We arrived in Glasgow, Scotland at around 9:30 on Friday morning. Exhausted from a late night learning about traditional Gaelic games, and an early morning prepping for our flight, we thought we might take it easy and spend the morning eating breakfast in a beautiful park near the national museum of art and history.
It was a smart decision. The park was mostly empty, leaving us to explore and enjoy it in relative solitude. The river flowed and the sun shone all morning long, letting us adjust and happily resume the schedule we'd planned out for that particular day.
What we hadn't anticipated, though, was stumbling upon a history professor. We'd been examining a beautiful fountain when someone pointed out the signs of the zodiac, wondering what they were doing. A man promptly turned around and started in on a history of the fountain and, eventually, Glasgow in its entirety, from the pollution in the waters of the city to the Lady of the Lake, and how this fountain was erected in honor of the man who thought to pump in clean water from a nearby loch for the city to drink.
We spent an hour or so talking to him about his city and landmarks he would recommend to us. It couldn't last much longer than that, though; we'd bought tickets for another engagement that morning, called "A Play, a Pie, and a Pint." The premise of the event is enjoying a drink, some food, and a theatrical performance in the basement of an old church that had been converted into a bar. The play this weekend was "The Yellow Wallpaper," which my friends and I enjoyed over either quiche or lamb pie. Though provided with the opportunity for a pint, most of us opted instead for water or a soft drink; it was still early in the day, and we wanted to get a little further than just the one pub.
So, of course, we did. We returned to the park we'd been exploring earlier and made our way through it, to the University on the other side. We'd been able to see it from the moment we got out of the taxi that morning, and had immediately decided on it as a necessary detour from our other plans. Though certain places, such as the library and the spire, are off limits to the public, the college itself is gorgeous and well worth walking through.
The Hunterian Museum, for example, is home to a wonderful collection of artifacts from ancient Rome and Egypt, and includes relics from earlier days at the university itself. You can learn about the wildlife surrounding Glasgow, as well as see the first meteorite to land in Scotland and read the newspaper article published about it.
The Hunterian Museum, though, might come second to the national museum. A combination of both art and natural history, the venue is huge and busy with all kinds of fun exhibitions. The left side is devoted to natural history, including taxidermied animals and relics from the medieval era, while the right is used for art from various time periods.
The museum is nearly impossible to explore all in one sitting; there are multiple floors, and each one is just as full as the previous. It was Dinosaur Day when we visited, as well, and I had the opportunity not only to speak with a professional on the subject but also to hold real fossils in my hand, including the vertebrae of a prehistoric crocodile!
Our next item on the agenda was to return to our hostel and check in. We discovered that we were going to be sharing a room that night with another girl our own age; her name is Janel, and we decided immediately to take her on with us as an honorary member of the group.
Janel came with us to the botanical gardens, where the flowers were all blooming despite overcast and rainy skies. We wandered along the trails, admiring the bright colors and interesting plants; there was even an entire section devoted to carnivorous plants, as well as medicinal herbs and trees.
Inside, too, were a number of older biblical statues that caught my eye. They seemed to fit right in among the plants and foliage. The sculptors were often of Scottish descent, although some were Italian; in any case, the sculptures were stunning, and I was happy to wander among them for at least a couple more hours.
But that wouldn't do. Our next stop was the famous Cathedral, a landmark within Glasgow known for its architecture and history. The building was beautiful even from the outside, and we took some time to admire it from within the museum next door.
Inside is a similar scene; tall, imposing arches climb overhead, and tourists walk around in near silence. Everything is hushed, and even the click of my camera caught the attention of anyone unfortunate enough to be standing near me.
Even on a rainy and overcast day, I was awed by the stained glass in the windows. Although they may be more vibrant on a sunny day, they were still visually stunning when we visited. The colors stood out against a grey and dull sky.
Saturday continued on in that quiet, peaceful fashion; we wandered around and explored the new city without making too many commitments or relying on a heavy schedule. That laid-back approach continued on into Sunday, when we found ourselves caught up in an Indian music festival in a park.
We read, danced, ate, did homework, and most certainly napped on the ground, surrounded by families and children enjoying the lovely weather and music on the final day of the weekend. It was a lovely way to end the entire trip, and we decided that we probably wouldn't get up to much else that day.
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<p>Hi! My name is Taylor Haggerty. I'm twenty years old and currently go to school in Bloomington, Indiana, for magazine design and poetry. This summer I'll be studying English and history in Dublin, Ireland!</p>