January 14, 2013

Pittsburgh, Part 1

My interview adventures brought me to Pittsburgh last week, a city that I had heard good things about but that remained in my mind a crumbling, smoky, steel town. I was excited to explore a new city, nervous about doing it on my own, and unsure what the experience would ultimately be like. As the airport shuttle drove me to my hotel, I was amazed by the stunning view of Pittsburgh's downtown lit up at night, and I knew that I was in for a good time.

I had an afternoon interview, so I made sure to maximize my free morning by hitting the pavement and walking around the neighborhood surrounding the University of Pittsburgh campus. It was starting to rain, so I had to cut my walk short, but I was able to enjoy the beautiful buildings, the most striking of which was the Cathedral of Learning. I admit that I felt pretty self-conscious snapping away on my camera in front of all the Pitt students (I hate looking like a tourist), but once I started, I felt more at ease and embraced my visitor status.

The William Pitt Student Union

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum

After my interview, I decided to go for a short walk near my hotel to try to get some shots of the sunset. Unfortunately, I wasn't at the best angle, but these couple of shots give you an idea of how nice it can be to see a setting sun through tree branches. Quite lovely!

Later that evening, I took a funicular up the Duquesne Incline to experience the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline at night. It's $5 for a roundtrip adult ticket, and the car has windows all around so that everyone can get a decent view. I was the only one on my car, which was a bit creepy, but I was relieved to see that there were other folks up top checking out the view.

The view was really beautiful. I saw quite a few couples cuddling as they looked out at the skyline, and I think this would be a cute stop for a date night. Since I was solo, I at first was focused on finding the right camera setting for a good photo, but I reminded myself to put the camera away after a while so I could just appreciate the view. 

My first photo attempt from the overlook. I know it's very blurry, but I like the abstract look of it, anyway. :)

Much better!

This time with the Three Points in the lower left.

Since I didn't want to just take the funicular back down after a few minutes, I decided to walk around the neighborhood. There are a few restaurants that capitalize on the view of the river of skyline, as well as several houses. I walked along until I found a break in the buildings and took a few photos of the skyline from a different angle. It was nice to go for a solo stroll, and even though it was dark out, I felt safe walking around with my camera.

The view from down the road

By this point, I was feeling a bit chilly, so I decided it was time to head back down the funicular. I was glad that I had made the trip up the mountainside, as there really is something beautiful about gazing down at bright lights and their reflections in the river. 

The view was a far cry from the podunk, rundown steel town I had originally envisioned. As I would find out the next morning, downtown Pittsburgh had its own special charm to offer...