PITTSBURGH -- I just couldn't stomach more food. At least not of the variety that I have been gorging on through the first couple of rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, from poutine to BeaverTails to ice cream to chicken parm.
I had to give my stomach a break, and that's not easy in a city where a salad sometimes comes with French fries.
So instead of more food, I ventured out on a more cultural expedition, returning for the first time in a few years to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, just across the bridge from my hotel and not far from PNC Park, another cultural landmark that I would have explored had I had more time.
The Warhol Museum on a Sunday afternoon barely was populated, though I did spot what I assumed to be a few mothers and daughters taking in the pop art and videos in the largest single-artist museum in North America.
There was one exhibit that I had especially looked forward to seeing again: Silver Clouds. It's an interactive feature where puffy pillows of silver Mylar balloons float around a room, pushed here and there by museum goers, flitting and dancing where they will. According to a 2014 blog post by a museum worker on the Warhol Museum site, the balloons are filled with a proprietary mixture of regular air and pure helium, and can last up to seven days before they have to be replaced.
It's an exhibit that is calming, mesmerizing and joyful. It was just the kind of break I needed after two rounds of the playoffs, when sleep tends to be a rarity and moments unconnected to the daily grind are just as sparse.
I wandered from the seventh floor down, as is recommended, traveling through the time and life of Warhol, from his early student work through his experiments with film, his greater known works like his "Brillo Boxes," which were set up near "Jackie," a set of his screen printed panels featuring Jacqueline Kennedy.
By the time I was done, it was nearing 5 p.m. and closing time at the museum. I left, my green admission tab still affixed to my jacket, and made my way back across the bridge to the other side of the Allegheny River, where the city was a bit more bustling.
My foray to the museum only lasted a couple of hours, slipped between a morning Ottawa Senators availability at their hotel and more work on some upcoming stories and features. But it felt like a respite from the pressure of the playoffs, a time to quietly reflect on the meanings and messages in Warhol's art, a time to just enjoy the exhibitions.
A lovely afternoon in Pittsburgh indeed.