May 2013: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Chris loves his National Geographic Traveler, so when they ranked Pittsburgh as one of the top 25 places to explore (in the world?!), we had to go.  And while I would have to say a visit to the fjords of Norway or the beaches of Bali might have been nicer, we did have a lot of fun.

It’s a four to five hour drive from our house, so we left mid-day on Friday and visited Falling Water along the way, Frank Lloyd Wright’s house that he designed for a Pittsburgh family.  Amazing blend of architecture and nature.  I could totally live there.  And never leave.

We got to Pittsburgh around dinner time, visited the Warhol museum (open late on Fridays and half price!), then found a bar downtown that was showing the Stanley Cup semifinals, where the Penguins were playing.  We had corned beef sandwiches and Iron City beer (a local specialty) and then wandered around downtown in the cultural district, winding up at Andy’s Wine Bar in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel.  I tried a new drink: a ginger beam, made with Jim Beam, ginger, syrup, and ginger beer.  Yum.

On Saturday we visited the Mattress Factory, a very weird and yet very fun installation art museum.  I loved the room full of silver helium balloons, Chris loved the polka dot room with infinity mirrors.  Then we took the funicular up to the top of the hillside that overlooks the three rivers (a bit reminiscent of Khartoum), and then walked along the downtown and South Shore trails until we found the Hof Brau House.  I should have known better than to take Chris there mid-day, because we basically got stuck there and had not only lunch but dinner there as well, with several liters of beer between us.

Sunday, our last day, we visited the Carnegie Science museum, and watched Star Trak: Into Darkness at their OmniMax.  Big.  Maybe too big.  The science center was fun, especially their Sports Works section, and then we just had one final building to look for: Church Brew Works, an old church that has been turned into a brewpub.  Great beer and a great lunch, with a lot of ambience.

Hopefully our next trip will be more along the lines of the jungles of South America, but Pittsburgh actually turned out to be pretty nice.

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