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NoClockThing
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 Posted: Wed Oct 24th, 2007 04:22 am

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Day 4 - A Taste of Mackintosh
20 August 2007

weather: sunny with clouds


After Breakfast we lay out our plans for the day and walk towards the town. It is slow going, since there’s always too much to see when you’re in a new city. We walk down Sauchiehall Street and take a right turn towards the Mitchell Library, where we have a nice little chat with the guard. Our enjoyment of the building’s façade is only slightly curbed by the omnipresent noise of the M8.


The Mitchell Library, Glasgow


After a few more twists and turns, we climb a steep street and end up at the Glasgow School of Art, which was built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a local turn of the century architect. He did the interior design as well, together with his wife Margaret MacDonald. We sit down on a flight of stairs on the other side of the street and just enjoy the building. After a while, we decide to have a look inside. The plaques on the doors say In – Art and Out – School. We hit the gift shop next and gorge ourselves on the post cards.
 

Glasgow School of Art


Since we’re hungry for lunch, we decide to return later for the tour and go down Sauchiehall Street to have a look at the Willow Tea Rooms. The big room has been turned into a Jeweller’s shop, but they reinstated the gallery and the comfort room. Our travel guide advised us to get a reservation, but we’re lucky and there’s a free table – right beside the cake display! One cake looks tastier than the next, and we feel our girths expanding just looking at them.


Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow


The balustrade, ceiling, walls and chairs are all Mackintosh, and as we find later, even the bathroom doors have little tiny blue glass panes in them. And when I say blue I mean blue. There are skylights set in the ceiling all around, so everybody can enjoy the sunlight. The space is pretty cramped and we’re amazed now the waitresses manage not to bump into anything! We enjoy a salad lunch before we hit the cake and tea. The piece I choose turns out to be layered short bread, fudge, and milk chocolate. Pure lethal bliss!


Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow


After Lunch, we take a little random stroll before we take the 4pm tour of the School of Art. While we’re waiting, I notice a group of Portuguese who are thrilled to run into somebody who speaks their language in Glasgow of all places! Our guide arrives, and even after having been asked to slow down she talks pretty fast, so I can just barely get what she’s saying.


Renfrew Street, Glasgow


The first room we visit is a high-ceilinged studio space around the top of the staircase, with natural light filtering through the roof. It has square heating vents in the ceiling, and you can see a Japanese influence in their design. There’s little carved details on the roof beams, like you find on any piece of wood designed by Mackintosh. The school was built in two steps, because Mackintosh exceeded his budget and it took them some years to raise the remaining funds.

In the new wing, the staircases are built of concrete rather than wood. Only part of the concrete is whitewashed, so the walls are partitioned in a wavy shape that runs alongside the stairs. There are coloured tiles set into the walls; no two arrangements are the same. The higher we climb, the lower the rooms get, until we reach the crypt in the attic. It feels like going down instead of up. Mackintosh was a master of playing with light and shadow.

Finally, we reach the library with the famous three storey windows. The room has dark wooden structures reaching down from the ceiling, and it is full of carvings, each of them different from the other. The intention was to make the room feel like a forest, and it succeeds very well. We actually contemplate hiding and letting them lock us in – too bad there isn’t a bathroom attached! Also, it is not permitted to take pictures.


Douglas Street, Glasgow


After a second round through the gift shop, we walk down to George Square, which is situated between Queen Street Railway Station and the City Chambers. We sit down on a bench for an hour and bask in the Afternoon sunlight, until the sun starts to pass behind the buildings around 7pm. I go to inspect the bathrooms at the station and I notice the bilingual sign. It’s the station that services the Highland lines, so I guess that’s why they went to the trouble of adding the Gaelic. You don’t normally see bilingual signs around Glasgow, not even English – Scots.


Bilingual signs at Queen Street Station, Glasgow


As we decide to head back, we first take a little detour past the Glasgow City Chambers to take some pictures from outside. We then walk to Ingram Street and have a not so quick peek at the Corinthian, before we pass by the Museum of Modern Art and the Central Station. There is so much to see and snap pictures of that it takes us two hours to make our way home!


