When we first decided to take this cruise I messaged my Facebook Friend Catherine. Her people are from the same town in Ireland that my people are from, Greencastle County Donegal. She found me while Googling, I think, a great uncle who I had written about on a visit to Greencastle. My folks went to the US, hers to Glasgow but we both feel a connection to Greencastle.
Catherine chose the Willow Tea Rooms on Buchannan Street. It’s decorated with the work of Rennie Mackinnon, an artist in the Art Nouveau and Secession schools. Catherine chose well. I love Art Nouveau. Suzi, Catherine and I spent three and a half hours telling stories, comparing impressions and enjoying each other’s company. Our meeting is a gift from Facebook.
Even though we spent several hours with Catherine we had time see a bit of Glasgow. When we got off Prinsendam in Greenock, the port for Glasgow, we hiked the mile to the train station and rode the half hour from Greenock to Glasgow Central, a fine old 19th century rail station.
Leaving the station, we discovered two things. Glasgow still has a lot of blue Police Call Boxes and almost all of them have been converted into espresso kiosks.
We also learned Glasgow has a sense of humor. The equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington is wearing a dunce cap, an orange traffic cone. Apparently, it started as a prank, the authorities removed the cone but it kept reappearing. The city said it was a costly prank. With labor and bureaucratic expense the City reckoned it cost about £100 to remove the cone each time it was placed on the Duke’s head. To deter this “vandalism” the city spent £65,000 pounds to raise the plinth by six feet and install security cameras. It didn’t work. Like the cat, the cone came back, and kept on coming. A Facebook Campaign garnered 72,000 “likes” in 24 hours to keep the cap. The city gave up, and Wellington has his orange cone.
Enjoying the traffic cone but eschewing the coffee dispensing Tardises we hoped on the hop on hop off (ho ho) bus. Ho ho took us to St. Mungo’s (see earlier post) and the Glasgow City Chambers, which claim to have more marble than St. Peter’s in Rome. I can imagine it. The lobby and the two grand staircases are, well, grand.
Following our visit with Catherine we caught the last Ho Ho and continued the drive around Glasgow sitting on top of a double decker bus.
After the Ho-Ho we dropped into several pubs looking for traditional music, it was Friday night, and we found mostly rock and roll or sports on big screen TVs in traditional oak paneled pubs. We did find one busker playing the fiddle, not exactly traditional but he has his own amplification to compete with the guy playing the war pipes down the street. (see picture above) As far as music in the pubs, however, the local tourist folk were clueless about traditional venues so we gave up and went back to the ship for a late dinner, sailing out at 11 PM.