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postcard from glasgow, scotland

Have you ever shown up at the airport drunk? What about on a Wednesday afternoon, alone, in a foreign country? There I was, wandering around Glasgow’s airport in search of my terminal, asking people idiotic questions like, “Where’s the bathroom?” while standing a few feet away from one, thinking I wonder if they can tell I’m American…

(Yes. Yes, they sure as hell could tell I was an American.)

The day I left London to spend some time with James in Glasgow, I met an English guy in a nondescript pub near Victoria Station, drank a few too many ciders, decided it was appropriate to kiss him in front of everyone at the train platform, got on the plane to Scotland and plopped down smiling at my burly seatmate, who had the thickest Scottish accent I had ever heard. It was a good day.

As I sobered up, we descended into Scotland. My previous trips had been by train; the greenery of Scotland from the sky was captivating:

DescentIntoScotlandIMG_3291Perked me back up after feeling slightly hungover after all those afternoon beverages…

This was my third trip to Scotland, and each time I’ve found that I’m surprised by the utter friendliness of the people. London will forever be my first true travel love, but the English ain’t got nothing on the Scots when it comes to hospitality and warmth and general geniality. My cab driver chatted me up for the entirety of the ride from the airport to James’ flat, sharing stories of his 1970s road trips around America and his brother who lived in Michigan and how much he just loves, loves, loves his dear old Scotland — especially Glasgow.

We arrived at 76 Thornwood Avenue (an address I somehow still remember after a year’s worth of letters and cards to my pally), and James greeted me with homemade salmon, roasted brussel sprouts, peach champagne, and his own rendition of sweet potato dumplings — this was just days after our trip to Prague and we were still reeling from the magic of the place.

dinnerHow has he not been snatched up yet?IMG_3417

James was finishing up his masters’ degree at the University of Glasgow, so I took advantage of being on the right side of the pond and let him tour me around for a few days before heading back home. Scotland only ever gets more beautiful, more breathtaking, more green and welcoming and refreshing. It being my first time in Glasgow, he took me to the university, one his favorite bars, Brew Dog (has anyone else gotten addicted to the show?), through parks and shopping streets and cathedrals.

IMG_3349 IMG_3360 IMG_3359

Again, I regret not bringing the ole DSLR. Clunky, but would have been worth it. I guess I’ll just have to go back to Glasgow another time with the big camera… GOSH DARN IT.

IMG_3373IMG_3374 IMG_3383 IMG_3401 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWe sat here for awhile and contemplated life.brew dogHaggis burgers. Only in Scotland…!IMG_3384Brew Dog. Such an awesome place! And since we went during the afternoon on a weekday, it was essentially empty (aside from a few moms having some beers while their babies ran around and ate off the tables. Oh the Scots.)

This trip to Glasgow only reaffirmed how much more of Scotland is left to experience. On my previous trips to Edinburgh and St. Andrews, I saw a classier, more sophisticated side of the country – it was all royalty and architecture and men in kilts. Glasgow was grunge and grit and soul. Next stop: I think it’s time for the Highlands and the northern islands!

Have you been to Glasgow? What did you like about it?

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10 Comments

  • Reply mmccreadie

    Strangely you started following my blog today and at about 23 seconds into the video of you landing at Glasgow you can just about see the building I work. I’m not stalking you though it’s just and odd coincidence…

    November 3, 2014 at 11:10 am
  • Reply papict

    Thank you for your kind words about Scotland and Scots. I am glad you found a warm welcome greeted you there. As a Scot, I am very familiar with Glasgow. One of my children is even technically a Glaswegian since he was born there (and the others just outside in Paisley). It is a beautiful city, full of history and incredible architecture and green spaces. The Kelvingrove is one of my favourite places to visit in the world. If you do return to Scotland, perhaps you will head out to where we used to live, in Argyll, and explore the castles and ruins, the standing stones and the islands. Alternatively, I would also recommend another trip to Fife (my homeland – hence the “Pict”) but to see more than just St Andrews – wander along the East Neuk coastline and see the fishing villages and visit historic places like Falkland and Culross.

    November 3, 2014 at 11:16 am
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      Wow thank you so much for all the recommendations! Because my close friend attended universities there for 5 years, I’ve had a small connection to the place for awhile now and am perpetually intrigued by the culture and breathtaking landscapes!! Exploring Scotland extensively has always been high on my travel to-do list 🙂

      November 3, 2014 at 11:22 am
      • Reply papict

        I am obviously incredibly biased, but I think Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There is so much variety in the landscape, the architecture, the cultures and all those layers of history. When you do decide where in Scotland you are off to next, don’t hesitate to ask and I will give you some recommendations of highlights and off-the-beaten track places to explore.

        November 3, 2014 at 11:29 am
        • Reply Kristen Hopf

          I agree – Scotland is incredibly beautiful. I definitely won’t hesitate, but it most likely won’t be anytime soon. My upcoming adventures are taking me out west! 🙂

          November 3, 2014 at 11:30 am
  • Reply Moani Hood

    So pretty there! And I love Brew Dogs. They are hilarious. One of my favorite shows. I can’t wait to visit their home someday 🙂

    November 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      YES they’re seriously hilarious. Definitely check out the Glasgow bar!

      November 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm
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