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Published: October 20th 2019
Glasgow Central Station
Grand feel to an updated traditional station
I am on the train (14:40) to Liverpool after three hours in Glasgow
wandering up and down the imposing streets in the city centre. The huge sandstone Victorian buildings speak to the wealth of the Glasgow merchants who made the city a financial hub. Even now, bigger than Edinburgh, it also looks more prosperous – no premises for rent or charity shops in high rent districts.
This morning, one last time I sat on the #11 bus watching the bungalows of Buckstone turn over to the attached Victorian residences of the inner city and then to the monumental buildings of Princes Street. Walking to Waverley Station was simple, because of scoping it out yesterday, and because I left in time not to rush. I got on the train, which was almost empty and wrote travel notes for most of the 55-minute journey to Glasgow. One of the few problems in taking the train is that the route is bordered by trees, often dug down into hills and through tunnels – no scenery.
At Queen’s Street station
in Glasgow, I confirmed with a ticket vendor that I had to change stations and asked for directions. His reply was crisp and accurate. At Central Station
I asked another ticket vendor if there was a luggage store. After lifting my bag onto the conveyor, I asked about places to see and took advantage of their tourist map. Three hours storage cost six pounds, which covered most of my time in the city. I took a few pictures of the station’s dark woodwork and sandstone features.
Outside, I turned right and almost immediately found Buchanan Street
, a long, pedestrianized area lined with modern shops in highly-decorated mostly nineteenth century stone buildings. My camera and I worked our way down to one end, where a modern mall was inside an old facade. The good thing about modern malls is that they have washrooms. Then my camera and I worked our way back up the street, concentrating on the buildings on the other side. While not wanting to complain about the sun shining, it did cause poor lighting conditions, except when covered by puffy white clouds.
My idea was to waste no time eating lunch until on the train again, but my energy faded away as I reached the top of Buchanan Street. A convenient Sainsbury’s yielded an egg salad sandwich, a bottle of orange juice, and oatcakes,
St Enoch Square 1896
Now an subway station
which I had eaten only once during my stay in Scotland. Like others, I sat on the steps of the National Concert Hall
and enjoyed the nearby busker.
With just over an hour left, I checked the map for sights away from the shopping precinct. City Hall
attracted me, so with only a couple of missteps, I found my way to George Square
, where a symphonic concert was playing under a festival tent. Here was the celebratory centre of the European Championships
being hosted by Glasgow. Thus, the magnificent City Hall was mostly obscured; it looked like a sugar-plum fairy castle in dark sandstone. The soaring turrets were almost lacy, and the building extended the whole block. I asked a security guard about it, and he extolled its wonders, mentioning beautiful banquet rooms. Unfortunately (his word), it was closed because of being the headquarters for the Games. He was disappointed to hear that I had only one hour remaining, not several days. He suggested a fifteen minutes walk to the Cathedral and its historic graveyard. I walked some distance in the way he suggested and discovered the University of Strathclyde
. On the way back to the Station, I discovered several more interesting buildings, including the gigantic
Greek-revival Public Library (not a minute to go inside). Panicky slightly because of the time, I consulted the map and walked quickly to Central Station. With my bag in hand, I consulted the train board, waited a bit, and found my reserved seat with no problems.
The countryside flattened and widened as we moved south. The green and gold fields of Scotland were here only green, but I couldn’t tell if there had been a change in the crops. Lots of sheep and black and white cows.
Where I needed to change trains at the Wigan North Western station, I got off the first train, saw on the departures board that the train to Liverpool should come on the same platform, was corrected by a nearby guard, took the lift down and then up to get to Platform 6, and immediately got on the train there. We didn’t leave on time, so there was actually plenty of time. Easy trip to arrive in Liverpool about 6:20. View map.
At the information desk in the overwhelming Lime Street station, I asked to be pointed in the right direction for my hotel; the fellow produced his own map to replace
my Google one, and told me to go out the front door, walk behind the bus station “just there”, find my way to Victoria Street, and it would be simple after that. These loose directions fortunately worked well, although I did ask for confirmation from guard outside the bus station.
Liverpool offered the same gigantism as the two Scottish cities, in a cacophony of old and new styles. Part of the feeling of gigantism is that many huge buildings have no fore-court; they are built directly on the street, requiring the viewer to look steeply up - very hard to photograph with any attractive perspective. Compared to the two festival cities, particularly Edinburgh, the streets seem almost deserted – there might be ten feet between pedestrians!
Now settled in at the Zed Hotel (7:30), I have walked on the streets in Liverpool feeling that this day has been a whirlwind. My hotel appeared just where it was supposed to, and as I thought, it is a converted 1970s office building. My room is clean and utilitarian in a modern design, as expected. The Zed Hotel lobby seemed to be a bar, but in fact it was the locale
Zed Hotel room
Welcome refuge at the end of a long day
of their free glass of wine for every guest! Also, it is the reception and breakfast room. After a short rest, I found the energy to have my free large glass of wine with nibbles. I really didn’t feel like eating in a restaurant or pub, so for the third day I bought takeout: sausage, chips, hard Yorkshire peas, covered in curry sauce. Not nutritious, but tasty while it was hot. Need to sleep!
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