Glasgow

Scotland might just be my new favorite country…

We hit the Airbnb jackpot and found a spare bedroom in a family’s home just outside of the city. Stuart and Fran hosted us exceptionally well and had two great kids – one of whom played the bagpipes for us (with some parental encouragement).

The view from their backyard was spectacular. We were able to see the famous Scottish hills from our bedroom window.

Stuart walked us to the local train station the morning after we arrived and helped us get tickets into the city. After a short train ride, we arrived in Glasgow! We wanted to see University of Glasgow and it’s museums, so we took the scenic way by walking through Kelvingrove Park. Like any park, it was full of grass and trees, but somehow the atmosphere felt much lovelier than a “normal” park, and we found ourselves wanting to take a leisurely stroll just to enjoy it more.

We were both absolutely amazed at the beauty of University of Glasgow. It felt just like a scene out of Harry Potter. At my first WiFi connection, I checked to see if they offered a PhD program in counseling psychology (They do!) just in case I need an excuse to come back to Glasgow again.

(Here I am with my potential new school ha ha)

But in all seriousness, the campus and architecture were amazing. We walked all around campus just to see more of it.

Our first stop on campus was The Hunterian, which is a museum that houses the vast collection of scientific artifacts belonging to people like William Hunter and Lord Kelvin.

Thomas was particularly captivated by this museum – which was free – and was snapping pictures of everything. He kept saying, “Hey Emma, come look at this!” He was like a kid in a candy shop.

Apparently, William Hunter had quite a collection of various pieces of anatomy preserved in jars, with anything from worms to unborn babies still in the uterus. It was really a sight to see.

There was also a collection of Roman artifacts and other ancient things, like this dinosaur leg that could eat my leg for a snack.

We saw a group of fossilized dinosaur eggs that were approximately 150 million years old, which (I think) is officially the oldest thing I’ve ever seen.

After the museum, we walked back through the park to get to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which was also free! The exterior of the building was impressive enough itself.

The inside was filled with three floors of various paintings and artists, including Dali, Monet, and Van Gogh. We were feeling pressed for time, so we kind of speed-walked through the museum, but it was still very fun to see so many works of art. It kind of felt like a mini Louvre.

However, the most eye-catching part was the mobile structure of human faces with different emotions. It hung in the middle of the museum so it could be seen from all floors on all sides.

Here, Thomas and I are doing our best impressions of the faces:

The whole museum had several interactive stations which helped viewers understand more about each painting and make a cognitive connection to it. For instance, one station had a scavenger hunt about a painting with lots of objects. Another station had costumes and a backdrop that let people recreate a person in a painting, and there was one more with a personality quiz to help people decide which person he or she was most suited for in another painting.

The bottom floor was full of more modern artwork, as well as some more science-y things, like a glass beehive. Thomas also found his doppelgänger (not really).

We also saw the largest fir tree stump from Canada before heading back out to the city.

Next, we walked to Glasgow Tower with hopes of taking a ride to the top (kind of like the Seattle Space Needle), but when we got there, the tower was closed! This was definitely a bummer, but I was glad we walked that way to see the bridges, the river, and the stadium.

We spent the next couple of hours seeing the other side of Glasgow by public transportation to give our legs a rest before (finally) gettin something to eat at Paesano’s Pizza, which was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts. It was delicious Italian pizza made with imported Italian ingredients by Polish people!

We took the train back to the Airbnb and had some tea with Stuart and Fran, who offered to take us on a drive to see some other parts of Glasgow.

They took us to see the Kelpies, which were these two giant sculptures of horse heads along the canals. They were really quite impressive to see, and the weather was great for the stroll around the canals and sculptures!

After checking out the impressive design and structure of the horses, we got a bit silly with our photo poses…

Nearby was the famous Falkirk Wheel, which is an engineering miracle, in my opinion. It’s a wheeled canal that brings boats from the river up to a different canal on top of a hill (and visa versa). Even though we didn’t get to see it in action, Fran and Stuart showed us a video. If you have the time and interest, definitely google it.

The sun was almost gone, so we went back to the house. Fran cooked some haggis for us, and we actually really liked it! We ate it with mashed potatoes, mashed carrots, and a pepper sauce. I don’t know if it was just Frans’ cooking, but I would definitely try it again!

The next morning, I was truly blown away by the hospitality when Fran packed us a bag of muffins, water bottles, and juices, and Stuart took us to the car rental return and to our train station.

I am sure that we will be back in Scotland again, because 1.5 days was just not enough. Maybe you’ll see me at University of Glasgow some day!

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