We woke up quite early so I got some coffees from the hotel restaurant. We had a brunch reservation for 11:00 and Glasgow was doing its wet thing this morning, so we decided to have a slow start and watch a movie in bed. The in-house entertainment system had a reasonable selection so we made a start on La La Land – it’s been on our list for a while and seemed fluffy enough for a lazy Sunday.
We watched an hour or so then hit the rainy streets. Sauchiehall Street runs right through the city centre and is pedestrianised a lot of the way. We followed it back towards West End, taking a few detours around grand Victorian and Georgian crescents and terraces.
Stravaigin is a bar, restaurant, music venue and all round cosy place to be on a wet Sunday. They source as much as possible from local farms and producers and the menu has a wide variety of brunch dishes from around the world. We settled on Indonesian and Mexican eggs, both were very tasty – Florence’s was accompanied by a Bloody Maria – tequila not vodka.
The rain continued as we made our way through Kelvinside Park to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. A soggy looking rat scampered across our path. The River Kelvin got noisier as the water levels rose.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a huge Victorian edifice containing an eclectic mixture of art, sculpture, stuffed animals and a spitfire. The section on Scottish Life had a poster inviting people to emigrate to New Zealand – we’d seen the other end of this story in museums in Wellington and Dunedin not long ago. There is a feeling of trying to display everything they have without a lot of coherent themes, or so it seemed to us. Some rooms try to explain the works on show; the display about reading a picture was very good, but overall we left with the impression of a few highlights amongst a jumble of works. The highlights included a very calm Lowry seascape that seemed completely out of step with his usual work and some Signac landscapes.
The rain had reduced to heavy as google maps guided us on the 17 minute walk to the Riverside museum. The museum opened in 2011 to house the city’s history of transport collection. It was designed by Zaha Hadid and won the European Museum of the year award in 2013. It houses an extensive collection of cars, trams, buses, railway engines, model ships and transport related items. The largest exhibit is a locomotive built for South Africa in Glasgow in 1945. The explanation makes a point of explaining the impact of apartheid on the South African railways. Florence seemed particularly interested in my explanation of the wheel layout of the Caledonian Railways engine from 1880. It made me feel old to see some model railways that I’d once played with in a museum cabinet.
We stopped in the cafe for a tea and snack. As we sat down, the rain was lashing the windows. 10 minutes later the sun was out so we had a look round the outside of the building while we could.
It wouldn’t be right to come to Glasgow and not ride on the third oldest subway in the world – behind London and Budapest since you ask. There is only one circular route and the trains take about 30 minutes to complete a circuit. The trains are tiny compared with London and only four coaches long.
The blue sky had returned when we left Cowcaddens station and walked back down to Sauchiehall Street to explore the Centre for Contemporary Arts. The main exhibition featured work by an Indian artist with wide-ranging themes around male-dominance and political protest, after a long day we found it hard to understand these works. The Centre also has a busy bar, cafe, music venue and a cinema which is currently hosting the Scottish Queer International Film Festival – SQIFF!
Although it was only 6:00 Florence was demanding food; Rumours Kopiliam is a Malaysian restaurant in the City Centre, not much to look at but the food was very tasty: mock chicken curry, chilli fried tofu and coconut rice.
Last activity of the night was another whisky bar. Òran Mór used to be a church, now it’s a bar, restaurant, music venue and theatre. Lunchtimes they offer ‘a play, a pie and a pint’ for £13.00. We tried a couple more whiskies, sticking to the island theme to fit with the theme of the forthcoming week. Florence had a Port Charlotte and a Bruichladdich and I had a Talisker Storm and a Caol Ila. After the bar, we walked down Byres Road and Ashton Lane – places we hadn’t managed to get to yet.
Finally back to the hotel to finish the film.