The Corinthian, Ingram Street, Glasgow


After a quick change we’re off to Mother India for an excellent albeit far too late and huge supper. I accidentally order an extra bowl of rice for my friend, which turns out to be fortunate, since she enjoys it. The waitress thanks us every time she brings some food or clears part of the table. This is a level of friendliness we’re not accustomed to, and I totally enjoy it.


Glasgow Central Station

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 Posted: Wed Oct 24th, 2007 06:31 am

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That's too bad they wouldn't let you take pictures of the library, it sounds like an amazing room. I really liked the different variations of blues in the glass in that one door. Sounds like you had a good time!



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 Posted: Wed Oct 24th, 2007 07:16 am

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Oh, we did! But I do understand they don't let people take pictures inside and only let you in on a guided tour, since the building is still operating as an art school. And of course they want to sell post cards!



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 Posted: Sun Nov 4th, 2007 07:52 am

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Day 5 - A Feast for the Senses
21 August 2007

weather: sunny with clouds


We decide to cut our way short and take the tube from Kelvinhall to St Enoch. Once we see the train arriving, we understand why it’s called the tube, since it’s small and round at the top and really looks like one. First we go to the Lighthouse, which is another Mackintosh building. The escalators are going up at odd angles and we have a good laugh at the bathroom signs. The building houses a number of art exhibitions, among them a permanent Mackintosh exhibition showcasing all the buildings he designed. After having a look around the exhibition, we take the elevator to the roof, where we have an excellent view across the city.


The Lighthouse, Glasgow


Another exhibition we have a peek at shows future visions of the development of the Central Belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh, comparing the cities’ situation to other pairs of cities like Liverpool and Manchester, Dublin and Belfast, and København and Malmö. There is so much to read we sadly have to cut our visit short, since there are still other things we wish to see that day.


View from The Lighthouse, Glasgow


Across the lane is the Bar 10, where we drop in for a quick cup of excellent coffee. The music is good and not too loud, and we have a view of the Lighthouse’s exhibition poster reflected in the mirror.


Bar 10, Glasgow


Our next stop is the Gallery of Modern Art. As we enter the building, we are amazed at the mirrored walls. Each wall has a different shape of mirrored tiles on them. Behind the entrance hall lie the oval galleries, which we admire both from below and above.


Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow


As we climb the staircase, we peek through the stained glass windows. At the top we have a little chat with the guard. As we tell him that one of the places we plan to go is Greenock, he predictably opines, “What do you want to go there for?” My reply: if we only want pretty pictures, we might as well stay home and buy a catalogue!


Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow


We hurry along to get to the City Chambers before they close – pretty much everything closes as 5pm – and we learn that it is allowed to take pictures, as long as we stay on the ground floor. The wings are a dream of red and white marble, while the entrance hall is kept in darkish, wooden tones.


Hogwarts School... erm... Glasgow City Chambers


Having had our fill of ogling and picture snapping, we head towards the Corinthian for a late lunch. After perusing the menu, I decide to brave the haggis, neeps & tatties. They come covered in an excellent mustard – heaven!


The Lite Bar at the Corinthian, Glasgow


The Lite Bar is not only worth a visit for its cuisine, but also for its cupolaed ceiling and gaudy chandeliers. We take some time to relax and write a couple of postcards, and I decide to brave the next Scottish specialty: Irn Bru. It comes in an orange/blue can, looks just as orange and tastes like a mix of Dr. Pepper, Hubba Bubba and Red Bull. Not bad, but unlike the Haggis an acquired taste for me, since I’m not into sweet drinks really. In spite of being on a specialties rampage, I do forgo the fabled deep-fried Mars bars though – they’re not on the menu anyway.


The Lite Bar at the Corinthian, Glasgow


On our way to a quick shopping trip for some necessities, we pass through the Italian Centre for a look at the architecture. Our business taken care of, we head Southeast towards the Glasgow Green, and we pass by Merchant City again.


Italian Centre, Glasgow


At the Glasgow Green we hang around a disused bridge in red steel, then turn right for a view down the Clyde and the coloured bridge floodlights, which come in blue, red and white. We head up the Clyde and cross the next bridge, which is again a steel bridge, this time painted in red and white, and head back by a stone bridge with carved railing supports, which pretty much leads us back to St Enoch station, where we take the tube to Cowcaddens.


