Monday, August 8–Glasgow, Strathclyde/Lanarkshire

Mediocre weather back down the Road to the Isles and all the way to Glasgow; returning the car back at the Glasgow airport; a long walk and encountering a stray pipe band; dinner at a world buffet

Novotel Glasgow Centre

Black Toyota Rav4



It wasn't raining and was only mostly cloudy when I left Mallaig but deteriorated for the rest of the morning into the afternoon. By the time I got to either of the stops to hike in to see the Harry Potter bridge/Glenfinnan viaduct it was raining and besides there were no available parking spaces at either place. People were parking along the road further on to hike in but I decided not to. And when I got to the area of Fort William it was drizzly and the tops of the hills and mountains were in the clouds so I decided to not stop there either.

It was a hell of a long drive, three and a half to four hours long, through wonderful and beautiful Highlands and valley scenery often along lochs through the Great Glen–with very few places to stop for any reason without causing an accident or pulling off the road into the grass. I managed to make it all the way to the same small park with the restroom alongside Loch Lomond about an hour outside of Glasgow and I was certainly glad to finally get there. I also hadn't had anything to eat yet today because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't need to use a restroom which I know are very few and far between on the whole trip. I didn't drink my Slimfast when I stopped at the small park because I figured I'd do so when I got to my hotel–and forgot.

I got to the hotel about 3 PM and checked in. I unloaded the car but didn't take my stuff up here to my room then, because I'd parked in the motorcycles only space in front of the hotel and didn't feel like driving around the block just to pull into the parking structure. They let me leave my stuff in the left luggage room by reception while I drove back to the airport to return the car.

The weather had been pretty nice when I left the hotel but started raining again while I was walking back to the terminal from the car rental lot a couple of blocks away, so I went into the nearest hotel and asked them to call a cab for me instead of trying to find one at the terminal.

When I got back to the hotel, the reception staff had very nicely brought all my stuff up to my room for me already. As I was unpacking one of the first things I did, as usual, was scope out where the various outlets were. Like in Ireland, most of the outlets here are connected to wall switches which you have to turn on first. I thought there was a problem with the outlet beside the bed and I was right. I called down to reception and the guy who came up noticed that the power was on only when the switch was between the on and off positions but not when it was in either position. The electrician is going to come tomorrow morning and fix it but for tonight I'm using an extension cord the guy from reception found for me which is plugged in at the desk across the room.

The Novotel Glasgow Centre is a very nice, modern hotel with a very nice, attractive looking bar on the ground floor. My room is up on the 6th floor with a good view of the city skyline. The gym is down the hallway on my floor.

The hotel is quite conveniently located, just a block away from Bath Street which is a major E-W street and two blocks away from Saucehall Street which is pedestrianized for a good part of its length and is where many of the cafes and restaurants are.

After I unpacked I had my last Slimfast while I looked at the map of Glasgow I'd picked up downstairs when I checked in and plotted out a route for a walk. As far as I can tell, the whole circuit should have taken me about an hour to do. It was sunny when I left and marginally warm enough so I didn't go back up here to my room to get my sweatshirt. If I hadn't been walking so vigorously and mostly kept moving, I would have been chilly in the shade.

As I got down to the neighborhood of the University of Strathclyde on the way to the Cathedral, I thought I was hearing bagpipes and drums and I was. I followed my ears into a little, pretty courtyard between some of the university's buildings and indeed found a pipe and drum band. I listened to them for a while, and as they were closing up I talked with one of the drummers. The group was the Manawatu Scottish pipe band from Wellington, New Zealand who were in Edinburgh last week and of course are here in Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championships this weekend.

I continued along my circuit and found my way back here to my hotel. I had to double back once because although most of the streets here are nicely marked I couldn't find a street I had originally planned on turning onto, so I had to go back a few blocks to another street that had a name which I could find on the map I'd brought with me.

If I was going to be out much longer I would have come back up here for my sweatshirt this time, but I only went two blocks up the street to Sauciehall (pronounced sockyhall, or close enough) to look for somewhere to eat dinner. Just around the corner was a "world" buffet which was quite good and not expensive so I'll probably be back there some other time this week–world buffet because they have some Indian items in addition to the usual Asian buffet items.

It's now only 10:30 PM so I think I'll get to bed, and hopefully to sleep, earlier than I've been doing. I have to be up early enough to drop the laundry off downstairs before 8 AM, and the electrician is coming by at about 9 to fix the odd switch for the outlet by the bed. I think I'll spend the rest of the morning riding around on the red hop on, hop off bus tour of Glasgow to reacquaint myself with the area. The nearest stop is about a 5 to 10 minute walk away.

I'll probably wind up spending most of tomorrow afternoon over at George Square, where many of the events leading up to the Worlds this weekend are taking place.

While I was checking out the events for tomorrow I decided to see if I could get a ticket for the International Quartet Competition at the Royal Concert Hall at 7:30 PM and did, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow night.

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