About 25 years ago I came to Glasgow for a two day conference. We had a curry on Sauchiehall Street and went to the Winter Gardens. I decided that I needed to come back.
Yes, I know: it did take me a while. (When I was ten years old I discovered the idea of Singapore Slings at Raffles in Singapore – it only took me 33 years to make that happen so the return trip to Glasgow has actually happened surprisingly quickly).
Of course, with the weather conditions across the North of England yesterday, I wasn’t entirely confident that I would make it…
The crowd on Platform 4 cheered as the 1330 train to Glasgow pulled into Oxford Road Station in Manchester.
I should have been on the 1126 to Glasgow but Storm Franklin was doing his thing and we had five trains’ worth of passengers (the ones that haven’t given up on the journey anyway) crammed onto one so I had a comfy seat on my bag in front of the toilets.
As the door to the loos swung open, the two lasses on their way to Lockerbie considered whether it would be a more comfortable spot than the corridor: “Look at all that space!”
Everyone else seemed to be going to Preston, and every time the conductor reeled off the list of station stops the woman perched on a wheelie case behind me gave us a running commentary on who lived where. Jock’s wife lives in Motherwell apparently.
The train carriage corridor was warmer than Oxford Road Station. I’d spent two hours there in the rain. (The cheese and tomato toasties are good).
I only ended up there because the train from Piccadilly was cancelled and passengers were advised to make their way over town as the train would start its journey at Oxford Road. Well, it did… just not when I thought it would.
The platform staff deserved a medal. No information from a particular rail company’s control centre, pacing up and down the platform in the rain dealing with passenger queries, trains they thought were running were not: I lost count of the empty trains leaving the station. One of the staff told me he was just finishing a four day shift and every one of them has featured a storm: Dudley, Eunice and Franklin – he’d done them all. He was having a shit week. It was only Monday.
Just North of Lancaster and shortly before arriving into Oxenholme, the conductor announced: “Passengers may be interested to know that I’ve been checking the CCTV cameras and there are now quite a lot of seats available throughout the train, though…” he paused and added: “They are mostly in carriage A which is at the back of the train. Good luck.”
‘Good luck’? It was only a five carriage train, not a trek through the Andes.
The two girls heading to Lockerbie sounded a bit anxious as they asked each other: “Where are the CAMERAS?”
They decided to stay where they were, while placing their big slabs of Galaxy chocolate at angles to obscure their faces. I suspected that it was a time-limited disguise.
Meanwhile, I now had a window seat in the next carriage. #Result
The sun appeared in the sky and the views across the rolling hills, in this part of the Lake District were stunning after the neverending rainfall of the previous few days.
24 hours later… There has been a lot of food.
Having checked in at my hotel close to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, I headed back into town where I had a table booked at Dakhin.
I love Indian food and living in Manchester, I think we’re blessed with a fantastic array of Indian restaurants… and I may not be allowed back home when I report that I may have eaten the best South Indian food I’ve ever tasted.
Mancunians: it’s worth a trip up the West Coast. Glaswegians: you’re so lucky.
The batata bonda for starters were gorgeous and the vegetable biryani was delicious especially coming with my requested spicy rather than mild sauce. It was looking likely that it would be some time before I could move again. The waiter told me to take my time.
The tasting menus looked amazing, but if I wanted to walk, rather than roll, back to the hotel, it was a good thing I resisted temptation.
The following day started with breakfast at the Ottoman Coffeehouse – one of not many places open at 8am for me to start the day as early as I like.
It was a relaxing and peaceful space to start the day with a smooth and delicious cappuccino. One almond croissant later and I was ready for a walk around Kelvingrove Park.
Lunch was at Paesano where I met up with my cousin’s daughter who is studying at Glasgow University.
The branch on Miller Street was a superb spot for Naples-style pizza. Busy and lively just after 1pm and they served an incredibly reasonably priced lunch: pizzas, beer, wine, coffees and cake for two. The raspberry and white chocolate cake could have done with climbing gear and we were defeated.
To be able to undertake all of this eating, there’s also been a lot of walking.
A wander around Kelvingrove Park, past the Stewart Memorial Fountain (built for £2000 in the 19th Century to commemorate the building of a reservoir, named for the provost rather than the reservoir), to a reminder that: while you may have been disappointed by Christmas or birthday presents… at least you didn’t get this.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is housed in a beautiful building and hosts an eclectic range of exhibitions. I particularly liked the ones focusing on the Glasgow Boys and Charles Rennie Mackintosh but there really is something for everyone here.
And then it was up the hill to the Hunterian which stands in the grounds of Glasgow University.
It’s a small but interesting museum – especially the medical history exhibit – and it has a dinosaur! (I’m a sucker for dinosaurs).
It’s worth visiting just for the building itself.
And in between the eating and the museum visits, I followed the Street Art Mural Trail, taking pictures of my favourites.
This is a stunning city to wander around.