Rustbelt Roadtrip - Cleveland
People kept asking us -from the immigration officer onward- "So, what brings you to Cleveland?" and I struggled for an answer, to be honest. I got the idea to visit Cleveland and Pittsburgh after listening to a Marc Maron podcast a while back. He was talking to to guest about how both towns had quite a bit going on, and that they'd really made inroads from their post-industrial slump. Then we were invited to Florida by my brother an his family and so we put a trip together staring up here. So here we were.
Considering it was relatively pleasant in the UK when we left, we weren't expecting the weather to be as cold and wet as it was when we got off the plane. But it was colder than a witches tit and wetter than an otter's pocket.
Lacking an actual agenda, we walked around downtown and popped through the - architecturally impressive- shopping arcades. Visiting Heinen's (a locally-owned supermarket) was one of the occasions in our U.S visits where we wished we were local, such that we could go food shopping. It's got a bit of a Selfridges vibe and has a very enticing wine bar.
The central library was hosting a Superman exhibition. Evidently the folks at DC Comics based Metropolis on Cleveland. Also: in earlier, more civilised times, George Reeves's costume was brown and grey and looks like it was fashioned from hessian. Evidently less effort is required when one is working in black and white.
As we were mobile, we drove over to Lake View cemetery - where rich dead people try to one-up one another in the "who's got the biggest mausoleum" gig. It's the resting place of President Garfield, who spent most of his presidential tenure dying from a assassin's bullet and the less-than-tender ministrations of 19th century medicine. His tomb is impressive though. Also worth a look is the Wade Memorial Chapel - complete with Tiffany stained glass window.
If you're in the area one can visit the Steamship William G Mather, a Great Lakes Freighter used for shifting vast amounts of ore from back when making metal was the thing around here. It's a diverting bit of engineering porn.
Cleveland is also home to the Rock'n'roll Hall of Fame. It was tamer than expected; a bit Madame Tussauds. Also we question the rigour of the entry requirements, seeing as Journey were this years inductees, presumably due to a fair bit of plastic nostalgia created by Glee.
In other news, we ate Tater Tots in a bar. We do like to cover our culteral bases.