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10 Days in Scotland (Mostly) Solo - Glasgow and Glenfinnan (with a brief foray to Edinburgh)

I just spent 9 nights in Scotland, motivated by the plans of one of my best friends in the States. She told me in February that she was planning her Scotland vacation for August. Having been there two years ago at almost the exact same time (at that time I was leading an eight-person trip to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary), I decided this would be a great opportunity to see a good friend and to do things a little bit more on my schedule and to my priorities.

Day 1/Saturday: Fly from Paris CDG to Glasgow on EasyJet. I did go ahead and check a bag as I knew I would be buying some stuff in Scotland to bring back with me to France. I took the 351 bus from Nation to the airport; arrived at Glasgow by 10:30, and took the 500 Express bus into town, getting off near Central Station for the brief walk to my first night's hotel, Grasshopper's, above the station (huge thanks to Lola for this recommendation, I believe I've found my Glasgow "home" now). Checked in and headed out to enjoy the city.

It was a beautiful day, and people were out in droves, the city was so vibrant. I had reserved for an early dinner at the Mussel Inn, imagining that I would just have a takeaway sandwich from somewhere for lunch, but found myself lured into the noodle bar Ichiban on Queen Street where I had some absolutely delicious udon noodles with beef, some handmade gyoza, and an Asahi. I finally felt like the vacation had begun (a tough few weeks at work before departure meant I started out tired).

I went back outside, marveling at the energy present in the city streets. Made my way over to the Waterstone's on Sauciehall Street, a magnificent bookstore of five floors which always feeds my soul. But my feet (and I) were sooooo tired. In fact, the bottoms of my feet were KILLING me. I finally had to accept defeat and go back to the hotel to rest for a little bit.

I headed back out and went to the smaller Waterstone's on Argyle Street just below the hotel before heading up to my dinner reservation at the Mussel Inn. It was probably mostly my fault for not being very enthused and having eaten so well too recently, but this dinner, which I had been looking forward to, just didn't "catch" for me. I had wanted to eat here when we came a couple of years ago, but one of our family members doesn't like seafood, so it was off the list. But while the food was fine, it felt uninspired (again, this was probably more my fault than the restaurants). I had some pan-grilled scallops with a sweet potatoe purée . . .and it was fine, but not memorable.

I went back to the hotel and went to bed!! Needed to get up the next morning to head to Edinburgh to meet up with my friend, who had flown in there on Friday (I had opted to fly into Glasgow and stay there since it was cheaper -- certainly -- and less crowded than Edinburgh during Festival time).

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Great start - looking forward to the rest.

"marveling at the energy present in the city streets."

It is amazing, isn't it? I always say that, like Naples, walking the streets of Glasgow feels like being plugged into a light socket.

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Day 2/Sunday: I got up and after breakfast decided that in order to head out, I would wear the light "hiking" shoes I had brought with me for when we were in Glenfinnan ( i had read that the walk could be a bit boggy, so knew my street shoes wouldn't cut it). So I pulled out the 20-year-old hiking Nikes and got ready to put on the first one -- and the rubber sole basically completely separated from the body of the shoe!!!! Not just a little bit that one might ignore and move on -- the rubber in the shoes had basically decomposed to such a degree that the shoes were not holding together. So the impetus to buy some new shoes (which I had planned to do on my late days in Glasgow) became rather more imminent!!!

I went to the Central Station to print out my pre-purchased tickets etc then up to Waterstones, where I was able to attack all five floors with renewed energy to get good, mainly Scotland-related, reading for the rest of my week. Then I started looking in the hiking and trekking stores for shoes (yes I KNOW YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY NEW SHOES ON VACATION!!) and finally ended up at trusty Clark's. It was rather a rainy day and I was happy to purchase a Goretex pair of shoes that were sturdy and would serve for the walk/hike, and a pair of leather tennis shoes. I went back to Grasshoppers to check out and to Queen Street station for the train to Edinburgh.

I caught the 13:30 to Edinburgh with just a couple of minutes to spare; I might have done better to wait for the next one as it was standing room only. Oh well, it's a little bit less than an hour's ride, so not that big a deal. And I knew this was very probable given it was still Festival time in Edinburgh.

Arrived in Edinburgh around 14:30 and found the right exits to get all the way to East Market Street without any stairs. I was lucky to be staying in the Hub Hotel, which was right down from the Premier Inn where my family and I had stayed in August 2016, so I knew just where i was headed. I checked into my pod room and then headed out to meet my friend at Grassmarket.

We shared a pint at the Bow Bar (I had an Oatmeal ale, very delicious), then we wandered a bit aimlessly here and there before our 7:30 pm dinner reservation at the Chop House. This is a steakhouse where I'd eaten two years previously; it is not cheap but oh my gosh is it good!! You can go check out the steaks dry-aging in their case on the first (European) floor - happened to be just behind our table. We had a wonderful bottle of Italian wine, shared a steak for two, and enjoyed their wonderful calamari as a starter, with green veggies and potatoes with our steak. Yum yum!!!

