On March 6, 1989, a 44 year old and his colleagues boarded a British Railway train at the Edinburgh Waverley railway station. The group of six men – all town planners from developing cities of India – was headed to Glasgow as part of a government initiative facilitating knowledge exchange. Among them was my father who was thrilled with the exposure to planning and technological advancement witnessed in the city. But it was the efforts to preserve the industrial heritage of Glasgow whilst creating sync with the cultural fabric that impressed my father the most.
“Observe the buildings as you walk through the city. The urban landscape would have changed since 1989 but I am sure the character remains unchanged – it was an interesting combination of grit and culture,” my father told me over the phone.
This was him persuading me to make a quick trip to Glasgow nearly 29 years after he had made the trip.
So being the dutiful daughter that I am and an extremely enthusiastic solo traveller, I strolled to the Edinburgh Waverley railway station to hop aboard a train to Glasgow. The hour-long journey is a breeze – you can watch the gorgeous landscape, read a book or doze to some music, or simply Google for places to visit in Glasgow.
I reached Glasgow at 11.30am. And obviously my stomach was rumbling for lunch – all that walking around makes me very hungry. Do you find yourself feeling increasingly peckish when travelling? A hungry me spend a precious few minutes walking around and through the gorgeous George Square, even running after the birds pecking away at… nothing. A very Trafalgar Square-ish thing to do that earned me several ‘is she nuts?’ looks but who cares! And a quick snack later, it was time to explore.
Determined to make the most of the remaining day, I boarded the very reliable CitySightseeing bus from George Square. This is the 3rd city I’ve used this service in and I love them! Totally! This is honestly the best way to travel if you are short on time and tend to get lost.
Here is a quick rundown on the places I visited and recommend..
Serene and beautiful; be sure to settle down at a pew and spend some time admiring the glass painted pans of the massive windows and the Gothic architecture. #enoughsaid
While aboard the sightseeing bus, I overheard a couple say ‘visiting the Necropolis is one of the things that give the city its haunted vibe’. And I agree to. Located on a hill near Glasgow cathedral this Victorian cemetery probably around 50,000 graves and 3000 plus monuments. These monuments are achingly haunting and the view of the city will show you the change in Glasgow – from seaport to cultural-business hub.
St Valentine’s Relics
I stumbled on this nugget of information during some random reading. St Valentine’s relics are kept in the Blessed St John Duns Scotus, a tiny church in the Gorbals neighbourhood. Strangely, not many locals seemed to be aware of the location of this church. You will have to pass through some shabby areas to reach this church. Do call ahead to check for the church timing. I spend a good 15 minutes walking around the building and knocking on doors-windows before a lady opened the door, ushered me in for 5 minutes before I bid adios. This one is for those who believe in fairy tales. #fairytales #valentinesday
Give me an option to have a white wedding in a place of my choice and I would say the University of Glasgow! The highlight of the main campus is the Cloisters, the passage connecting the East and West quadrangles. With vaulted ceilings, grand interiors and bell towers, one would think they’ve walked into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Note: Need to ask an architect/ historian about the Gothic influence in architecture at Edinburgh/Glasgow.
City Centre Murals
If I ever visit Glasgow again, I intend to join the City Centre Mural Walk. That the city has embraced street art is apparent in the massive handiworks that adorn under bridge walls, building facades, walls of pubs, boundary walls and even vacant buildings. Talk about giving a tired street a makeover!
One of the main shopping streets of the city, complete with high end luxury retail stores, the cobble pedestrian only Buchanan Street is not very special. But for me, this street and the seat beneath the Princes Square building will forever remain close to my heart. To know more, go to ‘Once Upon A Travel’.
Photos: Rapti Bhaumick