We returned to our snow-covered chariot loaded with bags, frozen limbs and unbounded happiness.
About four miles across town we then drove to the Cathedral of Learning. Oh, the unmentionable, embarrassing moments along that route! Setting foot in the Cathedral immediately felt reverent. Vaulted ceilings, echoing corridors, and enormous rooms housing students silently bending their heads over their textbooks. We went to the 36th floor by elevator, and at the top we met a young man who had evidently just run the 36 flights of stairs. I don’t think that was a very good idea, judging from his moans and strange postures. After enjoying the view awhile, we descended via the elevator and wandered around outside until we decided what we wanted to do next.
Phipps Conservatory. This is where Pittsburghers go when they get tired of the pavement, fumes, steel of the city. Enter a world of green, flowers, and design. Entrance was $15, and we explored for about an hour, enjoying orchids, bonsais, spices, and tunneling walkways lined with nature’s beauty.
After this we were starving, so we retraced our steps to a Greek hole-in-the-wall restaurant we’d seen at the beginning of our trip. I think it was called Ephesus Grill? It was very sparsely furnished, with no decorations or music. They had an interesting system of ordering and pick up, but it looked like they did mostly take out and delivery orders. My three companions were wildly successful in their dinner choices, but I utterly failed. I managed to eat less than half of my ‘meal’ before we discreetly dumped it into the trash can while laughing loudly (to hide the loud ‘thunk’ it made at the bottom).
Then we headed to Station Square, which you can see as you enter Pittsburgh from the 376. It was utterly deserted, thanks to the weather. We went up the Duquesne Incline, and our enchantment was made complete at the top, where the city lights put on their best show for us, sparkling and twinkling. It was positively gorgeous to see the city from that height, and we fell irretrievably in love right there. At least I did.
It was a beautiful, well-spent day. Onto the pictures!
Prestogeorge Coffee and Tea:
Buying our new favorite mugs:
Mon ami and I in front of Mon Aimee Chocolat:
Scarves for 5 bucks??
A grown up fabric store:
Inside the Cathedral of Learning:
Outside the Cathedral of Learning:
Tiny orchids behind glass:
…It’s a Truffula Tree!”
Pittsburgh at night:
I wonder how many of my readers have explored Pittsburgh…I’m definitely going back someday.