Dreichy in Glasgow, You’ve Got Places to Go

IMG_0731I love visiting Glasgow. I keep going back and finding new experiences, and of course revisiting some old favorites. Scottish weather is lovingly joked about, just like San Francisco or Portland Oregon weather is. The fact is, any country with changeable weather must be taken with amusement, how else can you survive when it really gets bad? We love to comment on the weather. 

Rain, dreich, and more rain. We have that in Portland, other wise known as Puddleton. So when I keep traveling back to a land with the wets, people wonder why? The inhabitants are desperate to get to the Canary Islands or Spain, Italy, anywhere with a mild climate and that shiny orb in the sky. I get the question, “What, you live near California, why do you come here?” Simple, I love the place, can’t get enough. Lived in foggy, drippy port towns most of my life. Have that Viking ancestry and too pale of skin to go back to California. But mostly it’s places like Glasgow, teaming with life and music, food, culture and close proximity to magical day trips places like the Trossachs National Park that make it a great hub for exploration.

So what do you do when it is positively dripping, or worse, torrential? Most inhabitants bundle up inside and have tea, binge watch if not working, and some maybe while working. If you are one who gets restless when it pours and need to get out a bit, find whatever free entertainment you can for the best dreichy or drookit days. It’s heading into the Hols, so you need to save money where you can, or shop for gifts that help the museum out or become fun, white elephants. There’s plenty to be had in this town.

Museums

In my youth living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I found I developed a taste for museums, and they were always a day well spent. In the US, most museums charge fees to get in. In the UK and Ireland, admission to most museums are free of charge, with special exhibits having fees. So you can have a mostly free visit to many museums. Free can be highly entertaining.

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Kelvingrove Museum Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland

I keep coming back to this fabulous repository of artifacts and arts. Recently I went to the Frank Quietly Exhibit there, and the hours were well spent. The rest of the galleries will keep you busy with permanent or semipermanent collections, and a great way to keep the kids entertained for free. The museum has a classic European museum layout with many floors and galleries to disappear in, and a good place to have a tea half way through. The Life Collection features natural history, human history and prehistory sections, with the taxidermy animals being a favorite. The Egyptian area features interactive displays. One of the best spots is the technology and sciences galleries. A great place for the young and old alike.

In the Expressions Galleries, there are exhibits from painters and other artists. Monet, Gaugin and Renoir are featured. There are also many works from Scottish artists and The Glasgow Boys. This next year will be Charles Rennie Macintosh’s 150th birth year and an exhibition is being planned.

The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Scotland

A great museum on an amazing campus. Plan to spend quite a few hours in this beauty of a place, and a short walk from Kelvingrove. It’s a fabulous place with collections that should fit your every mood. James McNeill Whistler and Charles Rennie Macintosh have permanent collections there. The other collections feature art, archaeology, cultures, historical, coins and metal, fossils and a great medical exhibit. Check with the museum for hours of display and access since this is on the university campus.

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People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

Aptly named of course for a great indoor garden experience and galleries of local history. This great local exhibition gets you in the feel for the history of Glasgow. From “Steamy” displays to local shops at the turn of the century, and other historical displays about everyday life. My favorite display was seeing Sir Billy Connolly’s famous Banana Boots after only seeing pictures and descriptions. The sheer size of the Big Yin’s unique foot equipage was boggling. 

The Palace has a nice Victorian Glass House with a great botanics display and tea house. The line can get quite long for the tea. But well worth it after a few hours spent looking at display rooms.

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Hidden Lane Tearoom, Finnieston, Glasgow

My favorite place to go back to for tea. This hidden gem has a great alley space with a eclectic food menu and great relaxation spaces, mismatched tables and chairs, and tea sets. Squeeze through the alley to get there, great to get off the Sauchiehall Street bustle for a bit, head to Argyle Street and spend a relaxing momment.  Their clotted cream is the best, the real deal. Cakes, biscuits, savories and soup. And peace.

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New/Used Bookstores

Ah, the very best thing to do when it rains and snows, brave the weather and find a book nook. Glasgow has many great new and used book stores. Problem is when you’re traveling you want to scoop up an armful, but really can’t fit it in. Just grab one or two, read and leave at your B&Bs with notes about your reading thoughts. You’ll have many dusty pages to chose from, at Voltaire and Rousseau(12-14 Otago Ln, Glasgow) it is quite a jumble to meander through, and that’s the fun. Don’t forget to look up Thistle Books, just in case you haven’t found everything imaginable to read. But once you have done two shops, you may as well do the rest.

