Day 1: London - Glasgow

Glasgow Travel Blog

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If you understood my fascination with Irn-Bru, you'd appreciate the greatness of this photo. :]
Me and my friend, Jena, were off on a 4-day jaunt to Scotland recently.  Probably not the bits of Scotland that any normal, sane person would be inclined to go to, but Scotland nonetheless.  It was an entirely silly trip, but I've tried to avoid too much inside jokey-ness to this post. 

This business all starts on Wednesday morning at the obscene hour of 5.00am (despite not getting in from a concert until 12.00, and not going to sleep until nearly 3.00)  By 6.00am though, me and Jena were packed up and out the front door....Where we took 3 steps, and hailed a cab....'cause heck if we were even going to attempt to manage the Tube whilst half-conscious and with no caffeine in our system.  Plus, it was to be Jena's first Black Cab ride, so she was very excited.

Got to Euston Station about 20 mins later, bought ginormous cups of coffee, and boarded our uber-comfy train for the 5-and-a-half hour journey up to Glasgow.
Inside Glasgow Cathedral
  Not too much to report on regarding said train ride.  The scenery once we escaped London was really pretty, though it was super super super misty.  There was also an obnoxious heater next to our window which pretty much slow-roasted both our calfs for five hours.  Oh, the best bit of the train ride though was this clearly insane older guy who flipped out about half-way through the journey because <strike>he thought</strike> 'somebody pinched [his] f****** wallet!'  It brought the laughs for us, especially after he blamed the Suit in the seat in front of him for stealing it....thus causing the police boarded the train a couple stations later....and further causing him to become so frazzled that he took out a cigarette and just sat with it hanging (unlit) out of his mouth for 2 hours while mumbling about the 'f***** who pinched [his] wallet'.
Glasgow Cathedral and Infirmiry
  (Ok, so clearly there was stuff to report on regarding said train ride.  Mostly we just giggled the whole way though.)

Train arrived at Central Station just past noon, and we emerged into the crisp, fresh, odourous air of modern post-industrial Glasgow.  It was glorious.  So we set out up the main street, withdrew some Scottish £'s (!), and dodged old-people all the way out to our B&B (lots of old people in Scotland, yo).

Right, so....Glasgow.  Not the prettiest city in the UK, I'm sure.  It's built on some pretty ridiculous hills too.  And yeah, the people were pretty hard to understand (though I did only have to go 'What?  What?  Umm...what?' once the entire time, which made me proud (of myself)).
Glasgow Necropolis. Sure it sounds creepy, but it offered some amazing views.
  Historically though, it's a pretty working-class town, which is cool, because what it lacks in pretty, it definitely made up for in gritty character.  Not that I have any pictures to prove this point, so you'll just have to take my word.  :]

Our B&B however, was amazingly nice (considering the £20 we were paying for it).  Unfortunately, we couldn't check-in to it until 3.00, so when we finally got there, we just dropped our bags off at the secure luggage facilties at reception (ie, we put them behind a sofa in the lounge), and headed out to explore and eat lunch.  

We ended up at this cafe called 'Where the Monkey Sleeps'.  It.was.brilliant.  (And honestly, how do you pass up anything with a name like that?)  It was this tiny, grungy, very art-schooly, 90s-alt-rocky, hole-in-the-wall sort of place though, and it was crowded with giant sofas and dark alcoves and it smelt of coffee and goat's cheese and it was amazing.  I think we were sold on it when we saw both a man in a business suit <i>and</i> some skateboarder punk both standing outside it when we walked up.  The place was way too cool for either of us to whip out our cameras and start taking pics though, so we just ordered some funky, tasty paninis, found an empty couch, and soaked it all up. 

From WTMS, we headed across town, trying our best to blend in like locals the whole way (It worked too.  People even asked us for directions, and Jena put on a fake accent, and no one even knew we were American tourists!  haha!)  

We ended up in a bit of town known as Merchant City, which is apparently this entirely renovated area with a crazy crowded and posh High Street.  Being the locals that we were though, we skipped the souveneir shop and went into the Boots for pharmacutical products.  (Though we did attempt to locate the source of an elusive bagpiper we could hear of in the distance, but it was all to no avail)

From the Boots, we wandered some more until we ended up at some big open square in front of the City Hall (?).  If there's one thing Scotland excels at, it's having an excessive number of benches available for sitting.  So we put the citizen's tax money to good use and parked our bums to pigeon/people-watch for a bit.

