Jumping forward about a week from Dan’s post about vegan food in Dublin, we finally arrived in Scotland. Glasgow is so beautiful it hurts. It’s what I imagine New York City looked like at the turn of the 20th Century. Our lovely hosts explained it to us this way; the old Medieval city was knocked down and a Victorian (mostly) gridded city was built in its place. So it is a nicely preserved Victorian city. In other words, it is freakin’ beautiful.
But as long-term budget travelers, we can’t just see the main sites everyday. That would mean lots of money (though all of Glasgow’s major museums are free, a big plus) and lots of museums. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good museum, but my brain can only handle so much each day before it shuts off, so everyday cannot be filled with museums. What to do instead?
How about a day that few tourists replicate. It starts with one of the few places on the south side of Glasgow that tourists ever get to – the Burrell Collection. The Burrell Collection is located in a park called Pollok Park on the south side of Glasgow. Few tourists travel to the south side of Glasgow. Not for any scary reasons, just because there is enough to do in city center, which is on the north side of the River Clyde. We went to the Burrell Collection, where we desperately used the bathroom hand driers to dry out our socks and shoes which had been drenched in a rain shower earlier that morning. We also spent a while in the beautiful cafe warming up with tea, coffee, and vegan split pea soup!
After we had been adequately warmed up and seen all of the things Burrell collected (which was a lot of things!) we left the Burrell Collection and walked to the Pollok House (which is apparently Scotland’s answer to Downton Abbey. I think it looked too small to be comparable, but what do I know?). The park is obviously also named after the same Pollok. His house, however, is not free. But you can walk in and go downstairs and see the servants’ quarters. Those are free. I guess that makes sense… But it gave us a little peek at the house without having to pay to go into the upstairs rooms. Then after that we walked the grounds around the house and started our walk east through Pollok park, and then eventually, once we were out of the park, north towards city center. On our way east through the park, we saw this guy:
Highland cattle are kept in Pollok park. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that they are native to the Highlands in Scotland (and Wikipedia confirms this theory). I think it is likely that they are in Pollok park for the human visitors’ amusement similar to how buffalo are kept in Golden Gate Park. But the Highland cattle seemed to be happily munching away, so hopefully no harm, no foul.
If you are planning on doing this walk yourself someday, exit the park onto Pollokshaws Road and take it north straight back into city center. Along the way you will pass beautiful neighborhoods:
Some sort of country club with people play whatever this sport is (bocce?):
You will pass Queens Park, which has a farmers market on Saturdays. It was across the street from the park that I found a hair cut place willing to give me a hair cut for a price I could actually afford!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a good after shot… Needless to say, it is now shoulder-length, not gross and fried at the ends, and much easier to manage! I’d say that it was the perfect 10 pound ($15) haircut!
After 15 minutes of walking past Queens Park the area gets a bit more industrial. But that’s in the home stretch! Plus you get to see insane things like this:
After this many hours of sun, Scotland was beginning to get confused by the weather so it drizzled a bit as we crossed the Clyde, hence the crazy dark picture below:
But without a drizzle, we couldn’t have had this!
We ended our walk with a much deserved dinner at one of Glasgow’s 5 (!!!) vegan restaurants, Stereo. The food was delicious and the venue was super-warm (too warm? Is that possible?). And as a bonus, free wifi! All of Glasgow’s vegan restaurants feature free wifi and lots of tables. I hear, after speaking to a waitress at one of the restaurants that they were all at least founded by the same guy which you can sort of tell as all of the vegan restaurants feature similar interior style. But each chef gets to do as he or she wants, so the food is different. At Stereo we got the dishes below to refuel after our long day out.
Assuming the weather is on your side, this was a fabulous day in Glasgow. I highly recommend going to the south side and seeing what few tourists get to see. You won’t be disappointed!