Glasgow: A Day of Museums, Festivals, and a TV Show

There’s a heatwave in Europe this summer. Temperatures in Spain are close to 115 degrees Fahrenheit which is a record and in London it’s in the high 80s. We are lucky. Here in Glasgow it was nice and cool today with weather in the 70s and no rain,

Our day started with a nice surprise. At breakfast everyone was presented with a basket of fresh strawberries. To be fair, there was also a card for Trip Advisor, but we appreciated the sweet treat anyway.

The subway system here was the third built in the world. There’s only one route which is a circle around the city so it’s easy to navigate. We took it to the Riverside Museum which is a transportation museum. When we arrived it wasn’t open yet so we watched young children play on a huge beach they had created. Soon a cheer rang out from the crowd, the doors to the museum opened, and we all headed inside.

Inside the museum were old cars, trains, bikes, buses, and trucks. In a recreation of an 1895-1930s town, children eagerly tried on old fashioned clothes for an old time photo. Upstairs, an adorable exhibit had children learning how to cross a street safely using a crosswalk. It was so cute to see a group of preschoolers waiting for the crosswalk signal to turn green and beep again and again.

One interesting exhibit was a van from Pakistan beautifully painted with intricate designs.

Behind the museum was a tall sailing ship you could tour. I have no idea how anyone could have survived such tight living conditions. Kids were invited to swab the decks.

Buchanan Street was a beehive of activity. We ate lunch at the Willow Tea Rooms designed by Mackintosh, the famous architect from Glasgow. Tea Rooms were designed to be an alternative to pubs. The pièce de résistance was a three tiered stand with scones, sandwiches, shortbread, and cakes with whipped cream it we decided on a salad instead. My tea was served cold over ice with a steaming hot pitcher of the same tea with no mug. I thought it tasted like watered down Hawaiian Punch.

After lunch we toured the Lighthouse Scottish Center for Architecture and Design. The building, designed by Mackintosh, was built in the 1890s for the Glasgow Herald. Today it’s a museum and you can climb a series of winding steps to the top for a sweeping view of the city.

Just down the street was my favorite store, Cath Kidston. I love their floral and nature patterns and the entire store smells of roses and sweet pea flowers. As usual I circle the perimeter of the store about five times before making my selection. I wish they had a store in America.

On our way back to the subway we spotted a huge festival for the European Championships here. We noticed that people were just walking in to the bag check area so followed them in. There was a festive atmosphere with people enjoying food and drinks on benches conveniently placed around a stage. Huge screens showed some of the events and we could see dignitaries being interviewed in the broadcast booths. We were just taking it all in when a man from the BBC invited us to join in a live broadcast. It was a short clip where the reporter gets everyone to cheer and the director stood behind her and led us in a dance. It was a lot of fun.

Dinner tonight was back at the Ubiquitous Chip where we ate when we first arrived. We love this restaurant and the fish with pea and potato purée is amazing. On the way back to the hotel, people were outside at cafes. This is the first weekend of European vacation. We’ll miss it here. Tomorrow we head north to the small seaside town of Oban.

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