Bridge at Glasgow Green


The plan is to go to a music bar on Sauchiehall Street, then hop back on the tube to cut our walk home short. So, we buy Discovery Tickets, which are cheaper than buying extra single tickets, and you can use them all day. The smart thing would have been to buy them in the morning already. Live and learn. Moreover, we didn’t make our plans with Garnet Hill in mind, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Next thing, we end up on the wrong track, so we have to walk back upstairs, out through the barrier and back down the other side, through the other barrier. No problem, we have Discovery Tickets!


Suspension Bridge, Glasgow


After arriving at Cowcaddens we have a bit of a difficulty finding the right street in the dark, but we manage after only one wrong turn and off we go up Garnet Hill. And up. And up yet another block. Did I mention we had to go uphill? Guess I did. And then of course back down the other side, so we decide then and there that going the rest of the way home by tube won't be the brightest of ideas.


Garnet Street, Glasgow


Our little hill climbing episode successfully completed, we settle down at a corner table at the ‘Nice & Sleazy’ just before the place gets cramped, and we write in our diaries over a Guinness and a Cider. The music is to my taste; they even play some Joy Division.


The M8 along the Mitchell Library, Glasgow


After draining our drinks, we head home through the balmy night air, and our beeline for our beds is only interrupted by the presence of the fat cat, which we can’t resist scratching behind the ears. I nickname him Blob, and it’s not until several days later that we learn his name is actually Flash!

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 Posted: Sun Nov 4th, 2007 08:52 am

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Excellent tale of tourist life in Glasgow. I really like the architectural style of the Glasgow city chambers and the lite bar.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 6th, 2007 05:08 am

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This is great, I love Glasgow.  Glad you tried the Irn Brew -  my dad used to tell us kids that it was "brewed frae girrrders" :D

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2007 06:27 am

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Thanks everyone!

I went to another Runrig concert again this Tuesday and I had an invitation to the Meet & Greet again. Lucky me! I got to chat in Gaelic to Rory again. When I told him I went to Scotland the first time for the Loch Ness concert he seemed genuinely interested and kept asking me questions about where else I went and how come my Gaelic is so good and where I'm learning etc. The questions were coming so fast I could hardly keep up! Too bad it was all over so soon, but I guess we all need our sleep once in a while. The fun I had!:bounce_pinka:

 

Day 6 - Getting Sunburnt in Greenock
22 August 2007

weather: sunny


Over breakfast, we decide that the weather is perfect for an outing, so I call up my Gaelic speaking friend to move our date one day back, and we decide to take the train to Greenock. One of the tube tracks is closed, so we have to take the long way round. On the opposite side sits a German gentleman and we start talking. He has been living in Glasgow for years now and does not feel like returning – he states that he has forgotten how to spell “Lohnsteuerkarte”, which sums it up really. He is just the man we have been looking for, since we will need to find a shop that sells decent bread, which we will need for our lunch packs when we go hiking in the Highlands – meaning something which you cannot squeeze down to half its size one-handed. He leaves us with directions to a German supermarket in Greenock.


The Glasgow Tube


As we buy our train tickets, we ask if we can hop off at Paisley and it is not a problem, except that we miss the stop. At Greenock Station, we sit down on top of the stairs to sort through our maps and shoot some pictures. You can see the Highland hills across the river. A lady shouts at us from below and asks what our plans are. She’s obviously surprised to see tourists in her part of town. She advises us to go up Lyle Hill for the view across the Clyde. However, my travelling companion has already selected Whinhill, which is just behind us and a shorter climb in the heat.


Greenock Station


At Greenock Station, we sit down on top of the stairs to sort through out maps and shoot some pictures. You can see the Highland hills across the river. A lady shouts at us from below and asks what our plans are. She’s obviously surprised to see tourists in her part of town. She advises us to go up Lyle Hill for the view across the Clyde. However, my travelling companion has already selected Whinhill, which is just behind us and a shorter climb in the heat.


Whinhill


We wisely go to buy a bottle of water at a small shop. We spend ages looking at the shelves for something non-flavoured and end up having to ask. Tons of big water bottles can be found – you guessed it – in the first fridge we checked, on the bottom shelf.


Whinhill


Our first try up the hill dead-ends, since we didn’t print out a very detailed map, so we backtrack underneath the damp railway bridge and head up the next available road, through a park. Again, we take a wrong turn and end up having to ask for directions. We go as far up the hill as we can before we are literally bogged down.



