(Note: since so much took place during my stay in Glasgow, I decided to split my adventures into two posts. Here’s Part One; look out for Part Two tomorrow!)
After a pleasant four days in Ireland, I was off to Scotland! Took the flight from Cork to Glasgow (which, for some strange reason, had a thirty-minute delay, in terms of take-off) and arrived around 16h30 in Glasgow Airport.
There was a problem trying to withdraw money from the currency exchange machine (had to switch over to pounds; I was still able to use euros back in Ireland). My credit card was not working, and so I had to call my bank overseas (and subsequently getting charged for my call) in order to activate my card for international transactions. Finally was able to get money out afterwards, paid for the bus far, and was on my way to the city center.
Met up with my host for Glasgow at the bus station (let’s call him “Ron”). He was also there with a female traveler from Mexico, who joined us for dinner that night. We walked over to Ron’s flat, about five minutes from the station, where I dropped off my belongings before we headed out to eat at a vegetarian/vegan-hipster café (Glasgow is quite eclectic in its food/culture scene, since it, like Dublin, is quite international). Ordered a “to-fish and chips,” the tofu version of the popular UK dish. Definitely tasted like fried tofu, but not bad. And quite the experience!
Went back to Ron’s flat, and met his roommate and his roommate’s brother, who was staying for the holidays. Showered, and turned in for the night after a long day of traveling (from Blarney Castle to the airport to Glasgow- felt like I had been out for two days, instead of one!).
Since Ron had work early in the morning, he wasn’t able to take me around the city. What he did, though, was offer suggestions on places to visit, which I kindly took; otherwise, I only had vague ideas of what to see, since I didn’t know much about Glasgow beforehand!
Any case, I woke up after he left. Had breakfast, and finalized my itinerary for the day. Left the flat at 8h00 or so, and for the next eight, nine hours, I was running all over the city, trying to pack as much as I could into the short time that I had (remember, it gets dark by 16h00 in the winter, and so that limited how long I could stay out).
Started at the Provand’s Lordship, which is the oldest house in Glasgow (dates back to the 15th century) before passing through Glasgow Cathedral (the oldest in the city; wasn’t able to go all the way inside, because of service, but managed to sneak in a photo of it!) and climbing up to the Necropolis, a cemetery filled with distinctive monuments of people and icons, as well as being located on top of a hill, overseeing part of the city. It had just stopped raining when I arrived there, and so the atmosphere of it all– the dark sky, green hills, and the statues at the summit– definitely gave off a somber tone.
Since Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow Cathedral, and the Necropolis were located a bit outside of the city center, afterwards I headed back into town to check out the Gallery of Modern Art (first out of the three museums that I visited that day) which, of course, houses modern (or “contemporary”) art. Admission was free, so that was a plus! Wandered inside the different exhibits, some on feminist works while others on social issues of war and technology. In order words, lots of abstract art! While not exactly what I would go for, the GoMA exhibits were quite fascinating, and I found myself interested in the details of some of the works. Not bad!
The GoMA isn’t a very large museum (only three floors of exhibitions, each containing one to two galleries), so after an hour, I finished everything. Left for The Lighthouse, a building in the heart of Glasgow that was designed by the Scottish architect Charles Mackintosh and is dedicated to design and architecture. Frankly, I wasn’t interested in any of the exhibits (in fact, it appeared that many of the galleries were closed due to construction), but rather the climb up the spiraling staircase to the tower’s summit. At the top, I got an absolutely gorgeous view of Glasgow; it helped that the sky had cleared up that time, and so everything looked so clear. Amazing.
Afterwards, I took the long road straight down Argyle Street (also bustling with tourists and locals doing their last-minute Christmas shopping) to get to the People’s Palace, located just outside the city center (albeit south of the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis). The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens is a museum that is dedicated to the social history of the Glaswegians, from the late 18th century to the present day. That said, there were exhibits on the city during WWII, its first-ever supermarket, and even a bit on the drinking culture! Also had one dedicated to Billy Connolly, the famous singer-comedian and native Glaswegian.
Left the People’s Palace, and took the lengthy, 45-plus minute walk along the quay across the city (literally, east to west) to check out the Science Centre. By that time, it was past 14h00, and I also wanted to check out the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum before it got dark at 16h00, so I was rushing. Didn’t go inside the Science Centre, but took a couple of photos from across the River Clyde. Saw the Clyde Auditorium (nicknamed “The Armadillo”), as well as the Glasgow Tower from there, too.
With an hour to go before it got dark, I booked it all the way to the Kelvingrove Museum. Like GoMA and the People’s Palace, it was free admission. Spent about an hour and a half inside (decided to stay a bit longer, since there was so much to take in!). From the “Glasgow Boys” gallery to the natural history exhibit to Impressionist paintings (always a favorite of mine), the museum has it all. No wonder it’s the most popular museum to visit in Scotland!
I was getting tired around 16h30, after having been out and about all day; I was ready to head back to Ron’s flat. Made the twenty-minute trek back to the city center, and was exhausted when I returned. Ron made some dinner (as he had said that he’s quite the cook, the food was pretty good. Pasta and vegetables- simple, but can’t go wrong with that!).
All was well, but then it got cut short when Ron told me last-minute that he couldn’t host me for the following night, since he had gotten an invitation from a friend to visit Edinburgh for Christmas. I didn’t appreciate that short notice; we had agreed over a month ago that I would stay for three nights, and while I respected his place and life, that wasn’t very considerate of him.
That said, even with the dinner and suggestions on what to visit in Glasgow, Ron and I, well, we had many odd, awkward moments during my stay there. It’s very complicated to explain, but what it comes down to is our personalities- they just didn’t mix. We had a sort of falling out afterwards when I left Glasgow, which is unfortunate, but well…can’t get along with everybody, let alone please them!
Part Two of my adventures in Glasgow coming up! Stay tuned! 😀
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic