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Friday, 10 December 2010

Glasgow in 24 hours (or maybe 3 days really)

24 hours in Glasgow on the other hand, is a doddle. The only problem is, that you'll want to come and live there.

Firstly, do a little tour...

The way Glasgow is built (fairly high density 4 storey tenenement blocks) means its easy to get around. To start off in the morning, jump onto the 'hop on hop off' bus tour. It has two loops, the East End and the West End. The East End is ugly, the West End is beautiful.
The Peoples Palace, Glasgow

  On the east side, you can check homeless drunks waking up to their morning can of 'special brew'. There are however a few little gems and oddities to check out - on the weekends there's 'The Barras' which is one of the worlds biggest flea markets. If you want knocked off DVD's and computer games this is also your best bet. The area half gentrified now so you see a few nice looking new developments sticking out like a sore thumb. The gem of the East is Glasgow Green, a large park on the river. It contains the Peoples Palace a strange museum devoted to the history and life of Glasgow, which actually has a really great conservatory to have a cup of tea in (if you are that way inclined) Another quirky thing worth checking (apart from the amazing Victorian fountains in all the parks) is Templetons carpet factory, which is a copy of the Doge's Palace in Venice. Also if copies of Italian Architecture floats your boat is the Ca'doro (house of gold) building on the corner of Union Street and Gordon Street, a copy of the Venetian house of the same name.

Glasgow Green, and Templetons carpet Factory

The West End of Glasgow is posh and bohemian. Full of more interesting people. Even some foreigners. Glasgow University is there, across from the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, which is well worth a visit. These, together with The Huntarian Museum (its in Glasgow University Building), and the Glasgow Transport Museum and the lovely Charles Wilson designed Park Circus all hang out around Kelvingrove Park, Glasgows best park by a long way ( I should know, i've slept in it ) Best get off the bus around here and take in this part of the city by foot, just wander around, the buildings are beautiful, the streets leafy, and theres a new and interesting thing around every corner. Once you finish up, you'll need some food. Mother India, across from the Art Gallery is the best Indian food you'll ever eat, i kid you not. Dont just beleive me - youll notice it because theres often a queue out the door. Its not expensive either, just a great atmosphere, experience and food (hey i hope your reading this and offer me free curry!!)  If you want some good healthy Scottish Seafood, go for Stravaigin (which is Gaelic for 'to wander' ) on Gibson Street, across the park.
Glasgow Uni, the other day before it started snowing

You may as well at this stage, if you want ot leave the West End back to the centre, jump on Glasgows strange little underground system, known locally as 'the clockwork orange'

Anyway, the city centre, as you know from my previous posts has a whole bunch of pretty victorian streetscape - check out in particular Royal Exchange Square, which houses the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and has some pretty funky places to eat and drink, like one up, on this link, and also Princes square if you like to combine it with posh shopping. If you like good seafood and pretty interesting Art Deco Interiors, check out the famous Rogano Oyster Bar in Royal Exchange Square too. This is the saquare with the famous statue who permanently dons a traffic cone (ever since i was a kid, im not sure who put it up there but it looks great)

In the city centre, the coolest part is Garnethill, up by Sauchiehall Street.  A must see for a visit to Glasgow is the School of Art , not only the most famous Charles Rennie Mackintsh Building, and the Alma Mater of 'The Glasgow Boys' movement amongst other painters, but also of a fair few 'Glasgow sound' rock bands like Travis, Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol....(even though theyre from Ulster!)

The nearby west main part of Sauchiheall Street is also worth a peek,  if by then you fancy a beer. It used to be the main street of Indian restaurants but theres a whole mix now of arty Bars and restaurants, with some trendier ones behind there on Bath Street. Being a fan of cosy dive bars, id recomend 'The Variety Bar' if you want to meet poets and chancers. Once you have a taste for it, walk West though across the motorway, and towards Woodlands Road - my favourite pub in town, Uisge-beatha there. Its a dive, its true but the quiz night is legendary (and impossible) it does a great selection of Whisky, a good mix of people (pretty much everyone with an iq over 120), and for the ladies, all the bartenders wear kilts! If you want to get drunk after that, theres 'Ashton Lane' just off the back of Byres Road thats one big bar street, with something for everyone, so long as its alcohol your looking for.

Sleeping? if you really insist, check www.hotwire.com  or www.hostelworld.com really, or better yet, just chat up a local.

ps and dont bother going South of the river unless you want to check Scottish Ballet's base, the impressive Tramway theatre.  Or to visit me of course. 



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