Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Glasgow ~ Scotland ~ UK

Glasgow, Scotland, a city of industry and manufacturing has definitely changed over the years to become a much cleaner and attractive city.  There has been a lot of redevelopment in residential areas and an increase in the cultural activities.  Glasgow now attracts tourists successfully for their many events.

Streets of Glasgow
We walked among the 'pedestrian only' streets of their shopping area with so many similarities to home and many that were not.  It is always interesting to see the differences we don’t expect but enjoy seeing familiar as well.

Lots of Tartans
A good example of ‘different’ is the Tartan House.  We went inside and once we saw those beautiful authentic Scottish articles, decided to purchase some family plaids to gift.  There is no shortage of finding those here, we’d never find them at home.  

Accordian Busker
An unexpected sight was this senior lady playing the accordion on the street.  For one thing, the accordion isn’t often seen anymore let alone someone of her age busking. Buskers on our streets are usually younger and are singing and playing a guitar!

 University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow was beginning a new season so there were many things happening involving the students celebrating the beginning of their year.  This university was founded in 1451 when the Pope gave permission for the university to be added to Glasgow Cathedral.  Through the next years, Glasgow became a very important academic and religious city so by the 17th century the university moved from the cathedral to its own building.  

City Arms
Throughout our tour of Glasgow, we saw several ‘signs’ which turned out to be a replica of the official coat of arms for Glasgow.  There were several variations but this design was granted a patent to the city. It represents “the Bird that never flew”, “the Tree that never grew”, the Fish that never swam” and “the Bell that never rang” that are shown on the original Coat of Arms.

Royal Exchange Square
This was what appeared to be a recent prank, a traffic cone placed on the head of the Equestrian Statue of the Duke of Wellington.  It turns out it was just that at one time but has remained there for three decades and shall remain.  The City Council tried to ban the cone in 2013 but received so many signatures in a petition against the ban which definitely shows the humor of the city, they decided to leave it.

George Square
Glasgow’s George Square has many interesting sculptures and monuments placed throughout the Square.  It is also home to many pigeons.  People gather here and some even spend time with the pigeons. These good samaritans were removing a thread caught on a pigeon’s leg.  The Cenataph was erected in 1922 to honor those who lost their lives in WW1.  This granite tower is almost 10 metres high.

Squinty Bridge over River Clyde
Known locally as the Squinty Bridge, the Clyde Arc opened in 2006 and is a very unusual sight.  We only saw it from the Hop On Hop Off bus so didn’t walk it but am told that it is an optical illusion when you do, it’s a curved design and crosses the River Clyde at an angle.  I wish we’d seen it lit up at night as that is when it is said to be a spectacular sight. 

Armadillo and Rotunda
The Rotunda was originally built to transport pedestrians, horses and carts, then later vehicles to the other side of the Clyde River. Built between 1890-1896, there were deep shafts that they would lower the traffic down to tunnels and haul them back up by hydraulic lifts on the other side, like an elevator. 

The building to the left is the Scottish Event Campus, SEC Armadillo, this was where Susan Boyle was discovered when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.

The Griffin - Gin Palace

What better way to end a day of sightseeing in this great city than to visit the pub for a nice cold drink and a perfect dinner!  For gin lovers, they had a zillion choices of gin here, perfect for those who choose this as their drink of choice.

Join us for our day in Hamilton, Scotland.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hamilton~South Lanarkshire~Scotland

Hamilton is a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland and the birthplace of my paternal grandmother.  A special place in our family history and one I had hoped to visit one day.  That day had come.  We’d been in contact with cousins who lived in Scotland and arranged to meet them to show us around the town.  With my sister and our husbands, we flew from London to Glasgow to spend time with our cousins and to learn some family history.  

 Hamilton, Scotland
We stayed in a Glasgow hotel; Hamilton is situated 19 km (12 miles) away.  We took the train to Hamilton Central Station, which only takes about 20 minutes from Glasgow, a pleasant train ride.  The day was overcast but comfortable weather for our sightseeing plans.  

Downtown Hamilton sights
We arrived earlier than our planned meeting and wandered about the town, seeing the sights which would definitely have changed since my grandmother left here about 1905.  Most of her relatives remained in Scotland, only she with parents and siblings left for Canada then.

Great directions
The signs seen on our travels in the UK are interesting and this one measures the distance with walking minutes to the designation.  These aren’t something we’d see at home in our town.

David Livingstone Home
We meet with our cousins, Linda we’d met on a previous visit to England and Wendy and John were new acquaintances.  We then went to a local ice cream parlor they’d known for years and sat down for a visit and “get to know one another” time.  We couldn’t ask for a nicer welcome or better host/hostesses to join us on this visit.  I didn’t get a photo of the parlor but did get one of the sign next door that said “Dr. David Livingstone had lived here 1862 until his death in 1873”.  He was a missionary and explorer of Africa, a name most of us would be familiar with from high school history. 

We then went to the location of the “tenement building” that our grandmothers had lived in, a short distance away. The building would have had several entrances to the upper flats with stores on the ground floor.  The cousins’ grandmother also lived here and although the same building was no longer there, we knew it was a special place.  My sister and I could feel that, which was unexpected and amazing for me.  It was a thrill to be at this place where Grandma had once lived over 100 years ago.

Hamilton Mausoleum
Our next stop was at the grounds of the Hamilton Mausoleum.  This was once the location of the Hamilton Palace before it was demolished and sits on beautiful grasslands of the Hamilton Low Parks for the public to enjoy.  The Mausoleum was built as the resting place for the families of the Dukes of Hamilton.

Chatelherault Lodge
This lodge was “named after the Duke of Chatelherault, the title bestowed upon James Hamilton by Henry II of France in the 16th century.”  I don't have any French in me and it's even difficult for the Scottish to pronounce so I sure won’t tackle it. (:

Chatelherault museum
Inside the Lodge is a museum of the history as well as a souvenir shop so we had a nice look around to enjoy some of the history of the Hamilton family and the origins of the name of this town.   It was soon closing time and we had to leave.

Wall climbing exit
We’d all gone in two cars and we were with John who parked out front and we had no problem leaving the Lodge.  The others had parked out back and when we drove back there to meet them, they’d come outside from the Lodge to a closed gate!  The most chuckles we had all afternoon was getting them over the wall.


Cousins Linda, Wendy and John with my sister Jen (glasses) and I.  We had a wonderful visit with our lovely Scottish cousins, many thanks to them for sharing their time and this special visit with us.  Although this took place three years ago, (that’s hard to believe!), the memories are still vivid and we will hopefully have more visits in time to come.

Spend some time in Glasgow with us.


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