Whinhill


The city’s population must have been higher once, since we pass stretches of road without houses lined by derelict streetlights. I decide to cover my head along the way to protect myself from the blistering sun. Too bad I left my sun oil at the B&B, thinking who needs that stuff in Glasgow anyway. Big mistake, since I’m already busily developing a sunburn. The hill affords a view across the container terminal to the left and sky scraping eyesores on the right down across the river to the hills on the other bank.


View from Whinhill


After a little break, we head back down in search of the Esplanade. After having passed the container terminal it’s lunchtime, and we follow a little sign up a side street that leads us to a café. We enjoy mixing with the locals a bit, who again advise we go up Lyle Hill, but one hill in the heat is enough for us. I get the Scottish Breakfast. The waiter puts everything on the tray extra carefully, which is fun to watch.


Container Terminal, Greenock


Our stomachs filled, we continue towards the Esplanade, which isn’t far now. It runs along the Clyde for miles, and we enjoy the view. The railing is painted in blue, except for the parts they’re repainting, and we see the silver protective covering, which they will paint over in blue later. The silver and blue go well together with the blue of the river and the farther hills.


Greenock Esplanade


We stroll down the Esplanade until it ends, then go on to Battery Park, where we stick our feet into the Clyde. A welcome cooling off! We then lay down on the grass for a spell, before we decide to get going lest we fall asleep on the cosy lawn. We ask for directions for the train station, and it turns out that we have walked so far that Gourock is actually closer than Greenock West. The instructions are to follow the bay, but being smarty-pants we just have to follow the main road instead, which leads us above the town centre, and no sign to the station in sight. We stop a couple of joggers who point us down the road towards the town centre – “Just follow it, you cannae miss it” – where we finally espy the wee sign.



Genuine Whinhill Mud


Back in Glasgow, we decide to nip into the Borders bookstore to have a look at the hiking maps. It turns out that our walking guides cover all the areas we need in appropriate scale, so that’s some money saved. We leaf through some of the books with pictures of Scotland in general and of Glasgow in particular. One of them has an aerial photograph of the Park Circus with one of the buildings on fire – an impressive sight.


Gourock


Being hungry, we go to the Buchanan Tea Rooms – a Mackintosh replica – for dinner. The room is hot and stuffy, so we decide not to stay too long. We can’t resist returning to Borders afterwards to have another look at the books, and I find a bilingual book that has been produced for the Highland Year of Culture – Fonn ‘s Duthchas. It has short texts in it and some pictures, perfect for improving my linguistic skills!


Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery


We walk back up Buchanan Street to the supermarket for drinks. I don’t see anything I fancy at the moment, but my friend gets a beer. By the time we reach our B&B and have time to sit down, it is warm.


Dracula's Castle... erm... Glasgow University

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2007 06:50 am

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The University looks eerie at night, what a fun adventure in Scotland. I've love to be able to travel overseas someday.



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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2007 11:49 am

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If you ever need a place to stay in Hamburg, my inflatable mattress is all yours :D



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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2007 12:10 pm

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LOL! I've had several offers over the years to stay at lexxian friends places in Germany. Watch out I may take you up on it some day. ;-)



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 Posted: Mon Feb 4th, 2008 02:46 pm

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Note it was a mattress I offered, not a doll :c030a:

Time for the next installment:

Day 7 - Around the University
23 August 2007

weather: sunny with clouds


Since I have my date with my Gaelic-speaking friend set for the afternoon, we decide to stay in the area. We start off by going to the Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery. Admission is free. We don’t have enough time for a good look at all the exhibitions, since we’re too busy looking at the building itself. After having shot entirely too many pictures, we head North towards the University of Glasgow. We pass through Kelvingrove Park and enjoy the good weather.


Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery


The University is an old building, but before having a look we go to a side street to check out a cosy little café. Unfortunately, all terrace seats are already taken, so we opt for the café in the University’s visitor centre instead. After slaking our thirsts we head towards the Hunterian Museum, which is situated in the University building. The University sits on a hill slope, so you’re never really sure which floor you’re on. At least we keep getting confused.


