Thursday, August 11–Glasgow, Strathclyde

Walking to the Kelvingrove museum and art gallery; Riverside museum; Science Museum, lunch & the planetarium show; Jessup's cameras; dinner at Bella Italia; snack run to Sainsbury's

Novotel Glasgow Centre



This may be an early evening since it's only 10 PM.

I got off to a slightly later start than I had planned, after I had one of my Slimfasts for breakfast.

I'd been in contact with Simon, whose Foot Stompin' Scottish music podcast I've been listening to for many years, and we'd arranged to meet for coffee tomorrow about noon, since I thought tomorrow's World Pipe Band Championship event (qualifying rounds for the Grade 1, which indicates the best, competition) was later in the afternoon. This morning I decided it might be a very good idea to check the actual ticket info for the location and where and when I need to pick up my ticket since I ordered it online. The event starts at 11 AM, and I need to pick up my ticket at the box office around 10:30 AM, so I tried giving Simon a call before I left the hotel. I actually figured out how to call a Glasgow number on my Irish Android smart phone but got Simon's voice mail instead so I decided I'd just text him instead and hoped I'd hear from him soon.

I left my hotel at around 10:30 AM and decided that to save time I'd skip the Hunterian museum and gallery but just go to the Kelvingrove museum and art gallery, the Riverside museum and the Science Centre.

It was grey, cloudy and drizzly when I left and the weather didn't improve much all day although it did drizzle more heavily every now and then.

Kelvingrove is on Sauciehall Street, which is one of the major cross town roads and is a block away from my hotel. The street right before Sauciehall is Bath Street, which I hadn't been on in that direction yet this trip, so I went down Bath for a couple of blocks before cutting back up to Sauciehall and went right past the Griffin, the older pub which had been my favorite when I was here five years ago and I considered my neighborhood pub. I'll have to go there before I leave, probably tomorrow when I also don't have any plans for the evening.

It was a pleasant walk over to Kelvingrove, in spite of the weather, and went past several very interesting or nice looking buildings along the way. When I went there on my last visit I had come from the Hunterian gallery over on the campus of the University of Glasgow, and that route had taken me across the River Kelvin and through the actual grove on the Kelvin and the statue of Lord Kelvin, which is also a very lovely walk.

I really like the Kelvingrove, which is one of Glasgow's city owned free museums, although the café there was so busy that I couldn't find a free table and decided to wait and eat at either the Riverside Museum or the Science Centre.

When I left Kelvingrove I checked my phone and Simon had texted me while I was inside. I called and managed to catch him. We arranged to meet somewhere around 9:30 tomorrow morning, and I said I'd text him again when I got back here to my hotel and could tell him where I needed to be at 10:30 to pick up my ticket and he could let me know if there was anywhere we could meet. (I did, and he did, and there is.)

The walk to the Riverside museum took me down to and then along the banks of the Clyde and was also a very pleasant walk. When I walked there on my previous visit I had followed the river path from further into Glasgow's center. I love the Riverside museum, although it is best visited first thing in the morning when it opens. By the time I got there it was very crowded with lots of families and kids and strollers. A bored, badly behaved crying or screaming kid is unpleasant to me no matter where I am or what culture they belong to, and I can lose my tolerance after a while and want to just get the hell out of there, which is what happened at the Riverside but not before I managed to see most of it on this trip as well.

It was drizzling pretty hard when I walked on down and then across the Clyde to the Science Centre. I have to confess that the metal pedestrian bridge I crossed on made a very satisfyingly resounding thunk when my cane hit it. It was so windy crossing the river I had to hang on to my hat, and that's when I decided that I didn't really feel like walking from the Science Centre on back to my hotel but would take a cab when I left.

I got to the Science Centre a little before 2 PM and still hadn't had lunch yet. I bought a ticket for the 4 o'clock planetarium show, figuring I could find enough to see until then. I first headed down to the museum's café but it too was so busy I couldn't find any seats available then and gave up and went to the Starbucks in the museum instead where there were plenty of seats. I had a muffin, a small fruit salad, and some of their shortbread cookies–which have always been as good as any you can get here in Scotland–for a quick lunch.

I like the Science Centre but had forgotten that it's primarily set up for kids and families, and not adults on their own, with tons and tons of interactive, game-like, hands on science-based activities. Not surprisingly it didn't take me that long to work my way through the museum, past all the families and kids, and it was still only 3:30 and the planetarium show wasn't until 4 PM.

I didn't like this show as much as I had the one I saw when I was here last, and didn't think it had much in the way of special effects–but also have to admit part of that might be because I seem to have dozed off every now and then, which is kind of what you might expect when you stick me in a pretty comfortable recliner and turn the lights off.

I took a cab back here and stretched out in my room for a bit before heading out again. A couple of days ago I had noticed that there's a branch of Jessop's, the camera store I went to in London last year, on Sauciehall Street right down by the Royal Concert Hall and the Buchanan Galleries shopping center. Shortly after I bought my new camera back in Drogheda, Ireland, I bought a wall charger and an extra battery at a different camera store where they very kindly plugged the UK adapter into the charger. I have been unable to disconnect the adapter since then and hoped someone at Jessop's might be able to help, so I headed down that way about 7 this evening.

Once I got there, I was a bit relieved that neither of the two employees working then could figure out how to get it off either–apparently you need a micro screwdriver to do the job–and said that Nikon's known for that design flaw. I have a couple of UK to European adapters so that will work when I'm in France, if it's a bit inelegant to have to use a second adapter, and when I get home I'll just buy a US charger. (A much later note--after I got back home to S Florida I managed to pry off the UK adapter, and learned it was covering a US plug.)

I had noticed that Bella Italia, a very nice Italian place down at that end of Sauciehall, was open and had single tables available and had a very nice dinner there. I then stopped at the small branch of Sainsbury's, one of the grocery chains I'd been to in London, to pick up some snacks and cookies.

My plans tomorrow, other than meeting Simon for coffee around 9:30 AM, depend on the weather. I have a ticket for the Grade 1 qualifying rounds, which are outside and begin at 11 AM. I have no idea how long the event lasts, or how good or crappy the weather will be. If I leave early enough I think I'll go over to the Cathedral and St Mungo's religion museum, both of which close at 5 PM tomorrow, instead.

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