The last time I went to Glasgow was on a very hot day in the summer of 1982. I was with my family and we had driven up for the day from the south of Scotland where we holidayed frequently at our caravan. I had spent some pocket money on an album by Visage, one of my favourite groups of the time, and it was so hot that the vinyl record melted in the boot of our car. It’s funny, the things we remember. I don’t recall anything else about that day or any other childhood visits, so yesterday’s long overdue return was like going for the first time…. and this time it definitely wasn’t hot.
One of the best ways to get a flavour of a city when time is short is by boarding a sightseeing bus. Although still quite mild for November, it was a bit nippy on the open top deck. We started our tour at George Square where Christmas decorations had already been installed .
The agreeable voice of suave TV historian Neil Oliver provided the recorded commentary as we wound our way around the city.
Glasgow has some fantastic murals. It would be worth spending a day looking at the city’s outstanding street art (I might well do that!). I love this depiction of the city’s founder, Saint Mungo, on High Street. Represented as a modern man, Mungo tenderly handles the bird that never flew which he is said to have restored to life after having been wrongly blamed for its death. The story of the wild robin tamed by Mungo’s master, Saint Serf, is part of the story of the city’s origins and is included in its motto:
‘Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam.’
The tollbooth steeple clock stands at the junction of four main mediaeval streets. It is all that remains of the early 17th century civic building which it had once stood atop.
I didn’t visit the Purple Cat cafe, but thought it was a great name!
Glasgow Green is in the city’s east end. I really wanted to spend some time here exploring the beautiful People’s Palace but in the end we didn’t have time to go back; such a shame as it looked so lovely, but even more reason to visit again!
We journeyed on alongside the river Clyde, passing the Riverside Museum and Scottish Events Campus
From the riverside location our bus continued towards the west of the city. It was a bright and sunny day and the colours of autumn were glorious.
Alighting in salubrious Kelvingrove, we enjoyed a warming and very tasty lunch near the welcoming coal fire of The 78, a popular vegan bar restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and an interesting and delicious menu.
Warmed and reinvigorated, we walked to our main destination, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, stopping at the bridge over the river Kelvin to admire the water below, the autumnal trees and the bronze-cast sculptures, including this 1926 depiction of Philosophy and Inspiration. I have a feeling that the skull’s eyes are a much more recent addition.
The grounds of Kelvingrove Gallery are lovely and are a perfect setting for the location of the many exquisite objects within.
Having come to the end of our mini tour of a marvellous city, off we went to enjoy some awesome Scottish art and art-deco designs which I’ll be sharing with you soon.