On the first weekend in November, my friend Rachel and I had a girls’ weekend together in Edinburgh and in Glasgow. We started our relaxing weekend in Edinburgh with a dinner date at Taste of Italy, an Italian café on Lothian Walk in New Town. I don’t go out to dinner often, like a typical undergraduate on a student budget (and particularly like an undergraduate traveling frequently in Europe!), and because Rachel and I weren’t in the mood for Scottish haggis (aka sheep liver) on our dinner date, we chose this reasonable and trendy Italian café. I guess I’m not Scottish enough (yet?) to choose haggis, tatties, and neeps over chicken caesar salad and a margherita pizza with olives! After dinner, Rachel and I continued our girls’ night with a cider at Lloyds No.1 Bar, a Wetherspoon pub inside the Omni Centre. J D Wetherspoon is a British pub chain that has essentially bought out the oldest pubs in Britain and created numerous other pubs with standardized menus. My brother Kevin had explained these apparent ‘evils’ of chains like Wetherspoon during his visit to the UK, but I’ve still enjoyed the Wetherspoon pubs I’ve been to. One of these that I have been to several times is The Standing Order on George Street, which used to be a building of the Bank of Scotland.
As the title of this blog post reveals, Rachel and I saw a chick flick at the Omni Centre theatre on Friday night. We enjoyed a classic romantic comedy, and I am looking forward to going back to the Omni Centre to see Skyfall–which has settings in Scotland and has sections filmed in Glencoe.
On Saturday, Rachel and I went to the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, which is at Castle Terrace every Saturday. As we walked through the market, we marveled at the vendors’ goodies, which varied from homegrown vegetables and Scottish pies to tasty pastries and Scottish jams. We enjoyed Stoat’s Porridge from the Stoat’s food truck at the market.
Also, we decided to take a day trip to Glasgow on Sunday! Rachel and I took a train to Glasgow, which is about a hour west of Edinburgh. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and is known as an urban industrial city. Its location on the Clyde River create indispensable opportunities for industry and trade and thus, contributed significantly to its rising as an pivotal Scottish city during the eighteenth-century Scottish Industrial Revolution. When Rachel and I got to Glasgow, we took the Low Level train, Glasgow’s intracity train system, to the West End of the city. We stopped for lunch at the 78, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant bar with a “relaxed and welcoming environment” created by “a roaring coal fire, comfy armchairs, chunky wooden tables, floor length French windows and an old hmv 78 record player”. Rachel and I both enjoyed fafafel burgers!
Next, Rachel and I went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is near to Kelvingrove Park and the University of Glasgow, in the West End of the city. The museum was built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901, and the beautiful red sandstone of the museum’s exterior is from Dumfriesshire, a southern county of Scotland that borders England.
The massive central hall of the museum houses a large pipe organ, and Rachel and I heard the daily organ concert during our visit. We wandered through several of the exhibits, which included paintings by French Impressionists and works by a group of Scots called the Glasgow Boys.
After touring the museum, Rachel and I walked by the Kelvingrove Park Bowling Green, which has been recently reconstructed and will be the site of the Lawn Bowl competitions of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The object of the sport “bowls”, or lawn bowls, is to roll balls so they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”.
Rachel and I continued exploring Glasgow and walked to see the Tollbooth Steeple at Glasgow Cross, the historic Barras Market in the East End of Glasgow, St. Mungo’s Cathedral (the Glasgow Cathedral of the Church of Scotland), the Royal Exchange that houses the Gallery of Modern Art today, and George Square in Glasgow. [We have a George Square among the academic buildings of University of Edinburgh, too!]
I really enjoyed the day trip to Glasgow! I learned about some of the city’s history and people during my visit, and I plan to learn more in my Modern Scottish History course and online. I’m glad I visited Glasgow. That said, Edinburgh is still my favorite city in Scotland, and I am very glad I decided to study at the University of Edinburgh!