Our Travel blog
Firstly sorry that there are no pictures to accompany this post, we are on a slow Wi Fi connection.
Our intention today was to get the bus into Glasgow city centre and when we thought we had missed the first one we took a coffee in a restaurant connected to the amusement park. It arrived with a small yellow cube that Alison thought was cheese, and that maybe coffee and cheese was a quaint Scottish custom we'd yet to encounter. It turned out to be vanilla fudge which was altogether more pleasing to the palate.
The bus arrived late due to a fault and the kindly bus driver took us in for free by way of compensation, although we did wonder if we were there to help push if it finally broke down. Happily we arrived safe and sound in the city centre where Ray was delighted to cross Killermont Street, as celebrated in the song by Aztec Camera. We walked along Buchanan Street from the generic high street shops down to the bars and seedier end where the M8 motorway thunders through the city.
Turning left we walked beneath the motorway to the banks of The Clyde where we picnicked in the sunshine, well away from the roar of the motorway. Lunch done, the riverside walk took us to the curiously Parisian Glasgow Green, with its stone archway, tree lined avenues and resplendent winter gardens. The park wasn't crowded, even on a balmy Sunday afternoon but informal games of cricket and football were being played, toddlers wandered about in that tottering bumpy way peculiar to under 3's and couples promenaded along the walkways or sat in hunched conversation on the lawns. It was a timeless scene from any city anywhere when the sun comes out and people can grab a few precious moments to relax away from busy streets and busy lives.
Reluctantly we left the park and dallied a while in the bric-a-brac markets in the distinctly Irish part of town, pausing to catch a fine rendition of Christy Moore's Viva la Quinte Brigada escaping from a bar. En-route we chanced upon the Celtic supporters, returning from their fixture against Aberdeen. As we walked against the tide of green and white every person appeared dour and serious, engaged in earnest conversation with the person next to them. All this we took as a sign that their team hadn't performed well so it came as a surprise to read later that Celtic had in fact just won the Scottish Premier league.
Climbing gently past the massive Tenants brewery complex we entered the necropolis that looks down on the rest of Glasgow. Its higher than the nearby Cathedral and every bit as imposing and atmospheric as you'd expect a city of the dead to be. The stonework of the monuments and tombs has the rough blackened look of a lot of Glasgow and are arranged in a higgledy piggledy fashion on steep uneven slopes, with little byways and overgrown paths branching off the tarmac walkways. John Knox's monument took pride of place, looking down onto the Cathedral at the highest point and was well worn by sightseers, although it wasn't clear if that was because of the vantage point his commanding position gave for pictures or from people paying homage to the father of the protestant reformation in Scotland.
There were only so many tombs we could admire in one afternoon so, as it was time for evensong, instead of viewing inside the Cathedral we crossed a busy road with a large group of German tourists and trailed them into a house opposite. Fortunately for us it was the former Provand's Lordship's House, the oldest recorded dwelling in Glasgow and happily open to the public and not someone's front room, which would have been embarrassing. It was a pleasant diversion, with an interesting array of period furniture, Royal portraits and background information about the house's history. Because we had to catch the last bus back to the site we didn't linger to view the formal gardens, which looked splendid when glimpsed from the windows whilst browsing the house, but instead walked back into the centre and were reunited with our friendly bus driver who again refused to take payment. Apparently the bus was laid on for visitors to the theme park and the fare was redeemed against the entrance fee and thus, for us who were not visiting the park, it would be very pricey. Even the inspector who was chatting to the driver said he hadn't seen us, ushered us onto the bus and bade us a good day.
So we returned to the site in good spirits, refreshed by the good folk of Glasgow and eager to down some cold beers in the fading May sun, which we did with due ceremony.
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