Glasgow, Scotland -- Loved & Learned
Updated: Jan 13, 2020
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We can’t believe our 30 days in Scotland (and 3rd month of our trip) are over already! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Glasgow and the surrounding areas.
Today we're sharing the latest in our “Loved & Learned” travel series, where we recall the aspects of our stay in a particular destination that we really enjoyed and others that may not have suited us or our lifestyle.
The Scots are very friendly people. Everyone we came into contact with was more than willing to offer recommendations and didn’t seem bothered one bit by our questions.
The country is absolutely beautiful. Particularly on our bus tour from Glasgow north to Inverness and back, we caught just a glimpse of the natural beauty of Scotland.
The national language is ENGLISH! After spending two months in countries where English is not the primary language (even if a lot of people speak it well) it is still almost comforting when you make it somewhere that they do speak your language (even if it’s with an awesome Glaswegian accent).
The cadence, pitch, and intonation of how Scots speak makes it sound like they’re always saying something positive, even if they have a thick Glasgwegian accent and might, in fact, be cussing you out (although we know they never would).
The high prevalence of pedestrian only areas. Americans in particular could learn a thing or two in this department.
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The Merchant City area where our Airbnb was located is very close to the city center without being a huge party area while offering plenty of great food nearby. There is an amazing indoor area called Merchant Square with a local craft and design fair every weekend and multiple restaurants.
Consistent free, public WiFi. In Lyon France, we were hard pressed to find open WiFi that was actually functional, which made it very difficult for us to work anywhere except our flat. Almost everywhere in Glasgow had WiFi available and the city itself even has public WiFi in the city center.
The mural trail! There are 25 huge murals that are part of the official Mural Trail in Glasgow, but many other public works of art exist. A few murals were even several stories tall. It definitely brightens up an area to have a beautiful mural where there might have been a boring building wall before.
Glasgow Green. It’s a huge public park along the River Clyde. We went for a run there a couple of times and appreciated how green (and flat) it was.
There is no shortage of historic buildings (older than our home country!), most of which are red sandstone.
The slower pace of grocery shopping compared to Vienna. In Scotland, a quick trip to the store for dinner ingredients (or “components” as Megan’s brother likes to say) is not an Olympic sport. We rarely felt particularly rushed.
In the Fall in Scotland, there will be a high chance of rain every..single...day. But that could either mean a constant, super light mist orrrrrr a torrential downpour and you will never have advance notice which it will be.
You don’t necessarily need to buy a long-term public transportation pass in Glasgow. The city is fairly dense and if you are living near the city center, pretty much everything is within a 30 minute walk max. If you are on the edge of the city or outside the city, this could be different. You can also always buy single and return tickets for things further away. We could’ve saved a little bit of money by doing this.
The Scots are very proud and passionate people. The endless Glasgow-Edinburgh jokes and football team rivalries are both evidence of that.
The Lochness monster may or may not actually exist ;)
Many people will say that food in the UK is bland and boring. We didn’t find that to be the case. Glasgow alone has lots of cultural influence in terms of restaurants. Heck….the Indian dish chicken tikka masala is claimed to have originated in Glasgow in the 1970s!
“Chips” (which Americans know as “French fries”) are the #1 most common menu side item and every single restaurant menu has at least one burger on it.
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In the UK, interior doors (with the exception of bathroom doors) are required to have closers. This means lots of doors slamming shut accidentally until you get used to it. It also means homeowners have to think about hefty door stops (which perhaps defeats the fire spreading prevention benefits? Not sure.)
Eddie’s family hails from the Highlands of Scotland. While we were visiting, a family member shared some genealogy information with us and it turns out that, at one point in the trip, we were roughly 30 minutes away from Eddie’s great great great grandparents grave sites near Inverness Scotland.
The USD-GBP exchange rate was a killer! When 1 USD = 0.79 pounds sterling, you better count your coins carefully! We’ll see how we did with our budget. Stay tuned for that post!
Anything other than a “shaver” cannot be used in a bathroom in the UK. Hair dryers are generally in a drawer in the bedroom and there is a mirror and table for getting ready. (Although Megan got around this by plugging it in in the hall and stretching it into the bathroom.) This stems from the government thinking that people regularly plug things into the wall and utilize them while taking a bath...
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Waterproof shoes are really a must. We got by without them for most of the trip, but towards the end we ran into a situation with wet sneakers that didn’t dry well. It’s no fun walking around town the next day in soggy shoes!
The postal service is called the Royal Mail. We just like the sound of that :)
While we were very excited to try some local whiskies (read: Scotch) we learned we didn’t love it. Eddie and Megan are more fans of the more fruity, less peaty Scotches that would be found in the Speyside region of Scotland (one of the four main Scotch regions). With that being said, Eddie still prefers a good beer and Megan would rather have a glass of wine.
For those who have been to Scotland, what was your impression? Did you enjoy it? Please share in the comments below!
Eddie + Megan
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