After long days, red-eye flights and notifying the family back home, it’s easy to get swept up in jet lag. I’ve found, however, that those first few days where I’m waking up before the sunrise can be the best because I can explore cities without anyone around – or at least without any tourists.
A while ago, I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy Glasgow in this fashion and despite being the largest city in Scotland, it felt very empty!
I started at City Hall and walked east, wandering through old buildings mixed with new graffiti, creating a fun, fresh mix to this University town.
Making a circle back towards city central, I noticed that its possible to actually go inside of the City Hall. In search of a beautiful view of the city, I walked inside. Beautifully ornate I was limited to only a few levels, although tours are offered throughout the day. Foregoing the wait for more adventures, I headed back outside to see what else this city had to offer.
The weather was beautiful out by this point – the sun was shining and there were only a couple of clouds in the sky. I found myself on Buchanan street (the main shopping spot) and looked through the kilt shops and “Scot Shops” (where you can buy every Scottish item imaginable). I took the time to read through some guidebooks that were being sold, looking for things to do (having had nothing planned) and decided to walk toward the Cathedral and “The Necropolis”. I didn’t know what a (I assumed “greek”) necropolis was or why it was in Scotland, but I figured I’d give it a shot. It turned out to be one of the best parts of Glasgow.
The necropolis is actually a giant, extremely old graveyard on the top of the hill. It has a beautiful view of the city, oddly serene as you read the old quotes and epitaphs on the tombstones. Right below the necropolis is the Glasgow Cathedral; dark, gothic and with a bright green roof. You can walk in and roam the halls to find old tombs, statues and stained glass.
Having found the best view of Glasgow, I headed back to the central square, continuing to pass people wearing green and white striped Celtics soccer jerseys. Why so many? I walked into a Celtic’s shop and found out that the final game of the Scottish Premiere League was happening the next day. Loving soccer, I bought some cheap 20$ tickets in store and then took a subway out to the University of Glasgow to see a different side of town.
After a hearty fish and chips meal and a nice walk through some botanical gardens, I ended up at the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, this University could easily be mistaken for a castle… turrets, old stone walls and beautiful cloisters.
Finally I finished my day out in Glasgow with Kelvingrove Park – 85 acres of herons, walking trails, an art museum, and sculptures – before heading back to my bed through the rain and hail (in true UK fashion).