What if you are not into football

May 25, 2008

The highlight of the trip for my boys was the match Scotland vs. Croatia. They were thrilled to be there and although the players didn't play as they hoped they would, it was spectacular.



Sanja, Iva and I discussed possible ways of spending the evening without our football fans. Restaurants and pubs were out of question, since they don't let kids in, which came as a huge surprise to my older son, who's used to going to pubs and having a pint of beer occasionally, in spite of the fact that he's under age.

It didn't take us long to decide what to do: shopping without haste in Ikea and the nearby shopping mall, the only place open till ten. It was not busy at all and we indulged ourselves with little somethings.

After it closed, we waited for a bus to take us to the center, but almost missed it because we were on the (il)logical side of the road. Luckily, we got on the right bus that was to take us to the corner of Hope and Sauchiehall, where our guys were supposed to meet us. As soon as we got to Hope Street I asked the driver if that was our stop. It wasn't but he promised to tell me when to get off. Hope Street is an incredibly long street, with bus stops on literally every corner. I was worried, though, that he'd forget all about us, so I annoyed him with the very question at each and every stop. I was such a drag, I know, but the poor driver didn't take it amiss, and in the end we chuckled about it.

Pics from Scotland

May 24, 2008

Scotland

Glasgow

May 23, 2008


The lady at the Travelodge spoke Glaswegian. We could hardly make out what she was saying. She was nice enough, though, as to repeat three times until it dawned on us that in order to get to the centre, we should turn left at the third traffic lights. Or something along those lines.

Anyway, we got to the center quickly and easily. During our stay it was drizzling lightly but incessantly. But we were fine with it, since Glasgow is such an appealing city, one of those cities you take a shine to instantly. I found out I wasn't the only one who struggled with the pronunciation of its streets, such as Sauchiehall or Buccleauh. (Come to think of it, many Scottish names give me a hard time, take Milngavie or Culzean for example.)

We shopped on Sauchiehall Street, walked all round the city and saw many sights, such as the Cathedral, Provand's Lordship, which is the oldest house in Glasgow, the Hunterian Art Gallery, Kelvingrove, the Tenement House, George Square, the Armadillo, all of them truly impressive, but what I wanted to see most was the Glasgow of Charles Rennie MacIntosh, an Art Nouveau architect and artist. The Willow Tea Rooms, The Glasgow School of Art, the Lighthouse, the Daily Record Building, they all lived up to my expectations.

Arriving in Glasgow

May 18, 2008

And finally we reached the destination of our trip. Glasgow awaited us with a light drizzle and heavy traffic on busy motorways - or is it dual carriageways? How should I tell the difference? Anyway, whatever it is, it's full of ramps and entrances and exits on both sides, - and what's more - all the time you're above the ground, driving over bridges and viaducts, or at least it seemed so to me.

It was evening when we finally got to our hotel. It was a Travelodge on Paisley Road, an unprepossessing little hotel, but who am I to complain for 29 pounds a night for the four of us. We never spend a lot of time in hotels when we travel anyway. Luxury is not an issue, what we need is just a clean place to sleep. And this was clean, although the sheets didn't have that fresh smell of being washed with a familiar soap powder. But as I said, the room was all right for the two nights in this modern city.

Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle and William Wallace

May 16, 2008


It was a short drive from the Forth Bridges to the Falkirk Wheel. That's a boat lift, the one that revolves, and it's really awesome. It connects the Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal near the town of Falkirk. The level difference between the two canals is 35 meters, which suggests the hugeness of this rotating boat lift. Built in 2002, as part of the Millennium Link, it created an uninterrupted link between the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. I'm sure this would be a pleasant cruise.

Mislav had a déjà vu experience on the spot. He was sure he'd already been there. He knew where the lift was, how it worked, everything. It was amazing. Back home, however, he was able to trace the sensation back to a power point presentation in a physics lesson.


Perched high on a rocky crag, Stirling Castle is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture in Scotland. In the esplanade, there is the statue of Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, who defeated the English army under Edward II at Bannockburn in 1314 and gained recognition of Scottish independence.



The view from the esplanade is terrific and if you know where to look, you can see seven battlefields where the Scots fought for victory over the English forces. The Wallace Monument recalls the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, when the Scots, led by William Wallace, defeated the English. His life was the inspiration for the poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, by the 15th century minstrel (bard) Blind Harry. Based on this poem, the film Braveheart with Mel Gibson in the leading role, brought this Scottish national hero to a wider audience.
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