Books Shops

http://visit-glasgow.info/shopping/top-ten-bookshops-in-glasgow/

Articles

Scottish Weather

http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/15-words-which-can-only-be-used-to-describe-scottish-weather-1-4104762

Hunterian https://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/collections/collectionsummaries/art/theglasgowboys/

Great Escapes From Glasgow

Frank Quietly Exhibit at the Kelvingrove, Glasgow

Glasgow Art Walk July 2017

Frank Quietly Exhibit at the Kelvingrove, Glasgow

quietlyExhibit: From Krypton to Kelvingrove, the Works of Frank Quietly And The Art  of Comics Until October 1, 2017

Looking for a great time with great artwork, look no further. Take your kids or the big kid that is you. A comic art exhibit is not to be missed. You’ve a few weeks left and if you are lucky to be in Glasgow this Fall, you will see the works of one of the comic greats, Frank Quietly. The artist known as Quietly, born in Glasgow in 1968, has been a penciller, cover artist, cover variant, colorist, artist and much more. He has worked on Batman: The Scottish Connection, Superman, Shimura (Judge Dredd Magazine) an outcast Judge in the Dredd universe, Aiko Inaba 1996, a female Samurai, 2000AD Judge Dredd, Sandman: Endless Nights, and the list goes on.

I was lucky to be able to take in the show while in Glasgow this summer. I spent several hours pouring over the artwork of this truly great artist. The exhibition rooms were small, but packed with all stages of design from many of his works. There were original artworks and scripts from Batman and Superman. There were featured works of Frank Miller and Charles Burns also in the exhibit.

I particularly enjoyed looking at the concept art for Batman: The Scottish Connection. Well, being in Scotland, it’s a must. Seeing Bruce in a kilt was fun of course. But the experience of seeing the concept art and thought process of the artist is always intriguing. To be lucky enough to see how the design process works for the story, is always a rare treat. The story was written by Alan Grant and published in 1998. The second room featured two comics I had not seen before, Shimura and Inaba. The female Samurai caught my attention and I then found myself in acquirement mode, checking Amazon and comic shops online for the series. The inking is incredible with this series and the subject matter superbly portrayed.

This exhibit is a must see and sits in the basement galleries at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is an amazing place the spend the rest of your morning or afternoon. There are other exhibits, such as Alphonse Mucha: The Quest for Beauty and the permanent collections that will be a time well spent with family and friends. After you finish, continue out into the West End or Glasgow University for more food and sights.

If you get the comic bug after the show, visit Glasgow’s great comic shops:

City Centre Comics

Geek Retreat Cafe and Comic Bookshop several locations

Geek Aboo

Unthank Comics 23 Burgh Hall Street (off Byres Road)Glasgow G11 6NY

The Last Outpost

Red Hot Comics

The Big Glasgow Comic Mart

Articles

http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/exhibitions/Pages/Frank-Quitely-The-Art-of-Comics.aspx

About the Exhibit https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/collection-of-frank-quitely-comic-book-art-to-go-on-display-at-glasgows-kelvingrove/

 

 

Glasgow Westend Summer 2017 Musings

ashtonI have just spent a few rare, mostly sunny days in Glasgow’s West End. What’s not to like about this festive and eclectic area in Glasgow. Situated right next to University of Glasgow, as in all great university towns, a great area hub of several very diverse communities on all sides of the university, each with it’s own flavor.

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It’s warm and happening here in the West End and Hillhead area of Glasgow. A rare, two warm sunny-ish days are indeed happening. I probably cursed us by wearing my sleeveless shirt for a while, sans jacket. Highly indulgent of me, I know. Feel the sunburn happening. Just walking the Byres Road area in the afternoon and the beach chairs are out near the  Hillhead Bookclub, an eclectically intense eatery that even has a clothing jumble sale on weekends upstairs. Great  vegan offerings along side traditional food. Had a sweet potato cake that was spicy indeed, and the plates are large portioned.  Just look for the dapper sea horse mural and you have found the spot.

 

Kelvinside and Botanic Gardens

This area boasts the enchanting Glasgow Botanic Gardens. In the summer you can see Bard in The Botanic, the local Shakespeare in the parks production. Places to eat and venues like the Oran Mor and Webster Theatre offer entertainment as well as good food and bar facilities.

