Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gals in Glasgow

Glagow may be the largest city in Scotland and the third most populous in all of the UK, but it is surprisingly underrated in Edinburgh. Yes, it may not conjure up the fantasy of Harry Potter when walking through its industrial architecture, but what it doesn't have to offer in visual aesthetic, it has in cultural aesthetic instead. Glasgow is one the burgeoning centers of music in the UK with bands like Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Franz Ferdinand, Frightened Rabbit, Glasvegas, and the Vaselines originating from it just to name a few. This is the predominant reason why I know Glasgow because every big band I've wanted to see has stopped by the city. I've taken the fifty minute train down to Glasgow many a time to see my favorite bands, but this meant I had never seen the city during the day. I decided to remedy that over my Easter break and met up with my friend Julia, a native Glaswegian, to finally see Glasgow.

Our first stop was the charmingly odd Kelvingrove Museum. Located in the West End, its part natural history museum and part art gallery. One minute you're looking at a Monet painting and the next there's a texidermied giraffe with a spitfire above its head. The museum boasts over 800 objects meaning you can see everything from a stuffed shark to an Egyptian mummy. Sometimes the exhibits seemed a little crowded with medieval armor and the Holocaust all in one room, but overall it was a fun few hours that led to some good discussion.

Even if you aren't that excited about seeing Sir Roger the Elephant, the old Kelvingrove mansion built for the Glasgow International Fair in 1901 is a stunning sight and there's even an organ player for some ambience.

My favorite display at the museum was this absurd testament to Scottish nationalism. Even with the occasional offbeat plaque, the museum is definitely worth a visit.

Next, we wandered around the University of Glasgow campus. Although I claimed Edinburgh's architecture seems more romantic at the beginning of this post, I have to admit that I was jealous of the university here. I expected to run into Professor Flitwick in the medieval courtyard instead of the hideous 1980s monstrosities we have on the University of Edinburgh campus.

After all of this sightseeing we were starving and found half a dozen adorable sandwich shops in the area that it made it hard to choose just where to catch up over coffee. Finally we settled on a little bistro that offered a wrap, a burger, or noodles for a fiver.
Although the weather was expectedly rainy (on average, Glasgow gets more rain than Edinburgh), spending the afternoon in the city was a great diversion from the monotony of exam revision. Glasgow has a lot to offer and I think the only reason those in Edinburgh rant about it is because they're a tad jealous. I would gladly visit it again.
Thanks to Julia for showing me around!


  1. Ah Tess I went to that museum when I was there! I was so surprised by the beginning of your post; I get the impression that you were not at all impressed by the architecture. The museum and university are insanely beautiful, and there were lots of other pretty parts too. We must've gone to different areas.

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