Pittsburgh, The school district of

Pittsburgh, whenever I think of it, a vast expense of greenery with a spaghetti of bridges, tunnels and the three rivers come to mind. Pittsburgh, PA is the place I first looked at US. I had joined University of Pittsburgh as a PhD candidate.

My two years at University of Pittsburgh were spent well, not much academically, but certainly very well socially. After I finished my Masters there, I was ready to move on.

Almost an year and a half later, I was back to a plane for Pittsburgh. It was winter and I could not figure out a better place to go back to. The plane arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport and stopped a little short of the terminal. It was snowing like crazy and the captain informed us that the ground was slippery and a ground cart would escort the plane to the terminal.

One and half years of Atlanta weather and I did not remember what it meant to be outside when it was snowing. Brrr, it was cold. I waited for Anandha sometime and eventually decided to use my Pitt ID to take the 28X Airport Shuttle to Anandha's place. Later I found out that Anandha had gotten stuck for various reasons and eventually did arrive at the airport after I had left.

Anyway, Anandha was on the road again and I decided to drop by an old friend. After we had talked a bit and after we had eaten at a Thai place at Walnut street (a very nice shopping and hanging out place in Shadyside), I was feeling content and decided to finally crash at Anandha's place.

Realizing that when I was in Pittsburgh, I did not really go visit most of the places worth visiting, I decided to do that. Primarily, I was around following places most of my time there. (i) University of Pittsburgh and surrounding Areas (ii) Downtown (iii)Taking the metro (T) to some weird destination and just exploring that area (iv)Oakmont. This is not to say there aren't other places to visit, just that I could visit only those areas.

University of Pittsburgh and Surroundings

University of Pittsburgh brings back a lot of memories. Among one of the first memories are two buildings, the Ben Adam building and of course, the Cathedral of learning. Cathedral of learning is an old tall building, visible from quite a distance. Built in a gothic style, it is one of the oldest standing buildings in University of Pittsburgh. It is claimed to be the second tallest educational building in the world. Well, whether that claim is true of not, I do not know, but it sure is pretty tall. The first time I took an elavator to the 36th floor (the highest floor they allow you to go) and looked out of the window, I could clearly make out the far away three rivers and the vast expanse of greenery among which pittsburgh is populated.

Cathedral of Learning, now a days is used mainly for undergraduate classes, offices and a the nationality rooms. In itself it is a wondrous place for tourists. One can often spot, amazed toursists snapping pictures or just looking at the architecture of the building. Ah, I mentioned the Nationality rooms. Now on the second and third floors of this building are many rooms which are called as nationality rooms. As the name suggests, each room is a window into the culture of a different nation. Much of the material has been donated by various organizations and governments towards showing the world a glimpse of thier cultural heritage. If you arrive before 5:00pm, you can take a self-guided tour of the rooms. All you need to do is to come to the reception desk, show some id and pay up 2-3 dollars fee and they will provide you with a walkman and a key. You can go around the rooms, listening to a description of the room and the culture on the walkman. The nationality rooms are one of those rarely known treasures that you must explore if you visit Pittsburgh.

Right next to Pitt is the public library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It is housed in a very grand gothic style building proclaiming proudly "Free to the Public". In front ot the library are many trees and benches. The bare trees in the snow provide a contrasting picture. During the two years of my stay at pittsburgh, I was a frequent visitor to this library. The first summer I was here, I watched almost all of their collections of DVDs. They also have a large collection of music and graphic novels (comics) and this only added to my frequency of visiting the place. Anandha's Favorite House Lowe's Chimneys

A little distance from the University was the place where I lived during my second year at Pitt. Walking a little bit more away from the univertiy, you come across the Cathedral of Hope. Like most of the buildings in Pitt, it is built in a majestic gothic style. The Cathedral of Hope is an extremely beautiful building. Even though the day I visited it was not well lit, I could clearly make out the grandeur of the place. There was a huge pipe organ set. A very beautiful sculpture of Christ and his disciples. The stain glass work in this building was remarkable. In the lobby, towards the entrance to the Cathedral are a set of posters telling the history of Pittsburgh as it has evolved over time.

Downtown Pittsburgh


Drive down a while and cross the bridge and there stands the Oakmount town on bank of Allegheny river. Incidentally, Pittsburgh is known for its bridges. Somewhere I heard that Pittsburgh has over 10,000 bridges. Probably it does. The place is extremely hilly, the land is uneven, the roads winding and bridges joining two hills.

Anyways, coming back to Oakmont, it is a nifty little place sitting all by itself on the banks of a river. It is a city where the roads are paved with bricks, people walk deliberating, peopl are courteous and the whole place is covered by exactly two roads. When I went there, the place was covered in snow. Some of the houses had pretty lighting. Anandha and I walked around enjoying the beauty and serenity. In time we felt a little bit hungry and sighting the famous Oakmont bakery, we walked towards it.

Probably the best way to reach Oakmont is to take the metro from downtown and get down at Oakmont junction. Also, I would tend to think that the best time to visit Oakmont will be summers when people are around and the temperatures not too high. Walking by the river under the moonlit night would certainly make you at peace with yourself. When leaving, we looked back and the metro station glowed in the dark, and that is the last memory I have about that place.