Happy Birthday to the_summoning_d, who was our gracious guide in Glasgow.
Woke up to a knock on the door advising us that the power was off on the whole block and that if we wanted breakfast we had to walk about two blocks. We staggered at least four blocks in a warm gloom to the B&B’s sister property. Same breakfast , but an annoying TV set on the wall showing Friends and Frasier reruns.
We ate and then made a stop back at the Castleview, then headed to the train station for our trip to Glasgow. Lots of sheep, cows and horses, as well as vast yellow fields of the unfortunately named rapeseed. Arrived in Glasgow, Queen St. Station, only to encounter immediate problems.
I was supposed to meet the_summoning_d at the gates of “the university” at 1:00PM. Somehow I’d gotten it in my head that said university was near where the train let us off and the tour bus started. She said it looked like Hogwarts. By this time I was starting to get the feeling that everything in Scotland looked like Hogwarts. There was a very large Hogwartsy looking building near the Queen St. Station, but a tour bus driver told Hubby it wasn’t the university .
Turns out there are three universities IN Glasgow and that the University OF Glasgow was three miles away, although it was on the tour bus route. Keeping up my streak of flakiness, I hadn’t written D’s mobile number down.
I needed computer access, so we went looking for an internet café, but ended up at the Apple store. I was able to use a computer and get to my email and D’s mobile number. I called and found out I was an idiot. (Not that I hadn’t figured this out already.) With that information, we got on the tour bus to see a bit of Glasgow.
It was somewhat gloomy at this point but still fairly dry. The most interesting things we learned on the tour were that Glaswegians have nicknames for most of their monuments and landmarks and that UG students like to put traffic cones on the heads of statues. We already seen one on James Watt and the tour guides pointed out one on a statue of Lord Nelson. (Hubby and I couldn’t help thinking it would be really impressive to get one on the Nelson statue in Trafalgar Square. )
We stayed on the bus until we got to the University of Glasgow, which was much bigger and Hogwartsier looking than the other building. We were early to meet the_summoning_d so we went looking for a bathroom and then poked around the giftshop.
Speaking of toilets: Hubby had developed a HATRED for pay toilets which were found in most of the airports and train stations we encountered in the UK. I totally understood the necessity in a big city like Edinburgh or a massive one like London, because otherwise there’s no way to 1. Keep out the homeless and 2. Keep it from eating filthy, but hubby said he’s rather pay more for the ticket and be able to pee when he needed to. Keep in mind hubby drinks a LOT of coffee.
Since I’m digressing, I’ll also mention that Hubby drinks his coffee with sugar and no cream. That’s “regular” in the US, but in the UK, it’s “Americano.” He kept forgetting to order Americano and getting it with cream and sugar. End of digression.
I had told Summoning_D that hubby would be playing the shakuhachi and that he would be difficult to miss. She found us and proceeded to do a smashing job of tour-guiding us around The University of Glasgow and the Kelvingrove Galleries and then took us to Ashoka for some amazing Chicken Tikka Masala, there by restoring the honor of Scotland’s reputation for Indian food.
I did discover that a sugar-free IRN-BRU does not work AT ALL. At least not for me. Really nasty.
Then we went to the Botanic Gardens
Where we saw pretty flowers, well-behaved dogs and no so well-behaved children. And this guy:
Our next stop was Tchai-Ovna, one of my favorite places of the entire trip. It was like something from the East Village, circa 1965. Off a side street, down in a basement, nice and warm. We sat for hours and talked and drank tea. I ordered the Bombay Lemongrass Chai. OMGOMGOMG!!!! This stuff was so fucking good! Sweet and creamy and lemony. One of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I never wanted to leave, but it was getting late, so the_summoning_d was kind enough to walk us back to the train station, presumably that whole three miles.
It was starting to rain, but also getting windy, so the umbrella was a totally lame idea.
We got to the station in plenty of time and also back to Edinburgh in plenty of time for Karaoke, way too early in fact. We hit Sainsbury’s for some snacks and soda and took them back to the B&B. Then we went back to Burns’ Bothy for Karaoke.
The set- up there is that you just stand in the middle of the room and sing. There’s a DJ console, but no song books. You just ask the KJ if he has the song. They also play songs in between Karaoke performances.
There were no other women singing while I was there and the four men in rotation were middle-aged. I might have impressed them just by being female and youngish. They were also four of the drunkest Scottish men I have ever seen in my life. I felt like a princess and I had a blast.
I sang “This Magic Moment,” “It’s Late,” and “Millenium” and called it quits after about an hour and half, which was about as much as hubby could handle, but honestly…I could have sung all night!