Sunday, July 25
We awake at 8am, ready to start our day. We sleep great, mostly because we were tired. Geoff realizes the bed is actually two twins pushed together. You can feel the springs, and the gap between the beds, but usually I’m so tired, I don’t care. We have quick showers, then head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast is very expensive, and we find that we can order the express breakfast for £3, which is coffee/tea/juice and a pastry/croissant. We eat in the lobby, consult our maps and depart for George Square. George Square is another part of city center, named for King George. It houses several statues, such as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Robbie Burns, James Watt, but at the center on a huge pillar is Sir Walter Scott. The spot was reserved for King George, but he went mad before his statue was finished, so they scrapped the idea. We find the tourist information centre, which has some cool souvenirs. From there we go to the Museum of Modern Art. Outside the museum there is a statue of Wellington, who apparently always has a traffic cone on his head. I have a picture to prove it. The interior of the museum is beautiful. The ceilings are pretty ornate, and it’s a fairly small museum. Most of their collection is stored at Kelvingrove Museum, which is closed for renovations until 2006. Some of the paintings I see I really like, simple compositions. Some are very dark, and disturbing, but then art can be like that. There are two floors of really out there “art”. Videos of strange things. For an example, a child holding his breath while he travels in a car through a tunnel. Whether that is art is up to the beholder I suppose. Geoff says it is a gallery Grandma Bessie would not like. Reminds him of an incident at a gallery with a pile of felt on the floor, that was supposed to be art, but Grandma Bessie took as trash.
A block away, we head to the Willow Tea Room, which is famous for having been designed by Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There are actually two locations; this one is on Buchanan Street. Located on the second floor, it has a wonderful design. Tea and nibbles are served in the White room, and we find a seat by an open window overlooking Buchanan. I order a cheese sandwich, and Geoff orders haggis, neeps and tatties (neeps are turnips, tatties are potatoes). Only Geoff has tea, as I had some with breakfast and am not ready for more. From below our open window, we hear some beautiful classical guitar. My sandwich is good, but I am still not feeling well enough to eat it all. Geoff devours his lunch with glee, sighing that he doesn’t get to enjoy mashed turnips anymore. He thinks the last time was before we were married, while he was still living at home. He is convinced it’s the best haggis he’s ever had, and it doesn’t look anything like I pictured. After savoring the atmosphere, and buying a souvenir for ourselves, we leave the Willow Tea Room. Once back outside, we find the guitar player, and give him a pound. We make our way back to the hotel so Geoff can attend the afternoon sessions at the conference, and I have a short nap before taking off on my own for the Botanical Garden. Geoff presents his poster and chats up with Ole Hindsgaul and Monica Palcic from the U of A. They have all you can drink tea, so Geoff takes advantage of that. I start my journey towards the Botanical Garden, not quite knowing how I’ll get there, but pointing myself in the right direction. Along the way I pass Kelvingrove Museum and take a picture. I also cross over the Kelvin River. It takes 40 minutes to get there, and I find it’s not quite what I expected. It’s a little like the Legislative grounds in Edmonton, but not really. It’s a huge open grass area with a lot of trees, and people everywhere lounging in the sun. Families, seniors, and everyone in between is just hanging out in the sun. I make my way into the greenhouse to look about. It’s not too exciting to me, so I head out and find a path that leads down the Kelvin River.
There are some paths you can take to walk along the river, and trees shade it all. I stand on a bridge and just watch the water, stare at deep green trees. I then turn to watch some lady throw away what totals a whole loaf of bread off the bridge. I saw only one duck in the water, and I think the pigeons on the bridge are annoyed. I walk back up to the garden, and have a quick rest. As I leave the garden, I purchase a bottle of water for the walk back because I’m feeling dehydrated. I cross through the Kelvingrove Park and even through my iPod I can hear loud music playing. I follow the sounds to a fair in the middle of the park. I find this very odd since I saw no signs indicating there would be a fair, the park was so quiet the day before when Geoff and I walked through. I pass some more pubs on the walk home and keep them in mind as they clearly are serving food. Encouraged, I think we may have found someplace to eat for dinner. Geoff gets back to the City Inn 40 minutes after me, and we resolve to try to get to these pubs soon. The first pub, stopped serving food at 6pm, it’s 6:45pm. The bartender does say they will be serving food until 8pm tomorrow night. The second pub is all out of food. We can hardly believe our luck. Sunday evenings, most restaurants are closed. I don’t know when these people eat, and I wonder what the rest of our trip will be like. We reluctantly eat at McDonald’s for dinner, solely because everywhere else is closed. But we have a lead for Monday night, that first pub, The Park Bar. We head back home to the hotel after dinner and watch some British game shows. They aren’t as fast paced as ours, and you have to be pretty intelligent to be on them. We try to get a good night’s sleep because Monday we plan to visit a distillery.