My first night in Pittsburgh involved a frat party, sharing PBR (ugh!) in a red plastic cup I thought were only used in movies while sharing filthy jokes with some random. I woke up somewhere in the suburb of Friendship wedged between two girls named Ashley and Katy and a guy called Zach. (Everyone in PA is named Ashley, Zach, Matt or Katy, apparently) I snuck out the back door after stealing the left over KFC from their fridge and spent an afternoon trying to find my way back to my hotel.
Driving into Pittsburgh from Philadelphia the day before, I discovered how pretty this state is – in a German stepford wife gone country kinda way. Just when you get comfortable taking in the endless lawns that stretch on forever, you come across something that makes you look twice and turn around (Flight 93 memorial, New Scranton – seriously? Scranton is so full of itself it decided to reinvent its reputation – somewhere else and half way across the state. I wasn’t aware Scranton #1 was awesome enough to required a part 2 but whatever…..)
In Pittsburgh, I checked into the Double Tree by Hilton Downtown, (there are no youth hostels and the city is not really set up for backpackers in terms of accommodation or independent tours) and spent an hour in the lobby being audibly seduced by the man on the radio – PA guys have the best accent out of any state in America hands down. Pittsburgh is a masculine boys town and has four too many sports channels – I almost developed carbuncle trying to flick through them all.
I spent the next day on The Strip, at the Heinz History Centre, the Andy Warhol Museum, Washington Point, and the South Side. I also watched a nylon basketball short wearing punk pat his girlfriend on the head. I waited momentarily to see if she would bark or sit. Nada. A great place to visit in Pittsburgh is Deluca’s for breakfast if you can bear the line – President Obama eats here when in town and has flown the chef out to the White House.
Pittsburgh has some good sites and is fairly easily to navigate, but it’s not set up for throngs of backpackers – which is probably a good thing with the testosterone fuelled energy, there’d be mini Pitt-Swedians, dark hair and blue eyes, wandering around every Steelers game yelling, “daddy?” only to get a giant foam finger in his face. This city offers you the sites, offers you something to do and then expects you to find your way there to enjoy it without asking for help. Pittsburgh won’t hold your hand the way Philly does transportation wise, or a city like LA does hostel wise. Pittsburgh will shout at you “Steelers!” and expect you to be there at 8 – with beer. Somehow, but you’ll work it out. You have to bitches, or you’ll miss it.
Have you been to Pittsburgh? What did you think?