Said goodbye to the girls and boarded the bus to Glasgow
. Fully aware of the completely booked hostels both in Glasgow as well as Belfast
, I booked ticket to Belfast as soon as I got to Glasgow. Then, upon thinking about it, I realized I would be landing in a foreign city at 10:30pm at night with absolutely no idea of where to go, much less stay the night. I took my chances and delayed the ticket to tomorrow afternoon, giving me one night and day in Glasgow in which to find accomodations. Plus, it's a Saturday, and the nightlife in Glasgow is supposedly good. Who knows, maybe I could hook up with some guy or girl and let me stay on their couch for the night. (But with the size of my backpack making me look like a hunchback, the hope quickly faded). Set out on foot into the city of Glasgow.
The heaviness of the backpack hasn't really set in up until today. After realizing ALL accomodations are ALL the way across town from the central downtown area where I arrived, the backpack got even heavier. Up until now it's usually been a very short walk, seeing as how I've stayed pretty close to the town center or the nearest Tube stop. Bed and breakfast advertised a single for £28, thought about it for all of 3 seconds, then passed and kept on going. After wandering around with just a small map on my guidebook for an hour, I found a HI hostel and inquired if they had any cancelations. Bingo! 6-bed ensuite for £18. I thought about it for all of 0.24 seconds, then slapped the money on the table, practically jumping over the counter to hug the guy.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding a place to stay after worrying about it for the better part of a day or two. A 6-bed ensuite (three bunk beds and a bathroom in-unit for you psych majors) is a major step up for me, considering my first day I spent the night in a 28-bed all-male room with one bathroom ;) I guess it's ok to splurge once in a while, right? (Not that I had much choice. Phew!) Luxury living for £18 a night. I'll take it!
The SYHA hostel is situated right on top of the Kelvingrove Park, and this made it a wonderful starting point to go visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I'm not lying when I say it was one of the best museums I've been to in a long time (maybe ever). Well-presented, well-executed, a huge collection, great pieces, it had it all. I think the highlight was Dali's Christ of St. John's Cross, which I think single-handedly inspired a great deal of other pieces. A self-portrait of Van Gogh was great, too. I'll be seeing a bunch more of his stuff in Amsterdam. Picasso, Rembrandt, and Boticelli, and Rafael made some appearances, too.
Glasgow University looks like an Oxford or a Cambridge: it's ancient Gothic spires and Halls make you feel like a scholar the moment
you step foot on the grounds. Despite finals week, the place was absolutely empty after 4pm. I remember my finals week a couple weeks ago, and I can assure you, this was NOT the case at Boise State ;)
The university area intersects with Byres street, which is a student hub of pubs, pubs, take-outs, and restaurants. I (finally gave in and) had some haggis at the local cafe, and all I can say is: why? I've heard the food in Britain is bad, but with the British Empire once consuming 1/3 of the known world, couldn't you have gotten some IDEAS? (sigh). The Scottish Football championship was on tonight, and I passed at least one bar full of drunken revelers in team colors. I passed. Too much singing. ;)
Byres Street was bustling on a Saturday, so I went to a bar that had 'no team colors allowed' on the front door. ;)
UPDATE: (this was the first entry I put in here)
I'm in a cafe in Glasgow, Scotland for the moment, it's kinda on-again-off-again sprinkling, and I'm waiting for the bus/ferry combo to take me to Belfast, Northern Ireland in a couple hours. Just arrived from Edinburgh. I'm taking the fast ferry across the Irish Sea on a ultra-fast Stena SS ferry, and it only takes 105 minutes. £20 one way, not too bad ;)
Scotland is everything you could imagine. Edinburgh is simply amazing (Glasgow is like the bastard jealous brother). I have one memory card already full of pics and videos that I can't upload, it's a royal pain in the ass with these computers ;) Prince William stayed in the Holyrood house (the royal residence here in Scotland) just down the royal mile from the hostel, and some people even got to see him. I frankly didn't care all that much.
I ran up a volcano yesterday, too. Arthur's Seat is the "mountain" overlooking Edinburgh, made from an extinct volcano. It said it was only 830 m high, so I strapped on my running shoes and (barely) made it to the top. I thought it would be like going up Tablerock in Boise. Big mistake. I found out later it was 2700 feet high! Almost like running up Bogus basin, I think. ;)
Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I visited a Scottish-American memorial grave yesterday with a statue of Abe Lincoln, I thought it was fitting.
I met some really cool people in the hostel in Edinburgh, and we all exchanged emails and we'll be contacting soon. It's so much nicer when you have a group to go and do stuff with.
Ok, onto my lunch and then the busy/ferry combo to Belfast. Weeee!