Well, after a bit of a strange bus ride from Glasgow to London I am parked back in one of my favourite spots in London… the National Gallery Expresso Bar. I have to admit, I enjoyed Glasgow more than I expected to. Not that I thought it was going to be rubbish.. I was just moody from having left Mull and knew that most people deride Glasgow as being not as pretty or interesting as Edinburgh. But I enjoyed myself immensely and was very glad I had decided to end my stay in Scotland by zizzing around Glasgow. And zizz I did..as I only had the one day to explore. I managed to pack in quite a bit and was knackered when I returned to my hostel, The Tartan Lodge.
But not too beat to engage in some delightful conversation that evening with Raj..a 30 year old who is originally from India and is now living in Dublin and working in finance… and Charlotte, a mum my age from Bristol who was traveling solo for two weeks for the first time and loving the hell out of it. The previous evening I met Caroline, a woman from Edinburgh who was in Glasgow to teach classes on decoupage, furniture painting and stenciling. She specializes in ‘upcycling’…or ‘creative reuse’ if you will…converting old or discarded materials into something useful or just simply beautiful. Her website is http://upcycledworld.com if you are interested in learning more.
On the train ride from Oban to Glasgow I read up on what the city had on offer so I had a plan when I set out on Friday morning. (And it was actually morning when I set out as opposed to early afternoon as it usually is. This was due to two prodigious snorers AND a ‘pooter’…or ‘butt trumpeter’ whose emanations forced me to make an early morning escape. These people need to see a doctor pronto.)
If you are not into art feel free to skip down to the next part with cool things floating in jars and other weird shite. But you really should look at the art, you heathen.
First up was the Huntarian Art Museum. While I chose this particular museum for its extensive collection of Whistler paintings, I found myself completely charmed and captivated by the works of “The Glasgow Boys”(who were largely influenced by Whistler)…a group of male artists from the late 1800’s up till about 1910 who veered from the traditional Edinburgh oriented Scottish art and instead focused on naturalism and realism. Following the Glasgow boys were the ‘Scottish Colourists’…four artists whose work became a distinctive Scottish idiom during the 1920’s and 30’s. Their distinct style is immediately recognizable.
Below is Whistler’s actual personal palette. I found this compelling, as the way an artist uses a palette is unique to each painter. In the scenic shop, I can immediately tell which palette belongs to which artist co-worker. Whistler kept his browns and blacks to the right, white in the center, and reds/greens/blues to the left..all tight along the edge.
And here are some of my favorite works by the ‘colourists”.
And then this one which disturbed, yet intrigued me. Kind of like the men I end up dating.
After the Art Museum I mozizzed (moseying + zizzing ) across the street to the main campus of Glasgow University…which is the most beautiful college campus I’ve ever laid eyes on (and I’ve seen Cambridge)
It is also home to the OTHER Huntarian Museum. This one is much more like its twin brother in London, and is filled with all sorts of interesting things that Dr. William Hunter collected over his lifetime. There is an extensive collection of Lord Kelvin memorabilia. Glasgow is VERY proud of Kelvin if the number of places named after him is any indication. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Kelvingrove Park, Kelvin College, Kelvinbridge, Kelvinhall…and there are probably more but I topped out on Kelvin’s. I guess you could do worse than name a bunch of places after the man who invented the absolute temperature scale…amongst many other things. Dr. Hunter was also an anatomist, so both the Glasgow and the London museums are full of ‘people bits’ in jars and surgical tools from the time period. Also displayed are Scottish fossils and artifacts. Its quite and eclectic and fascinating collection. I will add a few pics here, the rest will be in a gallery at the end.
My next stop, after a brief ride on the cutest and cleanest little subway you’ll ever see, was the Riverside Museum and Tall Ship. The Riverside Museum is full of displays of what life was like in Glasgow from the turn of the century up until now. I will be honest, by this point I was starting to get ‘museum-ed’ out.. which happens when I try to cram too much into a day. I admit I only briefly looked at all the motorcycles, buses, subway cars, clothing etc… before heading out to the docks to check out ‘The Tall Ship”. I like ships. Especially old really cool ones. This particular one, named ‘Glenlee’ was never a pirate ship, but they kitted up the boat with various displays as to what life on a boat like her would have been like if you were sailing the seas as a buccaneer. It was cool. You could blow the foghorn, swab the deck, turn the giant steering wheel at the helm…and then go below decks and get a cuppa at the gift shop just like the pirates did! (More pics in a gallery at the end)
By the time I was done with the ship, my brain was overloaded and I knew I was done with museums. But I had bought a day bus pass and by god I was going to get my 4.50 quid’s worth! So I went to the city centre in search of that most famous of Glasgow’s features.. the local pub. I didn’t want a Wetherspoons or hip trendy pub…I wanted a pub that is mostly locals. And I found it off of Hope Street…”The Pot Still.” The place was full, but I managed to squeeze my way to the bar and order a pint of Tennants. The ratio was 10 men for every woman, and the Glaswegian accents were so thick I couldn’t understand a damn word anyone was saying. It was awesome.
And by the time I finished that pint…I was beat. Got the bus back to the hostel, chatted a bit and then hit the sack. Luckily for me the snorers and pooter from the night before had checked out so I managed a fairly decent sleep and managed to make it to the bus the next day. Had a bit of an of episode on the Megabus back to London. We had stopped in Preston for 10 minutes to pick up new passengers, and a young disabled gentleman had gotten off the bus to buy a drink. He was walking back to the bus.. only steps away, when the driver closed the doors and started backing up. We all hollered to the driver to let him know he was leaving a passenger behind, and his reply was “What do you want me to do about it?” and continued to drive away with all of the mans luggage, his wallet…and worst of all… HIS CRUTCHES still on the bus. We were all horrified. We expected the driver to get a call to return..but NOPE!…on we went to Manchester. (As a side note, later when we stopped at a rest area to use the loo as the one on the bus was not working, I have to say we were all back in our seats lickity split. Megabus don’t play.)
I have a few more days here in London before I go back to the states. She feels like home now…and I am going to miss her…
ART MUSEUM GALLERY
HUNTARIAN MUSEUM GALLERY
RiVERSIDE MUSEUM AND TALL SHIP
THE BAR AND MY HOSTEL, TARTAN LODGE