Friday, 7 November 2014

Modernism: Visit Glasgow

The past week I spent wandering the moors and some cities of Scotland. Hence the supreme lack of anything on this blog.

One of those places was Glasgow.

Most people gave me an odd look, cocked their heads and were generally befuddled as to why I would stop in Glasgow. It isn't Edinburgh. But then again, the Glencoe Mountains aren't either and the Isle of Skye is utterly nothing like any of these. Each place has a unique flavour, and it is for that reason you should endevour to visit as many places as possible, avoiding the tendancy to go to somewhere twice. Though I will admit certain places do require second or fourth visits butGlasgow was not one of them. Could you skip it? Yeah. You could. But in the same breath I will say you could also skip the Edinburgh Castle or the Isle of Skye. Every place is an experience.

The Duke of Wellington statue got a pilon as a student joke one year. He sits in front of the Modern Art Museum. This is a prime example of the quirk of Scottish humour.

So, why visit Glasgow? Here are Three Magical Reasons:

1. The Glasgow Necropolis

Since coming to England I have seen a lot of churchs and cathedrals. There have been some places (Cambridge) where you can barely walk down a street without going past at least three. So inevitably, I have also seen *a lot* of old graveyards, and I am talking circa 1600's graveyards. (Some have even gone back to the 1500's though by that point they tend to resemble smooth stone rather than a monument).

I thought it was the coolest and spookiest thing when I walked into my first in Bury St Edmunds. Now, not so much. However, the Glasgow Necropolis, if you are going to visit a graveyard, this is the sort of place you need to visit. Sitting ontop the tallest hill in the city of Glasgow, just in behind St Mungo's Cathedral, is a veritable mountain of monuments which sit, crammed next to eachother, row after row after row, like a macabre picket fence lining the trails with twist up to the top. Along the way there are a few masoleums, but once you are at the top you are surrounded by ten foot tall obelisks, circular masoleums and life-size statuary. The awe these stone gians inspire is almost terrifying as you walk along, feeling as if the obelisks are leaning toward you. Whispering words, asking who you are, what are you doing there.

Plus, it affords fantastic 360 degree views of the city.

Don't miss this paragon of history.

2. The City Art

According to my landlady, about twenty years ago, Glasgow was dirty, run-down and dark. Today it is no sparkling city, but it is clean and full of upmarket shopping and classy cultural venues such as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It is also full of wall art. Probably done in effort to spruce up the city's style which is as mercantile and business-like as most of it's squares and street names imply of its history. Nonetheless it offers some fantastic portraiture and scenes to admire as you meander under bridges and through main streets.

3. The City Vibe

Being a city it is never quiet. There is always plenty of people wandering the streets, even on a Monday evening. During the weekdays the streets are busy, during the weekends the streets are overflowing and dotted in between these people, any day of the week are street performers and market stalls; the usual bagpipers and drummers, but also groups playing jazz, hawking jewelry and fudge, protesting something or trying to convert you to something. Then, nestled among all the upmarket shops and chain eateries sit vintage shops and so many druidic/new age corners I struggled a bit not to purchase things. (Oh the trials of living on a suitcase and carry-on). Then there are the pubs. So many pubs. One's which insist they were the first, or catered to this or that famous lord or creator of culture.

Here I would like to give a shout out to Hootenanny's, a small pub just off the back end of St. Enoch's Square. On a stretch of buildings between the road along the River Clyde and a massive Tescos. Cozy atmosphere, but not a dark one and massive portions of perfect comfort foods (the best for days of drenching rain, as such was the one I was caught in) and all for at most, 7 pounds a plate.

I enjoyed Glasgow for its city feeling. There is something to be said about letting yourself surf along the movement of busy shoppers until you pass a toottling saxophone and you slip into a side alley for a musical respite before plonking yourself down for an evening in a comfy pub booth.

Check it out. You'll be surprised at the little gems found in the less lauded corners. The sort of everyday, every-human kind.

Well, the modern-day sort anyway.


No comments:

Post a Comment