Summer holidays – Glasgow

A few months ago, during a Skype conversation with my parents, they asked me if I had plans for summer. Other than lesson planning and Chinese lessons, I told them I did not. They then asked whether I would like to join them going somewhere for the week? I said sure, and later found out the location would be Glasgow, Scotland. So here is the account (very belated – we went in July; apologies for the delay)…

Arriving late on Saturday afternoon, after my Chinese lesson was over, we arrived to find the lift out of order, and our rental apartment was on the top – fourth – floor of the building, with 90 steps. The apartment itself, however, was very nice, modern with everything we could possibly need (including a free can of Irn-Bru). The apartment itself was pretty much in the city centre, so the location was good too.

After dumping our stuff, we decided to venture out in the evening sunshine and have an explore. We went to a local restaurant for food, and then turned in.

Across from the apartment building, was a former church hall, was used for weddings, and on that Saturday night there was a wedding celebration. A rather noisy wedding celebration, late into the night. The way the apartment was structured, the windows were all in the roof, and with the warm weather, we kept the windows open, so some of the noise from the wedding party goers could be heard. As well as drunken revellers, there were also some quite noisy seagulls!

Sunday morning was cloudy and wet and we went to the People’s Palace and Gardens, a museum in a park in the city. The museum itself was quite interesting, telling the story of the city. After this, we took the subway back to the city centre, as the rain began to fall, and had lunch in a local café. Then we went to the city’s art gallery, before pottering through the shops and bought something to make for tea and headed back.

Day three, today we went to the Riverside Museum (which is mostly full of old-fashioned transportation from various places). Outside the museum, there was a tall ship which we also were able to go on. The museum was quite busy, and there were many different kinds of vehicles as well as street scenes from different periods of city life.

Following this, we took the subway to the Kelvingrove, had some lunch in the café there, and then wandered around. Following this, we went to Marks and Spencer, got some food and returned to the apartment for the evening.

On the fourth day of our visit to the city, we went to the cathedral in the morning, where there was a display of Lego structures, including the Great Wall of China. The weather was mixed – not particularly wet, but cloudy. We then went back to the apartment for lunch, stopping at the church outside the apartment building, to look inside. It is no longer a functioning church (this was where the wedding celebration was held on the Saturday night, which kept us awake). The inside was based on St Martin’s in the Field, in London.

In the afternoon, with the weather somewhat improving, we walked to the Science museum. This was next to the BBC Scotland building, by the river. It was not free, but probably worth the money. We enjoyed it a lot. The museum has many practical exhibitions in it, across the floors. We also watched a show about science experiments, which was quite interesting.

Day five’s weather was good. We set off to the Falkirk Wheel, which connects two canals, replacing locks which were previously there. Whilst we were there, we saw a barge using the wheel, demonstrating how it works. The barge approaches the wheel and enters a sort-of pen. Then, the wheel moves about 180o and joins the other canal. The pen is opened and the barge moves away. Also nearby the wheel are the remnants of the Antonine Wall. This was the Roman wall built during the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius. Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall is not made of stone, but earth.

Following this, we visited the Kelpies – large horse sculptures – nearby Falkirk, which were impressive, before going into Falkirk itself and having lunch. We happened upon Asda, and bought something for tea later, as well as visiting some of the stores that Falkirk had to offer.

Day six saw beautiful weather, and us visiting Loch Lomond. We walked around the shore front, taking in the view, and then wandered around the (very small) village nearby. Then, we hopped into the car and went to a nearby seaside town, Helenburgh, before having lunch in Dumbarton. We visited Stirling briefly, on the way back, before arriving back in Glasgow in the early evening.

Day seven – Friday (our last full day in the city) – was wet, so we decided to do the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow. This is the oldest museum in Scotland, and included a myriad of items, including Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall, and scientific equipment and items associated with various scientists at the University, such as Lord Kelvin. Lunch was eaten on the university campus, before we looked in the art gallery (part of the museum), and then went to the Tenement House. This is a Scottish National Trust property. The building was largely unchanged since the early twentieth century. There was one floor with four rooms – a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom.

Following this, and a walk through the city centre, we returned to the apartment for our final night. The following morning we departed.

Overall, the holiday was quite good. The weather, for the most part, stayed fine. There were a couple of rainy days, as the photos reflect, and some overcast weather, but it was relatively warm and sunny mostly. We got to see a lot of things and had a variety of places to visit. It was nice to relax for a while too.

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