28 hours of consecutive air travel (with no sleep) isn’t conducive to a fun day of exploring, but I sure gave it a good crack.
One question though: why don’t we have a booking for this hotel? …
Am I going mad? Is she trying to fleece me by paying twice for a room? Nope. So much for those months of planning. Bill settled, and we’re off!
Just north of our hotel is the Glasgow central station. It’s everything you’d expect from an old world UK railway hub: cavernous atrium, wrought iron, carved wood, tonnes upon tonnes of chiseled stone.
One thing I can’t get over is how few people there are. Same goes for the rest of the Glasgow business district as I head north west towards Charing Cross. Is it a public holiday? It reminds me of the opening scene of the film 28 Days Later, where London is eerily silent, or Australian capital city Canberra, a city with an unfortunate lack of character. Hyperbole of course. For Glasgow I mean, not Canberra.
Without a map or working phone I’m left to my boy scout senses. I eventually find my way to Claremont Terrace and its beautiful row of homes by the park. At the end of the street I figure out where all the people are: Kelvingrove Park. The place is buzzing with life, and not just the squirrels and birds. Dogs roam freely off their leashes, children play, joggers… jog! The River Kelvin winds its way through, and there are great views of Glasgow University on the hillside (above).
A few photos later at the central fountain and the bridge over the River Kelvin and I stumble on to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Free to enter (after an optional donation) this houses a wide range of displays from natural history to renaissance art.
After a spin through the Scottish history exhibit and the taxidermy animals, I reach the show stopper: the cavernous central hall with a beautiful pipe organ. The crowds quickly grow for the 1pm recital, and the organ booms through the whole complex.
At this point I’m bloody starving, so head further west into the university district.
It’s been recommended by a colleague to stop in to Ashton Lane (above), and what a great tip that was! This short strip is filled with restaurants bars and cafes, including the famous Ubiquitous Chip. My pit stop has a table outside, made better by a pint of Magners, a burger and chips.
The trip back to the city can be made via the pedestrian plaza of Sauchiehall Street. Plenty of shopping is to be had on your way towards the sunny (not every day, I imagine) George Square, surrounded by grand old buildings.
Head one block south for the Glasgow of Modern Art. Here admire the statue of the Duke of Wellington decorated with traffic cones. ‘Vandals’ have been scaling the statue for years. City officials may well have given up removing them – you can guarantee they’ll be back the next morning. Either way, I probably wouldn’t make the stop if they weren’t there.
Next stop for us is Loch Lomond. We’ll keep you posted!