Day 220: Exploring Glasgow

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Today, after a long night of sleep, we were up early and feeling like ourselves again. Before we set out to further explore Glasgow, we had a hardy traditional breakfast. Our plates arrived laden with bacon, which looked more like ham or Canadian bacon, sausage, an egg, baked beans, tomato, flat bread and black pudding. I jumped right in by trying the black pudding first and it was excellent! The whole breakfast was and gave us the energy we required for a full day of getting to know Glasgow.

Our friendly and extremely helpful concierge, Colm, pointed us in the right direction to locate a post office (the best place to exchange currency) and gave us £1 off vouchers for the City Sightseeing Glasgow bus. For £11 we saw the entire city and learned of her rich history. There were 28 stops where we could hop off and later hop back on without paying an additional fee. We toured the city and on the second time around got off at several points of interest.

First stop was the Glasgow Cathedral, and located behind and above it, the Necropolis. The cathedral was beautiful, full of history, medieval looking. We slipped downstairs into the crypts to look around in the hushed atmosphere. There is still an active congregation that meets in the cathedral.

Back outside we climbed the hill east of the cathedral to the Necropolis. This city of the dead is a Victorian cemetery established in 1833. 50,000 people are buried here although there are only 3500 monuments. Many of these memorials are massive. Apparently Glasgow’s wealthy were laid to rest here. I’ve never seen such amazing stone statues and structures as stood in long curved rows in the Necropolis.

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Our next stop was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. We spent a pleasant hour and a half wondering through the exhibits. There was much to see and learn about Scotland’s art, history and natural sciences. There were also paintings by Monet, Rembrant and Salvador Dali. They had an impressive collection of arms and armor.

On we ventured, as the day wore on, to the Willow Tea House. Mindy and I especially wanted to experience an authentic afternoon tea. What a delight! Our afternoon tea consisted of Scottish breakfast tea, 4 varieties of finger sandwiches, scones with butter and strawberry jam, two kinds of cakes and shortbread cookies. After our large breakfast we had skipped lunch. This was a welcome interlude, both for refreshment and to rest weary legs. Mindy and I agreed we could get very used to this daily practice!

From the tea house we walked to nearby shops to browse while Harry visited a gaming store. The rain that had held off gently fell. I think I’d have been disappointed if we hadn’t experienced the famous Scottish weather. Rain doesn’t affect the Scots, and it didn’t slow us down. From this street of shops we found our way back to the hotel.

What a wonderful day! We learned so much, could understand the soft Scottish brogue better and felt comfortable finding our way around the city. In fact, walking to dinner tonight, someone stopped ME and asked for directions. I knew how to direct them successfully to George Square.

Several times today, as we toured this ancient and great city, I literally pinched myself to make sure this was real. For so long I have desired to visit this country, this homeland of my heart and soul. It is very real and I am loving every second. Tomorrow we head north to Loch Ness and the Highlands. I look forward to the rugged beauty we will surely find there.

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