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Published: March 10th 2015
From left to right; the "Armadillo" (auditorium), the Bell's Bridge, and in the background, the Clyde Arc.
The city of Glasgow has brought us many things; famous actors and TV personalities such as Ewan McGregor, Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly, James McAvoy and Gordon Ramsay; famous musicians and bands such as Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Mark Knopfler, Travis and er, Wet Wet Wet; the 2014 Commonwealth Games; and an outstanding contribution to football which includes Celtic and Rangers football clubs, Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Jock Stein and er, David Moyes.
Having gifted the world with such cultural and sporting prowess as well as being the biggest city in Scotland - a city famous for its urban, industrial grit, in contrast to the beautiful, peaceful nature of the Highlands - Glasgow demanded a visit.
Back in Edinburgh, my tour of the Highlands
had come to an end and the group and I were picking up our bags off the bus and saying our goodbyes - apart from Team Taiwan, who seemed to have scrammed faster than Usain Bolt. This is all fine and good, people have things to do, places to go - except that they had mistakenly taken my bag and were nowhere to be found! This was evidenced by the fact that a black bag similar to mine was
Old Sheriff's Court
Another example of impressive architecture in Glasgow.
left behind, the contents of which contained an array of medicines, all with Chinese writing on them. Should have gone to SpecSavers.
Calls were made, voicemails were left and emails were sent - all to no avail. All I could do was wait for them to contact me - I mean, they had to, if they wanted to see their medicines again - it was just a matter of how long it would take them to realise that they'd skived off with the wrong bag.
I was supposed to get to Glasgow that night as that was where I had accommodation - but I couldn't leave without my bag. I was fuming.
In the meantime, a subset of the tour group were all staying in Edinburgh for the night - a fate that I was reluctantly contemplating - and they all decided to meet up for dinner, so I thought I may as well join them.
At the conclusion of dinner, we did a spot of shopping - after all, I now had no clean underwear or toiletries - and had a short stroll through the city before everyone decided to part ways. It was now 9.30pm and I had
The SSE Hydro
Indoor arena down at the Clyde Waterfront.
still not heard from Team Taiwan. I had no place to stay in Edinburgh if it came to it, so I thought I'd better find one.
Walking from hostel to hostel all over town in the cold and rain, it seemed that every single bed in Edinburgh was taken that night. It looked like I would have to start trying hotels and incur an inconveniently hefty and unnecessary expense. I was livid.
I was just about to walk into my first hotel when I finally got the call. The youngest lady of Team Taiwan who was studying in London and could speak English, apologised for the mistake and we arranged a meet up outside the train station. After another thirty minutes of waiting around, she finally shows up. I wasn't impressed and wasn't exactly friendly when she showed up - she sensed it and with a "sorry", a "thank you" and a "goodbye", we swapped bags and she was off. No attempt to try and smooth things over given the inconvenience she had put me through, which was the least I was expecting.
I then caught the last train to Glasgow after another hour of waiting around. By the time
I had arrived, it was absolutely pissing down - this ruled out a walk to the hostel and I was in no mood to try and decipher the Glasgow buses, so I waited for a taxi - along with about a hundred other people at the taxi rank. After another thirty minute wait, I was finally on my way and arrived at my hostel at 1.30am, tired and downright grumpy. Have you ever then tried putting sheets on a top bunk mattress, a duvet into a duvet cover, a pillow into a pillow case, in the dark and without making a noise in a dormitory of old, loud, snoring, coughing men? Damn you Team Taiwan!!
The next day, I got going with a short walking tour of the sights, the most impressive of which is the surprisingly large cathedral - the rather average Provand's Lordship right opposite was the most disappointing. Walking through the old town, I found many of the buildings stately and elegant, including the old Sheriff Court and the town hall, at which the friendly staff inside let me have a little look around its opulent interior.
I then made my way to Celtic Park to
Glasgow's Gallery Of Modern Hat. Note the traffic cone placed ceremoniously upon the statue of the Duke of Wellington - initially a prank, the cone has now become a fixture since the 1980s.
catch a bit of fitba
A famous club with a proud history, Celtic Football Club are one half of the Old Firm
which along with Rangers, are Scotland's two biggest clubs. European champions in 1967, the club has pedigree too and are one of the most recognised clubs worldwide. Celtic Park, where they play their home matches, befits the club's size with a capacity of 60,000 spectators.
It just so happened that they were playing a Scottish Premier League match against Dundee today - so as a football fan, it would have been rude not to go along!
With Rangers not currently in the SPL, Celtic have been able to win the league pretty comfortably for the last couple of seasons - with not a lot of competition for the title, interest has waned somewhat, so I was able to simply rock up to the stadium before kick-off and get a ticket. The impressive stadium was far from a sell out.