Hillhead

Besides having a lot of student housing areas, with more being built as of this writing, this part of town has a vast array of restaurants that appeals to many cultural flavors and pricing is influenced by the student population. Therefore, great bargains can be had food wise here, and like most Uni areas, volume comes with the plate in many cases. Check out the other patrons plates to see if you can dine al fresco or if each plate can feed two to three people. There is also a lot of shopping to be done in the area at several brand name

DeCourcys

 as well as boutique stores. And don’t pass up the Oxfam and other local charity shops, you may just find a fun, hip article for a good cause.

West End

Just south of Kelvingrove Park is the area that is the eclectic and hipster area of West End and features Sauchiehall Street, Fitzroy Place, and Argyle street. There are a great number of bars and high end restaurants in the area, and plenty of places to do whisky tasting like the Ben Nevis. Other real notables are Ox and Finch, Mother India, The socialHidden Lane Tearoom, and Cubatas Tapas Bar, and the recently voted best place bar in West End, J. Sharpe Dispensary or The Drugstore Social . This was a great retreat one day from lang walks and the need to feed at lunch with a great glass of wine. The area features a few small boutiques for shopping fun. I recently ate at Ox and Finch, a small plates Tapas style eatery off Sauchiehall Street, after trying to have a sit in there for a few weeks. This restaurant is so popular you may have to book a few days in advance via their website like I did. It was worth the wait. The sommelier was very knowledgeable about both food and wine pairings, and helped with a Gluten Free adaptation of meals. The atmosphere was relaxing and a wonderful West End experience. Also after a good feed at the local, walking the Kelvin riverside walkways are a pleasant way to make room for a later whiskey tasting.

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Kelvinbridge

Two favorite places near where I was staying and just a convenient hop across the Western Road were Inn Deep at the Kelvinbridge, featuring a very twisty stairs down through the main door, or a bridge staircase down to the Kelvin walkway, which by the way is a

must river adventure. This foodie enclave features dog friendly spaces, riverside seating you will have to fight for or make friends over. Music tends towards the 70s and even some American Funk. But beware of being blasted with Fleetwood Mac and other golden oldies you may find yourself singing along to. Great hand cut fries, too.

Another dog friendly spot, and people too, is the The Belle on the Western Road. Quiet some nights, raucous talk the next. Good selection of drink options. 

 

InnDeep

 

Whiskey

Yes, national drink and all, most bars, pubs, and taverns will carry a very good selection of regional whiskey. If you have mostly had American or only a few Scottish varieties, you may want to go to a whiskey bar or even go on a whiskey walking tour where you can hit up a few specializing places. If you are in the West End, Ben Nevis Pub is a connoisseur spot but gets packed of an evening. If you don’t like a huge crowd and want to talk to the barkeep, try a late afternoon visit.

Hint: Kitchens can close early in Scotland, so if you are used to tavern food up until midnight, that may not be the thing in some parts of town. Sundays mean earlier closures for most restaurants.

Glasgow City Apartments Service Apartment Review

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Glasgow City Apartments ♥  ££

401 North Woodside Road, Glasgow Scotland UK Ph. 0141 342 4060 city@mcquadehotels.com

It’s always a gamble when you try a new place to stay. I really wanted a fairly decent 3 star in the West End of Glasgow. This accommodation promised a good location and basic amenities.

I stayed in a single studio apartment that actually ended up having two beds. This is sometimes a good thing if one bed is sub par, the other may be slightly better. Not the case.

Location is the main selling point of this establishment. It is in the Kelvin Bridge area, directly across from the subway station. There is access to the river Kelvin which paths feeds into the astounding Kelvingrove park and is close to the University of Glasgow. The neighbourhood is fairly safe and has a lot of cuisine to choose from, and not too far from Ashton Lane area with cinema.

The basics are represented in this apartment. There is a small kitchenette with a small array of dishes, pans, cutlery, microwave and refrigerator. There is a ironing board.

First impressions did not change over the four day stay. Upon entering I was hit with wall of bleach smell, and the sheets left me a bit itchy. The decor is typical for this kind of a set up, but of course the worst part was the beds. I don’t know why hotel and service apartment owners will not invest in a decent bed. They one thing any traveler really needs is a good bed. This will always get them a bad review, and the bed is cheaper than some other improvements. The carpeting had stretched out and was creating huge wrinkles that you needed to watch.

