July 5, 2015

It feels wrong to say that a destination disappoints, but Glasgow was below my expectations. Once it was twice its current population, it is an example of some positive things one gets from a population decline—cheap apartments, light traffic. There’s a strong sense that Glasgow is recovering from the losses it suffered when the shipbuilding industry left the city decades ago.

IMG_2272The center of Glasgow is this pedestrian mall that runs several blocks of high-end stores. The photo at the top of this post is of the quirky art nouveau designs that were the rage in the city’s hay days.

IMG_2266This indoor mall on the outdoor mall was puzzling. The style dates back to the 1890s, but there is hardly a scratch on the wood. Turns out, this accomplishment was done only 30 years ago. Scotland still has craftsmen who do something other than watch whiskey age. Those obvious stairs are escalators. It is called “Princess Square.” How precious.


The stately plaza in front of city hall is reviving. A few buildings remain that shouldn’t, including the little subway train station stop with a cheap diner at the entrance. (Rick Steves says that a decent meal can be had there at bargain prices.) Here and there Glasgow is a little run down, but it was not torn down, so the future is bright.

IMG_2273After walking around for 90 minutes or so, we ducked into a tea house to avoid an afternoon sprinkle. The nice thing about tea is that you can have a light meal and not feel guilty about the table service because the bill is so low. In the U.K. tea houses, the portions are inverse to the bill. It’s as if the most expensive item on your plate is the white space.

IMG_2274We walked an unnecessarily long distance from tea to tomb, but at long last we found ourselves at the Necropolis, a high-end cemetery at the foot of the cathedral. Even in death there once persisted the need for class, though always at the profit of the living. Must be time for church.

The cathedral

Scotland has an inexhaustible supply of black stone. There are advantages—you don’t need to clean it and it is easier to find your house in a snow storm.I’m a sucker for a big organ under the nave.

2 responses to “Glasgow”

  1. I believe you were a bit harsh with your comments on this city. Your pictures portray a robust population moving about the streets. I especially liked the cemetery. If one must be buried, up on a high his is like not being buried. The movie in the cathedral was especially moving, for I could still pick out your tenor voice, now more resonant with age, among the crowd of vocalists. I couldn’t see the big organ, but of course I wasn’t looking for it.
    I wish I had your talent for producing these fabulous pictures/movies/dialogue. Keep it up.

  2. The organ in this church is unusual in that the pipes are on both sides of the choir, apparently for visual symmetry, but perhaps there is a sonic symmetry that is also important.

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