Back to Scotland I Go

glasgow-cathedral-and-infirmaryIt wasn’t but hours after I landed in PDX, that I said to a friend, “I have to go back. Scotland is not finished with me, and I am no done with it!”. I spent over two glorious weeks adventuring in Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling, and Edinburgh and some places in between. However Scotland may be a smallish country, but it is compact and has depth. There is so much I did not see. So I made a vow to go back.

This year I can still follow my favorite show’s film locations, Outlander, along with some upcoming films like The Avengers filming in the Glasgow area and beyond. While I don’t really go in for tours, I would rather explore on my own, this year I may take some day trips from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Glasgow as a Hub

Glasgow is an amazing city. I visited it twice last year and enjoyed every moment of it. There is so much life in it, there i never a dull moment unless you want there to be one. I decided on the 2017 trip to make this a hub since the airport is one of the better landing places I have been in dealing with immigration and flow. I planned for 3 days stay at the beginning of the trip before proceeding to Ireland. Last year I found that jet lag took about 2 days to right and wanted to go to a city I had already had some experience with. That way I could just chill a bit and visit some places I had seen but liked.

One thing I suggest  you do for any city that is destination, is try to read the local papers online to see what’s on as they say, or what you should be aware of. Lots of tourists besides yourself, that’s a given. And festivals around the time of your stay. This means some things you may want to see or do are right in the path. But festivals are great, you should try to attend if you can. Example: New Festival in Glasgow Green July 7-9 I will be missing this one since I am visiting later in the month. Check out local events online and see if you can bag a few things to enhance your stay. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Glasgow’s big on music like PDX is. If you know your dates for stay, check ticketed venues to see if any of your fave bands are doing a tour.

Sports in Glasgow

Okay, here in the western US, we love our American Football teams. In Europe, they really love their teams and are extremely fierce when it comes to some of the football matches. And don’t forget the rugby. We go nuts in our stands and more Scots are following some of our teams like the Seattle Seahawks. But in Glasgow, things are aligned not just by a favored team. In Europe people can align themselves by class and neighborhood, and yes religion. This should be a bit of a warning. And be mindful of pub signs. If you see a pub with a colors declaration, ask. If you wear a jersey or shirt that is too close to an opposing team, you may be in for some trouble. This just takes a little being aware, and most establishments ask you to not wear jerseys or club shirts to be on the safe side. The two teams in Glasgow are the Celtic F.C. and Rangers F.C.. In America, many view football as religion. Think the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, only more intense. In Glasgow, the club is aligned with religion. The Celtic club is Catholic and the Rangers are Protestant. There is a fierce rivalry.

Last year when I visited and 2 days in, there was an Orange Walk of Procession for support of the Celtic Club. I had my first clues there would be a todo when many bus routes and walkways had postings of diversions. I walked the Clyde that morning, still jet lagged and bleary, and made a mental check. I was staying off George Square Plaza and went into the hotel and asked what was going on. I was met with many groans and told that an Orange Parade was happening. I immediately went, oh. My grand da was Irish and had had family come over from Ireland, some after the ’16. It’s a Catholic /Protestant thing, but especially if you are Irish, the ’16 was something that made many leave Ireland just like they had during famine. Living in the US, especially from the west coast, we tend to not think of heavy rivalries in this sense. Football is a sport rivalry. On the east coast it’s a bit different, we have many people still migrating from heavily Catholic or Protestant countries and communities are more church aligned.

After consideration, I made plans to head to the west end while the parade was going on. Wasn’t sure if there would trouble. Reading online papers had shown that effigies were often being hung at games and I didn’t want to chance it. However, there was a peaceful parade, no trouble and people had their say. I found that most of the protests and events centered on the Brexit vote that had just happened prior to my arrival, were peaceful as well. Scotland still isn’t too happy about this topic and there may be another referendum in the offing in 2018. Traveling during political times is great in a place like Glasgow, you can talk to locals on buses and in queues at the market about anything. They will commiserate on politics with you as well.

Glasgow has amazing green places to visit and the hills roll with it. Scottish summer was still a bit of rain, but humid for the most part, and I even had to wear sunscreen on a few days. I will be more prepared this time.