Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lazy Day in Glasgow

We arrived in Glasgow on Saturday morning. We managed to stay awake all day Saturday and then slept 13 hours Saturday night. Waking up around 11 o'clock Sunday morning, I would hesitate to call us "refreshed" but at least we were close to adapted to the time zone.

It was our only day for sightseeing in Glasgow, but we didn't really see too many sights. Firstly, I'd failed to take into account that many things are closed of a Sunday in the UK, so some of the things we'd planned on seeing were closed or had reduced hours.

Mostly we just wandered around town. We took the train in, which made us feel somewhat self-sufficient since we'd been personally escorted from one place to the next since our arrival. From the train station, we wandered down the main shopping streets (Buchanan and Sauciehall) and up toward the Glasgow School of Art.

Or at least, that's where we were meant to be headed. At George Square I got turned around and somehow we started walking Southeast, when we needed to be going Northeast. Keith didn't let this state of affairs continue for long, however, before he sneaked a furtive glance at a map in our tourist book, righted our direction, and piloted us safely to the Tenement House.

In the guide book, the Tenement House is described as a step back in time, to the WWII era in which this apartment was kept by its owner until she passed away in the 70s. It appealed to me for both historical reasons and for the voyeurism aspect—that someone had left their earlier life intact, and we could view it. I thought it would be something like those shows of OCD people who have 20 years of newspaper stacked ceiling-high with only narrow aisles between.

But it was actually just an old apartment. It was small—a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. And pretty simple. We wandered around for maybe 15 minutes, shrugged our shoulders, and left. The accompanying museum on the ground floor of the building did give a little bit more of the voyeurism I was seeking, displaying letters and rent books and the like. It was alright, but I came away a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it was just the remnants of jet lag.

Actually, I was a bit underwhelmed at our next stop, too: the Willow Tea Rooms. I knew they'd been designed by Rennie Mackintosh, whose work I greatly admire. And I had never gotten to eat there during other visits, so I was really looking forward to it. But once there we found out that the original ones had been knocked down and this new version was created in the 1990s. And, like the Tenement House, the restaurant was much smaller than I expected.

I know, I know—you'll say it's because I'm an American used to Biggie-sized meals and McMansions. But really, it wasn't even the whole upstairs of a shop! Just sort of a walkway around the walls, with the middle part being open to look down into the shop. Small tables, small menu, and we sat waiting for ages for the bill, because we couldn't remember if the waitress brings the bill to you or if you go to the counter and pay.

Eventually Keith sorted it out and we wandered back to the train station, with me popping into shops here and there. We made it back on the train and into Cleland in time for a lovely Yorkshire pudding dinner.

I'm trying to decide if I regret not doing more in Glasgow. But I think it was probably just the lazy kind of day that we needed. To get our bearings at the beginning of the trip, rest up after the flight and before the wedding.

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