Clean. Quiet for the most part. The bathroom had recently been remodelled. However I am not a big fan of the at the source heaters that control the water pressure and temp as a whole unit. You really should have taps for that. The shower pressure was never really right. The door to the new stall kept opening during showers. I will be letting the establishment know. The rest of the facilities were in good order.

The kitchenette was very functional and clean when I arrived, the fridge and microwave worked well for me. I did not cook any full meals there, just used the fridge and hot pot for coffee making. It comes with a small stove.

Remember to clean and vacuum before you go or you will be charged a fee.

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Glasgow Art Walk July 2017

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I had been looking forward to revisiting the Glasgow Mural walk for some time and was not disappointed. This walk features a great many murals all over the city with many of them being situated in the City Centre and outlying areas. There is a map you can download and print out, as well as just keeping your eyes peeled as there are many other murals that just keep popping up and unless you are a local, would not be aware of them and where they are situated. Check in out of the way spaces like under the bridges and lots.

These colorful depictions of life and interpretation have become such a part of the landscape, it’s hard to notice that some are suffering the sad realisation that wind and elements are taking their toll. To my relief I had not seen any of the murals suffering from deliberately being altered, although some other tagging and art seemed to be butting up against some of them. Street art is highly respected by fellow artists, and street art has a huge fan base. Indeed, as in other great mural and street art works from around the world, the sides of buildings are slowing giving away and altering some of the murals. Some artists see this as part of the landscape, that the art itself will have to show time. Good news is more are being created, including some new ones dedicated to the comic Billy Connolly.

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Artist:Vettriano Location Beer Garden at Hootenanny’s at St. Enochs

Start with the City Centre and follow the circuit. You will see a great many parts of the city and get a good healthy urban hike. Don’t forget to stop off at some great restaurants and pubs along the way. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Happy hunting.

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Hip Hop Marionettes by Rogue-One

Download the brochure here:
https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=19649&p=0

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Tiger by Klingatron

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Honey I Shrunk The Kids by Smug

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Panda by Klingatron

 

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Glasgow Musings, So Close and Yet so Far

FullSizeRenderIt’s early in the morning and I have been flying for 9 hours. I am sitting in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which has to be one of the quietest airports I have been in, staring at insane green tile. I have a ridiculous 3 hour layover and flew just past my destination, Glasgow. Such is the traveling life. I can’t wait, it’s been a year and I have so much planned for this trip. I will do my best to cover ground that got missed last trip and revisit some local hidden places and anything free and alternative in between.

Top Alternative Things in Glasgow

When you find a really great city that just feels like a great adventure, you can cram the few days you have there with so many activities and end up with your body flat on the couch at the service apartment, exhausted beyond belief. That’s what happened last year, and I expect it to happen again this week. I’ve been in endurance training for the last 3 years because I planned some travel, and it still may not be enough. I think it’s the traveling excitement we all get, you explore every inch you can in a short space of time, because you don’t live there. Last year I spent most of my time in the City Centre/ Clyde Side and West end. I decided this time to stay in the West End, the first 4 days to recover from jet lag and really try to know the city a bit better.

Glasgow is great for day excursions outside of the city to historical sites and a land filled with mountains. Stay tuned as I take and review a tour for you. Glasgow is the perfect travel hub, taking my flights out to Dublin and back, then off to Skye after a few days, then ending with Edinburgh Fringe. Each time coming back and spending a few days at Scotland’s biggest city. I hope this plan allows me to keep exploring places that the locals know, the hidden great people and things places that aren’t in guide books. I’ll be sharing that with you in the coming weeks.

I guess it’s also because this has been a rough year for many of us on this blue ball. I feel the need to take a three week asylum out of the US and see and meet people with some different mindsets than some of the locals where I live. I need to be out in a world that may think a bit less isolated, however we seem to have a growing trend in the world of isolationism. I hope that we can all be open and fight this trend. Stay tuned as I explore every inch of what I can in these fine cities this trip and share them with you.

Topolabamba (Glasgow, Scotland) — Caitlin Jean Russell

Earlier in the week I was lucky enough to collaborate with Topolabamba Glasgow, a Mexican restaurant on St Vincent Street. In recent years, this area of the city centre has flourished with new and exciting restaurants, and Topolabamba fits the bill perfectly. Glasgow has very few sit-down Mexican restaurants, so it’s great to find one…

via Topolabamba (Glasgow, Scotland) — Caitlin Jean Russell