Bright sky, big city. Part 2.

Each red sightseeing bus has a tour guide, talking about the history and anecdotes of the city as you drive around. The tour circles most of the oldest parts of the city, heads over to the waterfront (which used to be the shipbuilding capital of the world) and then skirts the west end before returning to the center. I later found there’s actually a lot of Glasgow beyond this circle. But it was nice to see and get a general orientation of the city. Plus, having someone else drive and being able to sit up top on a cool, sunny day — well, it was stress free traveling all day! 

I rode the bus for about 3/4 of its loop before getting off at the University of Glasgow/Hunterian Museum stop. Before getting off, I heard tons of info about the early origins of Glasgow, it’s maritime and commercial rise to power in the mid 18th to mid 19th century, it’s transition into the 20th century and then changes that have taken place since the decline of the docks and shipbuilding industry which were its economic base until the 1970s. I chose to get off at the Hunterian because it houses a recreation of the Charles Rennie MacIntosh and Margaret MacDonald home. Their original house was destroyed when the Victorian buildings in the area were condemned. Luckily, the interiors, furnishings and other accoutrements of their home were saved. Later, the university built a to-scale replica of the building so the interiors could be exactly reassembled. The recreation of that home was my first stop. While I waited for the guided tour of the MacIntosh home, I had a chance to peruse the museum’s large collection of paintings by JM Whistler and also The Glasgow Boys. 

I have no pictures of the MacIntosh home, unfortunately. They don’t allow you to take any. What’s more, you only get to see the place in a small group of 8 or fewer people, accompanied by two tour guides. With walkie-talkies. I’m not quite sure what they think people will do, yank off a random chair arm? Still, it was beautiful and impressive work. I rather liked Margaret’s work more than Charles’s because she actually designed and made her stuff. He designed and then had others do his fabricating. In fact, I also greatly admired her paintings, glassworks and metalwork and wondered why I’d only ever heard his name. Then again, maybe I don’t wonder about that a bit.

What I do have are some pictures of the outside of the museum, the University through which I wandered, and some misc pics taken during the bus tour.

On the bus, starting out in King George square. Scottish parliament housed in the building beyond.
Heading into the oldest part of the city.
The People’s Palace museum with glass arboretum and lovely grounds.
Checking out the city.
Along the Clyde river, former shipbuilding mecca of the world.
Some of the giant cranes were retained as a marker of the waterfront’s former indusrtrial glory.
Affectionately dubbed “The Armadillo” by Glaswegians… this building is part of a complex of performance and sports arenas deigned by Norman Foster.
The Glasgow Museum of Transportation. Very bummed out I did not have time to get back to this amazing building, designed by Zaha Hadid.
The very famous and beautiful Kelvingrove Art Museum. Another on the list of “I’d like time to get back and explore that place!”
Glasgow was full of beautiful parks as well as stately stone buildings.
The Hunterian museum, and across from it, the University of Glasgow (next three).

I rode the bus some more, taking another loop around with a different tour guide. Her accent was much easier to understand and she offered a whole new range of city anecdotes and history. Got off at the stop for Glasgow Cathedral. Really an incredible building. It was probably four times the size of the Bath Abbey. Across the way from it was also a large necropolis. It has been the city’s burial place for hundreds of years. It stands on one of the highest points of Glasgow, so affords view in every direction. All these next pics are from there.

I then got back on the red bus and rode it over to the West End, where I met up with some knitting ladies having their weekly craft night in a pub (yet another informational tidbit collected from Ravelry). Here again, as in Bath, knitters tend to meet up in pubs because no single person’s house is large enough to host a group. I also saw another crafting group meeting in the pub, this time it was sewers. Really! And they brought their sewing machines to the pub!

By the time I took a bus back to the hotel, it was quite late. Once again, I hit the bed hard.

With just a short morning left before leaving Glasgow, I had time for one more adventure. Just down the road from my hotel was The Willow Tea Rooms, an extant design of Charles Rennie MacIntosh. I went there for breakfast. The current owners also keep the upstairs rooms open to the public, so I was able to wander up and take pictures. Beautiful stuff. Also quite good tea.

Next thing I knew, it was time to walk up to Glasgow’s central bus station (Buchannan) and catch a bus north to Milgavie (pronounced mull-guy). I wandered out to the correct “stance” and waited and waited. The bus was a bit late but eventually arrived and I was off again! I watched Glassgow transition from dense urban core to suburbs and then to outlying villages in about 30 minutes. The bus dropped me right next to a big arch that said “West Highland Way”. I thought “Oh , great! I’ll get to do some hiking again and see how much of this famous trail I can explore!” 

I laugh now to remember those thoughts because once on Ardunan Farm, there was hardly a minute to spare!

Next: My first farm stay, how heavy a bucket of water can be, and hiking in the heat is still f-ing miserable. Love to you all!

P.S. I love that The Dollar Store has a different name here. Cracks me up every time I see one.


  1. I am thrilled for your architectural background as I continue to be thoroughly engrossed in your pictures and accompanying narrative.
    I will be googling Charles Rennie Macintosh so I can delight some more in his Art Nouveau.

    And of course a dollar store would be called a pound shop. Gives me the giggles.


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