I am sitting in my hotel room. My suitcase is packed. To write the last daily recap (there will be some more when all pictures are uploaded) is actually a painful process, because it means I have to say good bye to Pittsburgh for now.
But before I let my tears drop into my keyboard, I should start with something positive:
When I left the hotel this morning I found something very extraordinary: LIGHT. To be exact - SUNLIGHT. Believe it or not .... Okay it was still super cold and I slipped more than once on the ice covering the Warhol Bridge, but it is amazing how different the world looks in the sun.
My plan for today was quite packed and I started again in the Strip District with a delicious cappuccino at La Prima and a long and nice talk with my table neighbor - and older Italian gentleman and obviously a regular at the place. We discussed all kind of things from the glorious sunshine of the Adriatic summer to the recent hockey season.
After my late breakfast I went for the Pittsburgh Public Market on Smallman Street. This is a very nice indoor market where local vendors present their goods - from food to handicraft. One of the highlights is for sure the Pittsburgh Marshmallow Factory. What you can buy there has nothing to do with supermarket marshmallows. These guys make and sell chunks of taste and the marshmallows melt on your tongue. Literally. They offer a big variation of tastes from sweet to spicey. I tried the beer flavored one (I am a curious person) and a banana foster. Actually the beer one was weird, but definitely not bad, but I like the more classic banana foster more.
The general impression of the Strip was very different from yesterday (no surprise though), because it was a) sunny b) Saturday, which is always the busiest day in the Strip. It's packed with people and very often you have to wait a while until it is on you to place your order, but who would mind? Most people are in a good mood and just enjoy all the food and scents. There is a lot of "on the street cooking and eating" and at many corners you hear some music from musicians on the street or out of a shop. It's lovely.
After spending some money on marshmallows, pepperoni rolls, biscotti and caramel popcorn I left the Strip being very sad that I cannot simply come back next Saturday.
I went from there back to the start point of my days in Pittsburgh - to the Consol Energy Center where some hardcore Lady Gaga fans were already sitting to be the first ones when the doors would open for the show tonight. Other than the fans I went straight inside and treated myself with another Pens sweater and cried over the price of a not affordable Kris Letang Winter Classics Jersey (400$ ! ). (Note from April 3, 2011: I later found a significantly cheaper one in the internet and ordered it - it's now called "my precious" and waits for the next Pens trip to Pittsburgh.)
It was still quite early and because the weather was so nice I took the T (the cute little subway like thingy which pretends to be public transportation ;) to Station Square to take the incline up to Mount Washington and enjoy the view by day - and sunlight. It's beautiful and with Pittsburgh being nowadays almost without heavy industrie you can really look far into the country.
Being already on the South Side I took the bus for some more stops up the East Carson Street to the South Side Flats. That is a cute little (even not sooo little because it goes quite a few blocks) shopping area and finally I got an idea where the younger people get their stuff. There you find record and book stores, a guitar shop, several tattoo studios (in relation to the size of the city I saw a LOT of tattoo shops and a lot of people with a tattoos), smaller shops with more individual fashion stuff and a lot of bars and restaurants. And again this neighborhood was totally different from all the others I had seen so far. I spent some money ;), had late lunch / early dinner at Nakama and took the bus back "dahntahn" - finally I had a bus driver who really spoke Pittsburghese.
Speaking about busses: Today in bright sunshine, when I perfectly (!) knew where to go, for which price and even if I had to pay entering for leaving the bus (when you go out of tahn you pay when you leave, when you go from outside to dahntahn you pay when you enter the bus - don't ask me why ...) I had at least in some of the busses I took today a display telling me where I was, where we would go and what the next stop is - I would have really needed this earlier this week, but thanks anyway.
I dropped out of the bus in downtown to do my final walk towards the bridges. I could see what my friends meant with "On the weekends the cultural district wakes up", when I had problems to find room to pass the Benedum because the area was so crowded.
The original plan for the night was to meet again with a friend and go to Bocktown, but since my friend had bad accident yesterday and cannot walk and is not able to even think about driving and going out, I was staying at home and enjoyed the very last time the chance to watch a Pens game live on TV before I have to go back to late night game radio. And what a game I caught! 5:5 after regular and overtime and a shoot out win for the Pens! LOVELY!
And there we are ... the last day is over. Tomorrow (today when you read this) it will be all traveling. When I am back home I will upload the full set of pictures to Facebook and post the links with some additional notes here as blog posts. So stay tuned - I will announce the new blog posts as usual on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for taking this trip with me and sending over so much positive feedback! To hear back from you really doubles the fun of writing.
Pictures of the day:
Wonderful treats at the Pittsburgh Public Market
Live music and cooking at the Strip District
The skyline in day- and sunlight
Smithfield Street Bridge