On day 6, I got a taxi to Newark airport, in New Jersey. I had an interesting conversation with the driver; he asked me where I was from, I said “Ireland”, then he said, “oh, my friend was over there”. I presumed that he knew something about it, but then he follows that with, “do they have outdoor baths in Ireland?” I replied, “no, that’s Iceland you are thinking of”.
Anyways, I got through the airport security, and one thought came into my head: why is the internal airport security in the USA like flying from Dublin airport to London Stansted? It was hell getting through security to get into America, yet while flying through the USA, it was a breeze in comparison?
Back to the trip/journey, I was flying down to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to see where my namesake emigrated to, and pent his last days.
To give you a brief run down, my great grandfather married twice, two of the four children from his 1st marriage survived, his wife didn’t last long after the birth of their 4th child. He remarried the following year, had eight more children with his second wife (one of which was my grandfather), but, the surviving son from his 1st marriage emigrated to the USA, had a family, and his last known address was Pittsburgh.
The flight was pretty straightforward, plane was a bit noisy though, and then when I got there, I booked a return taxi to the hotel I was staying in. I think the taxi depot man thought my accent was a bit thick, a bit strong. I got booked in, then I settled down for an early night. The following morning, I went downtown, and hired a bicycle for the day, luckily, the weather was great, and I would wholly recommend doing this if you are ever in Pittsburgh, a nice way to see it.
The place is very cycle friendly, with plenty of paths, and if you had to use the pavements, no one seemed too bothered. The city looked nice, a not that busy, but as it was Memorial day, that was probably to be expected, as most other people presumably “got out of dodge”, and headed elsewhere.
The setting/scenery, reminded me of a cross between Glasgow (industrial city with many bridges across the main river), Belgrade (two big rivers merging into one another, and Sarajevo (a city set into a big valley). I did attempt to travel to where I thought the grave for my namesake was, but, it was too far out, in terms of public transport, and it was the same story with his last address too.
One thing I noticed was that parts of it looked a bit run down, I suppose most cities have these kind of areas.
Although overall it looked nice, and the people there seemed pleasant enough, I don’t know if I would go back to “steel city” again, unless there is something else that brings me back here again. I’m glad that was in the same place that my namesake lived, but, strange thing is, I’ve found out that there was a good chance that he had resided in Chicago, maybe that’s another possibility in the future.
Would I recommend Pittsburgh? If you are passing through that part of America, then yes, if not, probably no, unless you want to try something different.