Happy 2016 Busy Bees out there!
New year, new blog section! In section "People, Places, Things" I'll be taking you with me on my travels; you'll see what I see and meet who I meet! As I've made it my resolution to travel more, hopefully you'll get more than pictures of New York, but even in NY there are thousands of places to be explored and millions of people to meet. So grab a blanket, cozy up by the fire, sip some hot chocolate and travel with me through Pittsburgh!
I have to say that when I first hopped in the car and started out on my 6+ hour drive to Pittsburgh, I wasn't all too excited. When Mr. M and I first decided to go, all that he told me was that it was cold and that it didn't have as much to do as NYC did. None the less, we started out trek across the states. We put on the first episode of Serial* and battled our way through fog and slow moving vehicles; eventually we made it!
When we arrived in Pittsburgh, Mr. M couldn't have been more right! It was cold and the fog made the city seem so dreary. One of the first things that we saw when we entered the city was an abandoned gas station followed by run down buildings. I was still optimistic as we drove on, figuring that the outskirts of a city don't always mirror what's on the inside.
After a nice relaxing night Mr. M and I took to the town. We stopped into Tazza D'oro, a cute little cafe filled to the brim with hipsters and paninis.You should know that not only did they offer a French Toast Panini, but they offered a huge variety of coffee and teas. They also had hot chocolate on their menu; now I'm not saying that I have an obsession with hot chocolate, but I am saying that I really (really) love hot chocolate. And for some reason, I can't seem to find the perfect cup in New York...
As I watched the barista seductively spray the whip cream and sprinkle the tiny bits of coco on top of the hot chocolate, I saw the gates of heaven open and heard angels singing at the top of their lungs; I knew that this was the perfect cup of coco. I almost didn't even want to drink it, but then I thought "who am I kidding?". I figured that this is what the tears from unicorns taste like, magical.
Hot chocolate wasn't the only thing that Tazza D'oro made magically, my French Toast Panini was the perfect side piece to my hot chocolate. Most people would put it the other way around, but as I said I really like hot chocolate. The panini was made with a slice of french toast filled with cream cheese and raspberry reduction. It was the breakfast of champions! Mr. M enjoyed a nice pot of tea, which they give you in your own little french press, and a hot panini. I wasn't too concerned about what kind of panini he had because I was too engorged in my hot chocolate and the episode of Serial that we were on.
After we finished our breakfast we did what any sane couple would do on a cold day when it is flurrying outside, we headed to the zoo! The zoo was practically devoid of human life and that was just fine with us. We explored everything that the Pittsburgh Zoo had to offer, which was a lot! It's not as big as the Bronx zoo but had a lot that the Bronx zoo does not, like more than one elephant.
Even though most of the animals were tucked away in the
safety of their warm beds, there still were many animals that were out and about. I didn't realize that lions did not mind the touch of a cold snowflake against their grizzly faces, I though that they craved the heat and the sun, but I was happy to see that it was the opposite. The pair of komodo dragons were tucked into their tree trunks in a deep sleep. I loved that the zoo was built so that you could walk the path and see every single animal without missing a beat.
As we continued down the pathway we stopped into the elephant house and were pleased to see that there was a mini parade of elephants. You could see the years weighing on each elephant as the wrinkles cascaded over their bodies. To me, the elephants were the best part of the entire zoo. The way that they carelessly ate their food and played with the others in their parade. I could have watched them for days. Fortunately for Mr. M, the urge to see the other animals pulled me away.
The Pittsburgh Zoo also has a couple other animal houses. The next house that we wondered upon was the Tropical Forest. It was really just a house for primates and one poison tree frog, but no matter. As we walked through the darkness of the Tropical Forest we saw orangutans grooming, howler monkeys hanging, and lemurs lunching. We also saw bad parenting happening...now this is definitely my opinion but you should never take your kids to the zoo and show them how to treat animals awfully. A man was standing banging on the glass of the gorilla's room yelling at the gorillas while his kids egged him on. There was a gorilla who was grunting and shuffling back and forth, clearly agitated. The man laughed as his kids high fived and laughed along. To me that is just cruel.
After our trek through the Tropical Forest we ventured to the aquarium (yes they have an aquarium in the zoo!!!). The Pittsburgh Zoo isn't the biggest zoo, but the fact that it has an aquarium in it just blew my mind. The two floor building has animals ranging from tiger sharks to king penguins. It was exquisite! After exiting the aquarium you are greeted by snoozing polar bears and playful otters. If you go to the Pittsburgh Zoo, do not leave without visiting the aquarium!
We rounded out our zoo visit by going through the "Kid's Zoo". I think that the only reason it's called that is because of the giant slides and the petting zoo that's inside of it. The "Kid's Zoo" would've been better if we visited in the middle of May; most of the animals weren't out but you could just imagine how great it would have been if the kangaroos were hopping about. We did end up seeing this interesting looking llama. I don't think that I've ever seen a llama with such long teeth before. I have to come back in the spring to see how everything changes
I have to say that my first day in Pittsburgh was a great one, stay tuned to see what happens next as we trek around the town!
*Serial is a podcast by Sarah Koenig that dives into the story of murder. It has so many twists and turns and it soon became an obsession.