Driving into Glasgow, Scotland was rather like driving in to any major US city, a freeway running right through it which drops you off at the city centre. My thoughts went to Hartford, Connecticut or even, in a much smaller way, Downtown Los Angeles, where the elevated 110 freeway slices through on its way to Pasadena. That is how I felt about the M8 which cut through Glasgow like a butterknife. To keep going we’d eventually run out of motorway and end up following along the River Clyde until it turned into Lochs.
But our focus for just one night was the city of Glasgow. I can’t explain how much I loved the little stone city, recent stand in for Philadelphia in the zombie flick “World War Z”, more that I thought I would. And it turns out I didn’t even see the half of it.
I was there for the architecture. I wanted to see Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, walk down Buchanan Street and visit Glasgow Cathedral. Unfortunately we arrived at our destination pretty late so that all we wanted to do was find a nice place to sit down for a meal and check in to our hotel. So why not see what we could see along the way?
Thus begins our walking tour of Glasgow.
After checking in to the budget friendly and incredibly comfortable Citizen M Hotel on Renfew Street, which by the way was incredibly easy. Computerized check in with staff on hand nearby in case one gets confused. We wanted a high floor, so it was necessary to talk to a lovely human.
Clever signs and copywriting. I approve:
And a stunning view.
Heading down Renfew toward Buchanan. I really liked the mix of old and new:
Buchanan Street – at least one thing off my list. The street is your basic pedestrian shopping thoroughfare, the more upmarket of the shopping areas of Glasgow. Though by the time we arrived there was no shopping to be had for us, just a lovely stroll.
Should we have stayed in town longer, taking the subway would have been a great way to get around the city. Again, I really appreciated the appearance of the modern glass subway access against the Victorian architecture. Pretty.
And next to Nelson Mandela Place (once St George’s Place, natch), the spire of St George’s Tron, Church of Scotland.
Looking down George Street. I can see why they may have used this area for Philly.
On the other side of the church, the old, Venetian Gothic style Glasgow Stock Exchange.
Now home to a bustling Urban Outfitters.
Looking east down St Vincent Place and more grand Victorian buildings. If I’m correct, on the right hand side, that cast-iron fencing may actually contain, erm, subterranean public convenience. Ahem.
On the left, it’s a bit dark due to the back light of the sun in the west, however at the corner of St Vincent Street I discovered a building that at one time was far too important to house a Post Office and Jack Wills.
In fact, with a little research, I found out quite quickly that the crest (which might be the Royal coat of arms) was on the old National Bank Chambers, the word “Impune” above the now modern Post Office sign.
A little further research and I found the motto of Scotland to be:
Nero me immune laces sit: No one provokes me with impunity.
Continuing our walking tour, we took a right on Gordon Street and found the entrance to Central Station, the Grand Central Hotel presiding above it. It is a beautiful specimen of the Queen Anne style. Or so I’ve read.
Our culinary destination was just around the bend from the station. After a day on the roads of England and Scotland, we were hungry for some steaks. And, housed in another stunning Victorian, The Grill on the Corner obliged.
It had some pretty amazing interior details. What this photo lacks in style and composition, the interior of this restaurant held in spades.
After a wonderful dinner that I can’t actually remember these almost three years later… although when I look at the menu, I have a certain hankering for the Sirloin or the Sea Trout, hoping the trout might be from local seas, but I may have just grabbed myself a burger, because there is nothing more lovely than a grass fed, premium beef burger. America, pull yourself together.
Upon leaving the restaurant, it was still light enough to snap a few more photos of the beautiful red brick found in the area. These have made some pretty awesome desktop images.
And being just past 9pm. And being full to the brim with tasty food. And arriving back at our little hotel with the 7th floor view. It was time to bid Glasgow adieu and bon nuit and get ready for tomorrow’s drive.
Isle of Skye, here we come.