Glasgow, Scotland

Making an early start after Paul and Mavis wish us well and Pam gives Martin one last cuddle we leave the rural comfort of Deri Fawr for the final time.

Two and a half hours driving, an hour or so sitting around in Manchester station waiting for a train then three and a half hours listening to the clickety clack watching the patchwork countryside slide by our windows and we pull into Central Station, Glasgow.

After the comparative solitude of our five weeks in Anglesey the rushing crowds flowing around us as we stagger through the station lugging our overfilled backpacks are making us nervous.

New town, new people, new accents, new place to stay. As usual we don’t have a clue where we are or where we are going. We will leave it up to the pro’s.

Stepping through the ‘suicide’ doors of the black cab is a revelation.

Compared to taxis (basically cars with a taxi sign fitted to their roof) in Australia and other countries we have been, the interior of the purpose built cab is palatial. We lounge back in the seats with our backpacks easily fitting inside with us, stretch out our legs and set off.

Minutes later we are knocking on the front door of the B&B, Claremont House, where we are staying for five nights.

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Our new landlord Tom appears and ushers us into the stately Victorian era home speaking rapid nonstop Glaswegian all the while.

Our room is enormous, 14 foot ceilings with ornate cornicing, a vast comfortable king size bed and a good sized ensuite.

Stripping off our packs we rejoin Tom in the even more spacious living room where he runs us through maps of Glasgow, sets up our WiFi access then gives us many tips about tourist spots and most importantly the best places to eat locally.

Tom is a delight and we are very happy with our new lodgings as we brave the chilly early evening streets in search of the Indian restaurant Tom has recommended.

Walking back in the night after our delicious meal we get lost in Glasgow for the first time.

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To make the most of our days in Glasgow we have requested to have breakfast at the earliest time possible. At 8:00am we cross the hall into the dining room and find the B&B has three guests.

Our new friend Nick is an interesting guy who is in Glasgow completing the latest round of ongoing certification required for his position as a marine engineer.

Tom has laid out a fabulous feast for the three of us and by the time he has brought out the delicious hot plates of cooked breakfast fare there is enough food on the table for ten people.

I do my best to ensure he is left to dispose of as little waste as is humanly possible and we pack a little snap lock bag full of croissants for the day ahead.

Tom has written down walking shortcuts to the center of Glasgow on our tourist map and with round bellies we set out into the chilly morning.

Our short cut takes us past two sides of the Tenement brewery grounds. Clever graffiti advertising lines the brick wall facing the busy Duke street.

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Grey skies have followed us from Anglesey however despite the obviously freshly wet roads our twenty minute walk into town remains rain free.

Duke street becomes George street which leads us past the ornate exterior of the Glasgow City Chambers to the corner of the statue filled George Square.

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Unfamiliar with the city as we are, with limited time at our disposal and the ever present threat of inclemency becoming downpour we have decided  to purchase two-day tickets for the open-top double decker tourist bus tour.

Pam goes off to the opposite corner of George square to sort out the tickets as I do my best to take photos of the numerous statues lining each edge of the square.

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My efforts are cut short by the next bus arriving, seats upstairs are soaking so we elect to sit in the comparative warmth downstairs.

The bus tour follows four big loops.

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First we are taken back in the direction we have walked into town. We pass the green copper roofed Cathedral and the tomb covered hillside of the Necropolis before making our way down to the Peoples Palace and Winter Garden.

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Turning around the roundabout beside the Peoples Palace we pause at the world’s largest terra-cotta fountain.

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Crossing the river Clyde via the cheekily nicknamed ‘Squinty’ bridge we do a loop around the metallic shells of the IMAX cinema and Science Centre.

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Near each side of the ‘Squinty’ bridge stand the round red brick Rotunda buildings. No longer in use, these buildings used to house lifts that would transport carts, livestock and people to an ingenious tunnel crossing under the Clyde.

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Recrossing the river the bus follows roads that pass the ‘Armadillo’ which is the nickname given to the Glasgow Concert Hall and the nearby massive circulare concert venue The Hydro where people are already queuing for the evening Beyonce concert.

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Pam has me in hysterics with her plans to initiate a KickStarter program to buy a pair of pants for Beyonce to wear in her video clips.

Our merry tour continues along the Clyde past the Riverside Museum that houses the Scottish Museum of Transport and Travel. Towering masts from a moored tall ship rise above the zigzag museum roof.

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Doubling back on our tracks we take the long loop through the major shopping streets out around the University of Glasgow and return to the city center passing the museum and art gallery Kelvingrove.

Our tour experience has been enhanced by the drily humorous recorded commentary announced in an easily understandable Scottish accent. Both of us have burst out laughing many times.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the Glasgow layout we elect to have lunch at the Counting House which is a bar occupying a huge room with a high glass dome ceiling right next to George Square. As we enter it is doing a roaring trade.

Our landlord Tom’s advice that this place serves the best low cost meals in town is absolutely true and we both have a lovely meal with a pint of beer and glass of wine for less than the cost of a Big Mac meal at McDonald’s.

Rejoining the bus after lunch we decide to risk braving the grey skies and ride the top floor of the bus. We redo the first three loops of the bus tour which enables me to take the photos that have accompanied the text above.

Council run galleries and museums are free to enter, we head back to the Riverside Transport and Travel museum and alight from the bus freezing from the wind and light rain that has begun to fall.

Our good friend Susan’s dad Bill would love this museum. Displays of old steam trains, cars, motorcycles, horse and carts, steam engines, clothing and all manner of other paraphernalia also hold plenty of interest for me.

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It is not quite Pam’s cup of tea however she feigns interest for my sake.

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The heating inside the museum has been set to stifling and I am shocked by how cold the air beyond the rear doors of the museum is when I step outside to photograph the tall ship moored close by.

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Lightly falling rain that is only a couple of degrees above freezing point drives us back onto the returning tour bus.

Unlocking the front door of the B&B late in the afternoon finds us tired, damp and very happy.

PLL

Mick and Pam

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