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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Glasgow, Scotland

Last week we took a long weekend trip up to Scotland. This was another Brian planned trip, so as usual, I didn't know any of the details. All I knew was that we were flying to Glasgow where we would spend the day, and then our friends would meet us in the afternoon and we would drive a couple of hours to our final destination. More on that bit of the trip to come, but first I wanted to share with you the time we spent in Glasgow.

I have to admit, I had absolutely no expectations for Glasgow. It's not that I thought ill of the small city, I just didn't know anything about it. I can happily say that I was pleasantly surprised by this charming city on the river. There are numerous ways to spend your time - shopping, museums, exhibits, churches...the list goes on and on.

We arrived very unprepared. I hadn't done any research or read any books before landing. We grabbed a map from the rent-a-car desk and made our way in to the center of town. After a quick caffeine boost we decided that we would wander over to the Necropolis. Actually, we thought we were headed someplace else, but when we finally rolled up to the Glasgow Cathedral and wandered over the bridge, I realized that we were not in Kansas anymore.

Err. Right, you know what I mean.

The Necropolis is one of the oldest burial grounds in the UK, and one of the most significant in all of Europe. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year, who come to visit the 50,000 tombs and wander the hilly grounds. The cemetery opened in 1833 as a non-denominational burial ground and contains the tombs and graves of some of the most important Glaswegian (yeah I had to look that up) members of society during the Victorian era. 

The path from the bridge meanders and wanders over the hills up to the highest point which over looks the Glasgow Cathedral. There are some amazing tombs, gravestones and sculptures and you could spend hours researching and learning about the people who rest here. 

After a quick peek inside the Cathedral we were feeling the effects of waking up at 4am and our tummys were rumbling. A quick twitter Q&A with Traveller magazine and we were on our way to one of Glasgow's favorite restaurants - Cafe Gandolfi.

Cafe Gandolfi has been around for decades and continues to be one of the most recommended, well known restaurants in Glasgow. And for good reason! The traditional Scottish dishes, laid back vibe and friendly staff make it hard not to like this place.  Even though we steered clear of traditional Scottish dishes for lunch (haggis and black pudding are not really our thing...shocking, right?) we both devoured our meals. A pint of local, Scottish brew and a kick-butt lemon tart later and we were feelin' the love for this charming local favorite. Not to mention that the tables and chairs were some of the coolest I've seen in a long while. Made of thick, heavy wood and polished to give it a healthy, worn look (which might have occurred naturally after 30+ years on the scene!) we couldn't stop staring at them and commenting on how rad they were.

Before we knew it our day in Glasgow was over. We had to head back to the airport to pick up our friends.  Then we were heading Northwest into the Scottish Highlands!


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