Ok, let me tell you: The pigeons in Glasgow are rough looking.  I've never seen such a motley-looking crew of birds in my life.   It's like the lot of them had been out binge-drinking the night before, and were still hung-over and un-showered and out looking for a kebab shop or something.  No lie, one of the pigeons even had a mohawk.  Most of them were also deformed in one way or another too....missing legs, warty heads, bent wings, you name it.  They were messed.up.  But they did amuse us, and thus we sat and watched.

Actually, more than anything, the people trying to play with the pigeons amused us most.  The little girl next to us who was feeding them was one thing....though at one point she ran into the crowd of them and stepped right on one!  Perhaps more amusing though, were the group of creepy man tourists on the other side of the square who kept trying to catch a pigeon in mid-air and hold them in their hands!  What is wrong with people????  Seriously.  Even creepier was when one of the said creepy man-tourists came over to us and asked me to take a picture of him on the ground with the pigeons, and then asked if he could take a picture of ME!  !!!, I'm good, thanks.

Next it was off to one of Glasgow's biggest tourist attractions: The Cathedral.  (And when I say 'biggest tourist attraction', I mean that we were probably the only people there)  The Cathedral dates from the 1100s and is supposedly the oldest one to have survived in all of Scotland.  So we walked over to it.  We even went inside it.  We even took pictures of it.  But in the end, it was exactly like Every.Other.Cathedral.In.Europe.  *sigh*  If there's one thing I've grown sick of rather quickly, it's medieval cathedrals.

It also had a statue of Dr Livingstone, which prompted "We presume" jokes for a good, oh, 5 minutes.
But mostly it was just okay.
So we left.  And that's when we noticed a sign for The Glasgow Necropolis!

Holy.nerdiness, batman! 

So we walked up to it and spent a good hour or so just hanging out, exploring, and being generally silly.

After a while we decided that it probably wasn't good to mess with the dead for too long, so we hiked back down the Necropolis-y hill and headed back to our B&B to check-in properly.

Our room, once we got in, was super cute!  Nothing fancy, but it had a TV and free tea, and an ensuite, and a bible, and even lipstick, so we were basically set for life.  It was like 5.00 or something at the time, so we just chilled for a bit...Jena showered, we made tea, we watched a cooking show on the telley...I may have fallen asleep for a bit.... Who knows.

Sometime later we went back out to brave the streets of Glasgow, and managed to find a nice cozy pub where were able to get dinner.  Cheapest dinner ever, by the way!  We paid for our entire meal what we would normally pay per person in London.  It was incredible.  Luckily, whilst we were eating, a big Scotland/Italy football match came on.  The pub started to get some people in and it looked like it could be a good match, so we traded our dinner plates for pints of Tennent's (well, I did), and stuck around for most of the game.  When it was clear that the Scottish team was getting their ass handed to them on a platter by the Italians though, we said feck it and pulled ourselves up the railing of some ridiculously steep hill to our hotel.

And then we slept...for what felt like the first time in days.

Documama says:
I'm headed to Scotland in June and your writing and notes are just what I need! You write (and apparently travel!) much like I do. Thanks so much for your notes! I will *have* to look for Where the Monkey Sleeps. That sounds too freakin' perfect.

Posted on: Mar 30, 2008
constantquantum says:
Your entries are a lot of fun to read! I love your tone, your period emphasis, and your "interjections". Keep writing... and congrats on the award.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2007
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If you understood my fascination w…
If you understood my fascination …
Inside Glasgow Cathedral
Inside Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral and Infirmiry
Glasgow Cathedral and Infirmiry
Glasgow Necropolis.  Sure it sound…
Glasgow Necropolis. Sure it soun…
Glasgow Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
This place was just full of character! We walked up and a group of men in business suits were sitting next to some skateboarded punk on the bench out … read entire review
Glasgow Hotels & Accommodations review
Bit of a walk from the train station if you don't have a car or don't want to splurge on a taxi, but nothing unbearable. Room was decent and ensuite..… read entire review
photo by: spocklogic