I made another horrible mistake while travelling.
I let others’ opinions dictate my itinerary, going against what I initially wanted. So I crammed Glasgow into a last-minute day trip from Edinburgh (giving me only 12.5 hours in the city since I had to take the train back tonight). Fool of a Took.
As per usual, I ended up falling in love with Glasgow. It’s a beautiful city, and I should have done about 3 days in Edinburgh and 3 days in Glasgow, rather than all my time in Edinburgh. While I’ll always like Edinburgh more, this city (being the 2nd largest in the UK) is also magical. All I was going off was everyone’s collective opinion that it was an industrial city with more grunge and dirtiness to it – and I knew that Billy Boyd (Pippin) hailed from Glasgow. I didn’t really expect to love it, but as always, I did – because it had a massive, beautiful river, along with about five stunning bridges, a billion vast green spaces for parks and gardens, tons of free museums and lots of varieties of food. And though I don’t like shopping, the wide streets of designer shops, antique shops, and everything in between was a bit overwhelming – definitely enough to keep one preoccupied for a couple days alone.
I’d describe Glasgow as the Sydney of Scotland. It might not have a sparkling waterfront like Sydney, but it has its own gems and lovely areas to explore.
It’s been a month since I’ve been in the UK, and I’ve observed how almost everything in each city is similar (the towns and villages are a wee different, which is nice). Every main city, whether in England or Scotland, has a High St., Queen St., etc… and the names of areas (I.e. Waterloo) are also exactly the same. It just gets confusing when you see Nelson’s Monument in Edinburgh… only to realise that Glasgow also has a monument with the same name, so you sometimes don’t remember if you’ve seen it in both cities or just one. Everything is blending together in my mind, and I forget even which place I’ve been in on what date.
I had to hit the ground running as soon as my train got in at 8:30am. My first impression of Glasgow was that Central Station was amazing. While similar to some of London’s stations, it also had a hotel and cafe that paralleled architecture in Harry Potter/Diagon Alley, which is why I probably loved it.
It was mass chaos when I exited the station and onto the street with the hoards of people running to work (especially since it’s a Friday).
The buildings took my breath away. I felt like a little dot compared to these buildings, maybe even smaller than how I felt in London. The sculptures and fancy creatures, figures, etc. on each building were so amazing. I honestly didn’t know how to even angle my photos to capture everything because it was all just a sight that you can only describe by being there in person.
The streets were so wide and there were so many people everywhere. The only problem was that I kept staring up at the buildings in awe, trying to take photos, and probably annoyed all the people rushing to work and trying to run around me.
Like Edinburgh, all of Glasgow’s museums are free. There was no way I’d be able to fit in all of them in a day, so I just went to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and The People’s Palace & Winter Garden. I was bummed to miss out on Riverside Museum – I neeeed to come back.
The Kelvingrove Art Galley & Museum was recommended by a lovely lady in a shop whom I asked for advice as soon as I got off the train. The exhibits were marvellous, and I also squeezed in a walk of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens (free and open to the public! Usually you have to pay for all gardens). The greenhouses were huge, and much like Melbourne, the gardens were absolutely massive and had so many beautiful plants and history.
Princes Square Arcade was my favourite building. It had stunning designs of a peacock and intertwining vines spread throughout the length of the windows – and at night, everything was lit up and looked magical. It had three floors of boutique stores and high-end dining – even a -1 floor for the toilets (HAHA, never seen a negative floor before).
River Clyde is gorgeous, as is Clyde Arc. I went photo crazy again with all the bridges (Millennium Bridge, Bells Bridge, Kingston (don’t remember the name) Bridge, James V Bridge (prob still the wrong name)) and walked along the riverfront from end to end, just because it’s what I always do. I can’t stay away from water. It really bums me out that our city centres in California don’t have long rivers and bridges to the extent of Australia and the UK.
And ohhhhhhh, the conference center looks like the Sydney Opera House. And the SSE Hydro is an amazingly beautiful event venue next door. There’s so much stuff to look at!
I could live in that university forever- it was that stunning. The Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery inside the university is also magnificent, even down to the Victorian staircase and beautiful exhibition areas. Why is everything so dazzling here?! It’s going to make my stay back home again so DULL.
Most of the holiday lights were left up around the city as well- and the rows of lights hung throughout the width of all the streets (no joke) throughout Merchant City and Gordon St. were spectacular.
Glasgow Cathedral was also some of the inspiration for Harry Potter, and you can easily see why once you step inside. It’s absolutely exquisite – probably the nicest cathedral I’ve seen thus far. The vaulted ceilings never seem to end, and the massive organs on the sides add to its beauty. I quite liked how they had St. Mungo’s Tomb downstairs as well – easily the place where J.K. Rowling got the name for the loonybin hospital in the books. Although I’m not sure if I was even supposed to go down there since they put up “NO ADMITTANCE” signs directly after I came out. Worth it.
None of these posts have decent photos because I’m unable to connect my camera at the minute, though. Sad times. Just imagine the beauty of Glasgow here. I wish I could pour out more about my love of Glasgow but I’m exhausted.
I’m absolutely shattered because all this 12+ hrs of continuous walking and/or hiking every single day without hardly ever sitting down (other than trains and buses) is killing me. But it’s always worth it – oh, the memories!