With Celtic expected to walk the title this season, the fans in turn expect their team to steamroller the opposition, especially at home. Therefore the atmosphere wasn't great, what with a half-empty stadium and the supporters being very hard
Celtic's home can hold up to 60,000 supporters.
on their own team. It wasn't a great performance from Celtic and the fans let them know it. Celtic's best player would have been the Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk - good on the ball and with good turn of pace, he reminded me of David Luiz with his occasional reckless raids forward. The home team somewhat scraped it 2-1 in the end and Dundee were unlucky not to get something from the game. On loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti scored what turned out to be the winner.
I then went from watching football in a stadium to watching football in a pub, in the somewhat gentrified Merchant Square - my team Manchester United taking out Arsenal 2-1 in what was a highly satisfactory result that put me in a good mood for the night ahead...
A night that I would be spending with Elly and Jacinta, two Aussie girls who were on my Highlands tour. They had just arrived from Edinburgh and with nothing really doing, we all thought it'd be a good idea to hang out for a few drinks.
After some food and a couple of drinks at a large, standard, Wetherspoons-like city pub, things
took a turn for the wild once we got to Sauchiehall Street, the main nightlife stretch in Glasgow.
First stop was a tequila bar where we each drank some margaritas - well, Elly and I were drinking them; Jacinta was inhaling
them. All tour, Jacinta was the shy, quiet one but here I was seeing a whole other side to her! It's always the quiet ones you gotta look out for. It was here also that I introduced the girls to the deliciousness known as coffee Patron.
Next stop was a cool, grungy bar called Nice N Sleazy - with a name like that, how could we not go in?
Having been drinking since I got to the Celtic game, I was already half-cut when I met up with the girls - therefore, a couple more pints, a margarita, and a couple of tequila shots later, it was party time
. This was now officially a party
Sauchiehall Street is home to several student night spots including the biggest nightclub in Scotland, The Garage, which is where the party
moved to next. Reflecting on a night out objectively is an exercise in futility, but I'm gonna do it anyway. I had
The largest nightclub in Scotland.
a great time. And when you're having a great time, you see everything through rose-tinted glasses. I was impressed by The Garage - it was huge and had 3-4 different rooms that each played a different genre of music. Add alcohol to this and it is pretty easy to lose people in there. When we weren't stumbling around looking for each other, we mainly stayed on the main floor which played top-40 club bangers. The size and style of the place had shades of Kapital and Razzmatazz about it, superclubs I visited in Madrid
Once outside of the club, we got to see Glasgow's Saturday night carnage in all its glory. I still can't understand how hardy these Scots are - here I was in my thick coat and contemplating putting on my gloves, when all around me were girls in short skirts and lads were in polo shirts. Elly says it's like being on an episode of Geordie Shore and indeed it resembled scenes I had witnessed on nights out in both Liverpool
, and Newcastle
itself. Good times.
Now I've tried many a reputed hangover cure in my time (Scots will tell you to drink
Glasgow's main pedestrianised shopping thoroughfare.
) including a stroll through the park on a cold, crisp, sunny winter's morning, and it was this particular cure that I thought I'd try out as I walked through the lush surrounds of Kelvingrove Park, which was adjacent to the leafy, affluent area that my hostel was located within. I made my way past the joggers and dog-walkers to the Gothic splendour of the University Of Glasgow, where I attempted to take my mind off my hangover by visiting the Hunterian Art Gallery.
I then made my way down to the old docks on the River Clyde, once the heart of the city's flourishing shipbuilding industry but is now home to a slew of contemporary, avant-garde buildings that provided a backdrop to this year's Commonwealth Games. My time in Glasgow was then brought to an end with a visit to the extremely interesting Riverside Museum Of Transport & Travel, which displayed a fascinating collection of nostalgic planes, trains and automobiles. By now, my legs were absolutely dead.
There are many cities around the world that are fantastic for the tourist - scenic cities such as Rio de Janeiro
that are beautiful and have lots of things to see and do
I was surprised and impressed by some of the stately and regal architecture in Glasgow's city centre.
- and there are some that eschew a scenic façade and whose treasures lie on the inside; I very much place Glasgow in the second category, as there is vibrancy about the city that didn't seem as prevalent in Edinburgh. Glasgow felt more 'real' and authentic as opposed to Edinburgh, which with all its tourists, felt like a gimmick. I think I preferred Glasgow over Edinburgh, much like I preferred Porto over Lisbon
in Portugal. In saying all that, Glasgow still had a lot of pretty bits.
With that, I think that it is a fitting thought on which to conclude my last trip undertaken as a London resident. By popular demand though, I will write one more entry to bring down the curtain on seven years of travel from London. So until then...
See ye efter,
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