“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say.
“You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to”
In a finite, limited and always short system, such as holidays, Glasgow is the victim. And not because of his demerit, but because with Edinburgh 50 miles away, few cities have anything to do with it. People have a habit of not recommending it, of saying that in Scotland there are better places to visit. Let me disagree.
Glasgow is a city well worth a visit: It has fantastic nooks and crannies, huge Victorian buildings, parks, museums, cemeteries and a cathedral. And river. And botanical garden. And shopping malls. And also modern buildings. And many pubs and clubs where bands have started that have become world-famous, and others that have not but are just as good. It is the city where the people of Edinburgh escape to party.
But, let’s start from the beginning.
It turns out that on April 29 I woke up with a very sore throat, and with those glands in my neck half swollen. It was the culmination of the stretching of the abductor that I had been dragging for almost a month, the middle stretch of the other, and the punctures I occasionally have in my leg because of a self-diagnosed tibial periostitis.
The very serious situation was not, let’s be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that two days later I planned to start the West Highland Way.
But it could get worse. For example, I could miss the plane. It didn’t happen, don’t worry, despite my repeated attempts to get it, I forgot my ticket at home first, and then lost it in the middle of duty-free. Interestingly, I had already lost a ticket to the airport before. And also going to Glasgow, although this time passing through Edinburgh. Both had a happy ending, but happy ones for real, no marriage.
From Prestwick to Glasgow
In short, it hasn’t got any worse and after three hours of flying to Prestwick Airport I was picked up by a taxi driver with the look of an ex-stevedore whom Margaret Thatcher gave for the sack. The taxi driver was from Glasgow and a Rangers fan, two characteristics that reaffirmed my ex-stevedore theory. Another feature that stood out in the man was his Glaswegian, which is the English passed through the Scott sieve (or vice versa, depending on who tells you), that are usually spoken in Glasgow. So the 40 minutes from Prestwick to the city have passed between coherent conversations and some aye’s betraying that I didn’t understand anything.
After saying goodbye with a couple of good luck and a handshake, I entered the hotel where I will spend tonight and the next. It was one of the cheapest I found. And it looked like it: it has curtains, yes, quite a luxury in Scotland. And it also has a kettle, a chair that was dismantled when I seated on, and a bed that goes downhill, just like the floor that holds it up. And TV, yes. I will never understand people going to a hotel watching TV.
Quiet visit to Glasgow
Now it’s tomorrow and I’m getting ready to spend the second night in bed going down. It seems that Glasgow, God or destiny has wanted to make up for the merit of having spent the previous night on this mattress with a fantastic completely sunny day.
Since I had already been to Glasgow, and I didn’t intend to get too tired either, because the days of walking start tomorrow, I spent the morning following the River Clyde, one of Glasgow’s arteries and symbols and surely what more obvious is the condition of the new Glasgow, this modern city that changed heavy industry (with a lot of sacrifice from humble people, all things considered (the rich, we know, never sacrifice themselves)) to technology, which he cleaned the river to return it to the city, and he replaced shipyards with glass towers. Be that as it may, strolling along the Clyde when the sun is shining is a pleasure, both for relaxation and for contemplating the architecture of some of the most modern buildings we find by the river.
I spent the afternoon in the West End, an area with a low tourist ratio, and today also natives. I guess the combination of sun + Friday + holiday on Monday has encouraged Glaswegians to occupy all the terraces in the centre. The West End is a residential area but with a very interesting and less crowded leisure offer. You can find a lot of premises and their respective terraces in this part of the British blocks below the street. Live music, extraordinary groups, and a lot of cultural and especially musical movement. Between going and coming back, a good walk in Glasgow.
But if this is your first visit …
Obviously, if this is your first time visiting Glasgow, you can’t miss the Kelvingrove Museum (with a Dalí and all), the park right in front (Kelvingrove park, of course), the center and its stations and the Town Hall and the Wellington statue with the cone on its head and the fantastic grandiose Victorian buildings that populate the wide, sunny streets of Glasgow that began to emerge from the Industrial Revolution, the Cathedral, the Necropolis, the University and the Celtic Park. And I probably forgot things.
Tomorrow, yes! Tomorrow begins the real reason for it all. In Milngavie, that the Scots pronounce Mulgai, and the rest as we can.