We took the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow this morning. Moving all of our gear is akin to moving a small army from one strategic location to another. I wish I were a better quartermaster!
After arriving at the hotel we dropped our luggage, caught our breath, and then set off on a walking tour to explore the city. We noticed instantly the difference between the feel in Glasgow when compared to Edinburgh. Glasgow feels more vibrant and youthful. It has a working class reputation, but it feels bustling and alive while Edinburgh felt a bit more cold and formal.
While exploring we happened to find the most American eatery imaginable not named McDonalds – Five Guys. Several of us soaked up what we thought might have been the last American meal we would have over the next month. And yes, it was delicious! 😉
After lunch we walked down to a pen store where I purchased a new limited edition Lamy fountain pen. I try to get a new Lamy every time I visit the UK. They are marvelous pens and have the added benefit of being inexpensive. School kids in the UK are required to use fountain pens for their coursework from the 5th grade on, so they are much easier to find here than in the US. If you’ve never used a fountain pen, I encourage you to try it out; and you simply you can’t beat a Lamy as an excellent entry level fountain pen.
After leaving the pen shop we carried on to a game store where the students bought several board games to play on the island. There aren’t going to be too many entertainment options in South Uist, so game nights are probably going to be needed to avoid boredom. The students actually couldn’t wait to play some games, so they decided to break them out tonight and are presently in the hotel lobby playing Scottish Monopoloy.
While out and about we also stopped in to check out a store we hadn’t anticipated seeing – a candy shop specializing in American candy and snacks. I was a bit dumbstruck as English sweets are considered among the best in the world, whereas our’s aren’t considered all that great in comparison. To each their own, I guess.
We returned to the hotel around 3 and relaxed until 6 when we ventured out for dinner. We went American for the second time today by stopping at a Kansas City style BBQ joint. It was fantastic! I told the students “you come to Scotland for the archaeology but stay for the BBQ!”
Since we weren’t quite completely stuffed, we stopped at a gelato shop and indulged our sweettooths with some amazing desserts. There were some very odd flavors on offer, including Scottish Tablet, but it’s gelato so how bad could it be? Of course several of us had to try the Tablet. It was absolutely delicious, but completely indescribable. It simply doesn’t taste like anything else I’ve ever eaten (but in a good way).
Just to remind the students this isn’t an “eat your way across Scotland course,” we walked to the Glasgow School or Art & Architecture to take in the main building designed by famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Even though the building was damaged by fire in 2014 and is presently being restored, you can easily see why Mackintosh is considered one of the premier figures in early 20th Century architecture. Without exaggeration, if there had been no Mackintosh there would probably have been no Frank Lloyd Wright, no organic architecture, and no Prarie School. Of course, that is the first time I’ve put my architecture degree to use in years, so all that tuition wasn’t completely wasted after all! 🙂