Otago Street


We pass through an open columned hall that has a feel of an old abbey. The church theme continues as we walk through the museum: oblong rooms with high steel columns and galleries. Stained glass windows all around.


University of Glasgow


We wish to see the Mackintosh House next, and we learn it’s in the Hunterian Art Gallery across the road, so we leave the hallowed halls behind. The Mackintosh House is a recreation of a house Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald lived in. They designed the whole interior themselves. Each room has its own feel, and is a self-contained whole with every detail in place. My favourite room is actually the entrance hall, which is kept in white with shades of dark brown and rushes in the window for the light to play with.

After having visited all the rooms, it’s time for me to go, so we split up. I head towards my Gaelic speaking friend’s place with map in hand, while my friend heads back towards the University grounds and Kelvingrove Park.

It’s always a bit exciting to meet online friends for the first time, since you never really know what to expect. However, after having been greeted with a hearty “Thig a-steach” and being offered tea and ginger biscuits I feel entirely at ease. Although my host does complain about everybody always wanting “normal” tea, what does he have twenty kinds of tea for? I need something to wake me up though, and I keep the interesting tea for later.

After two hours of happily chatting away in Gaelic with some English and German thrown in, I hurry down towards the Gaelic book shop, hoping it would be open until six. I’m out of luck though; it already closed at five, like everything else. It is good I dropped by though, because I note that the shop is only open between ten and twelve on a Saturday, so we can plan around that. On my way back to the B&B I have a peek into the Lismore Pub, which is now definitely on our gotta see list: stained glass windows and rough stonewalls!

I’m a bit early, so I sit down in the breakfast room to do some writing and enjoy the view out the window. After my friend arrives I notice I forgot to ask my Gaelic speaking friend where to get decent bread, since we didn’t get around to buying any in Greenock. So, I call him up on my cell phone, but my tentative question, “Càite am faigh mi Schwarzbrot?” only earns well-deserved gales of laughter and general bouts of mirth. OK, I get the idea. Luckily, our landlord knows some shops where we might get organic bread, so we will try one of those.

We decide to have dinner at the Grassroots, which is coupled with an organic food shop. We go to check out the shop first, but it is already closed, so we peek in through the windows trying to discern their selection of bread. All we can see is the empty bread rack – and some people still inside. We would like to know if it’s worth our mileage to return during the opening hours, so my friend hits upon the idea of writing a sign. So, we get a piece of paper, write “Do you sell dark bread?” on it, hold it against the window and knock. Our attempt is successful, since a woman comes squinting at the window, unlocks the door and gives us the information we need. We’re in luck; they stock all kinds of excellent bread.

With happy smiling faces we head towards the restaurant, only to find all the tables have been reserved. However, we’re in luck again and one of the reservations got cancelled, so we get to gorge ourselves on an organic dinner. And the tap water comes with fresh mint in it. The restaurant closes around ten, and we take a random walk back home. We pass by a shop that sells the very lamps that they have in our breakfast room. We have a good laugh at both recognising them instantly!

It is already dark, and our way home leads us through the Park Circus. We keep peeking in through open windows to have a look at everybody’s stucco ceilings, one prettier than the other. We stop at a house that seems to be empty, notice the missing roof and the struts keeping the walls together. The night guard says hello and confirms that this is the house that we saw burning in the aerial photograph the night before. Just one week before the building was ready to be moved into, it got ignited by a spark from a blowtorch. Talk about bad luck! We kindly decline his generous offer of the remains of his kebab, being already full, so he decides to leave it for the foxes.

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Last edited on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 02:59 pm by NoClockThing



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 Posted: Mon Feb 4th, 2008 07:45 pm

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Oh the city at night was so lovely lit up.  I love the architecture inside the buildings and I bet the stained glass was gorgeous.  I went through the stained glass museum when I was in Chicago last year at the Navy Pier, they have quite an extensive collection, it was just beautiful.



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 Posted: Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 09:44 pm

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Great story.I love to travel and hear stories from those that do.
I went to the UK, On my own to meet an old boy friend from Scottland. I felt like I was home when I stepped my foot on British soil. This was an unexplained emotion as I was born in France and did not have the same feelings there.
Also,my aunt used to camp in northen Scottland. She said, it was so quiet it was deafening.

Last edited on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 09:52 pm by cat1946


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