on the road...part 2...

as i stated earlier, traveling for work is just that...work. for most people, when they hear i'm traveling for work, the first thing out of their mouth is usually "that's cool". i always wonder what they're thinking. do they think i'm on vacation and i get to go sightseeing and do all the touristy stuff? i hate to burst that bubble, but that is NOT the case. i have to work.

when i'm at home, i don't have to go to an 'office' and fight with traffic. woo hoo! i have the luxury of staying up late (2am) and sleeping in (9:30am). but on the road...and worse yet, on the east coast...i have to comply with other people's schedule and unfortunately for me, sleeping in is usually not an option.

with my body clock on the west coast, the first couple of days are usually the hardest. taking a red-eye flight usually works to my benefit. due to the limited amount of sleep i can get on the plane, i'm usually pretty tired the first night and tend to go to sleep early, usually by midnight EST/9pm PST. that's reeeally early for me! but it helps me get on east coast time faster.

but, as i alluded to in my last post, on the road, there are bonuses. while visiting tourist hot spots usually isn't part of the work day itinerary, that doesn't mean there isn't time to do a little sightseeing, even if it's only for a half hour. so whenever possible, i try to get out and see at least one cool place where i'm working.

at the University of Notre Dame, that one place was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

as a former architecture major, i was amazed by the details and the beauty of the interior. with it's Gothic Revival style, French stained glass windows (1870-1887) and murals by Italian painter Luigi Gregori, the Basilica is truly a sight to behold. these photos do not even come close to capturing the awe that one feels in the midst of such beauty.

whenever i go on the road, one of my rules is to eat at restaurants that i can't find in LA. regardless of how much you have to work, you still have to eat, so finding some place worthwhile is of the utmost importance. you don't want to waste a chance for a good meal at a mediocre place.

so where do you go to get advice on local restaurants? i find that the best source is the locals. in Pittsburgh, the trusty doorman at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel proved to be the right source. his recommendation? the Grand Concourse.

located in the old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Train Station, the Grand Concourse features some of the finest steak, seafood and poultry dishes in the Pittsburgh area. with it's historic setting and romantic view of the Smithfield Street Bridge, the Monongahela River and downtown Pittsburgh, it's a great place to end the day with good food and good company.

if you haven't figured it out by now, one of the things i like to do is try new things. new food, new restaurants, new outings. even in LA, i have my favorite places, but a creature of habit i am not. if you ask me when the last time i went to them was? the answer won't be last week or even last month.

so while i got to try new restaurants on this trip, i also decided to try a new hotel - Hyatt Place.

while the Hyatt name is nothing new to the hotel industry, Hyatt Place is a new brand of stylish living. with a comfortable sitting area and a 42" plasma tv, the room was bigger than your average hotel room and felt a little more like home.

downstairs in the lobby, they have complimentary continental breakfast as well as ready made sandwiches and desserts and a 24 hour cafe where you can order food cooked to order from the menu. for a low maintenance guy like, me, it was perfect! i don't need a mint on my pillow, turn down service or a fancy restaurant. just give me a clean room and towels and linens that don't feel like sand paper and i'm a happy camper. =) and the best part is that they are reasonably priced!

the number of Hyatt Places is still growing, but i hope they catch on. i know for sure i'll be back.