And cleverly, I had scheduled dinner about half a block from my hotel, so the walk home was quick!

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Day 3/Monday: I started out with a brief walk up the hill to Mimi's Bakehouse for a buttery, flakey scone for breakfast. It was absolutely delicious and their other baked goods look wonderful too. There isn't much seating space though, and I got lucky to find a space - but I saw others stick their heads in and move on down the street when they saw there was nowhere to sit.

I then walked to Picardy Place to meet my friend at the Hertz rental spot (under the rail tracks and back up, but luckily no stairs were necessary!). Everyone must have had the same idea, to leave Edinburgh this Monday morning, because the line was looooooooong. I waited outside to avoid further overcrowding in the agency, and went to the Tesco next door to buy some band aids as my new "comfy" leather sneakers were rubbing blisters on the backs of my heels. Finally the team got her her car, and we headed out of Edinburgh with me as navigator and her driving.

We did pretty well with a combination of an all-Scotland paper map I had purchased, a full-on Scotland atlas that she had bought, and the HERE maps Scotland download I had on my phone. We chose a route that had us leaving the city on the Queensferry bridge (if that's the right name for it) and going up via Kinross and Perth. Along the way we had a funny experience when we saw a road sign for an inn and restaurant in Blankfoot -- so we took the exit and walked up to the inn, first trying around back where there was supposed to be a beer garden, then with a door that had specific instructions for how to open it, but we didn't have any luck. We finally knocked, and a fellow came to the door and looked at us questioningly . . .(we thought it might have been obvious why we were at a roadside inn at lunchtime) . . but we had to articulate that we would like to have lunch if possible. He then told us they were closed and shut the door on us. We could not see ANYwhere around the front of the establishment where it said they were closed, or that their hours didn't include Monday lunch, or anything of the sort . . . it certainly wasn't a very friendly welcome!

But no matter, we got back in the car and continued on the little country road for a while and finally rejoined the A9, which we exited again at Pitlochry. We gave a try to about the first establishment we saw after we had parked, and found it to be a friendly, bustling spot - Victoria's, right on the left-hand side as you're coming into Pitlochry from the south. I had a brie-and-ham sandwich, and my friend had a lovely grilled salmon salad. We couldn't have been more pleased with our lunch find. Then we walked a little bit to go see the river and and old iron bridge that had been built over it, then back to the car and the A9.

After driving through Glen Garry, the map sent us west on the A889 to connect with the A86 back west/southbound towards Fort William. The A889 finally demonstrated to my friend the kind of Scottish roads I had told her about -- rather narrow and twisty with big vehicles coming along in the other lane. There were even a couple of places where the road went down to a lane-and-a-half rather than two lanes. It seemed so remote up here and it is so wild to imagine what life is like.

Then we finally rejoined the A86, which was marginally "bigger"and made our way southwest to Spean Bridge, where we turned south on the A82 to the outskirts of Fort William, and then skirted the northern end of Fort William to head west on the A830 as far as Glenfinnan, where we were spending the night. We arrived about 5:30 pm.

I had stayed in Glenfinnan a couple of years earlier on my family trip, but had wished I'd had more time there. So I booked in my same hotel, which I love, the Glenfinnan House Hotel. My friend stayed at the Prince's House Hotel. So it was fun to see both establishments (which pretty much make up the hotels in the town). We had dinner at her hotel, and the team was friendly and the food well prepared.

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Day 4/Tuesday: Today was the day to do ALL the Glenfinnan and great Western Way things, because my friend would be heading off to Skye the next day. So, I had bought all sorts of tickets in preparing:

10:45 am - 12:45 pm - We took the Glenaladale Cruise put on by Loch Shiel Cruises. We met the boat just a little bit away from the front of the Glenfinnan House Hotel, and had a two-hour cruise down the loch. It was rather cold, windy and rainy (not heavy rain but more just sprinkles) -- but the landscapes all around were stunning just the same. The ship's captain Ali bought the company this year from Jim, who retired after many years. Ben provides the commentary on the history and ecosystems of the area. They pull away from the dock and kind of turn around right at the top of the loch for this cruise at the beginning in order to watch the Jacobite Steam Train make its way west (this is where the train is arriving at Glenfinnan, having departed from Fort William). It's really fun to get the first views of the white puffy smoke that the engine is generating, and watch the train coming westward high across the valley, and emerging at the viaduct (which you can't tell is curved from that distance) . . . .

We had the luck to see at least two golden eagles on the visit, and my friend enjoyed a "wee dram" to warm her up against the cold (I had a hot chocolate). The other family went back in the back for more shelter, but we stayed up front to see all that we could.

Afterwards we went back to the Glenfinnan House Hotel for a warming lunch to fortify us for the afternoon. Then we took off for the hike up above the Viaduct. (I had printed out descriptions and some of the comments from the Walk Highlands site: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/glenfinnan.shtml) . The trail start was easy to find, and it was pretty cool walking up below the enormous arches of the viaduct, but views got better and better of course the higher we got -- and we could really see the curve of the viaduct from here. The path definitely got boggy, but only to the first "bog" indicator on the Walk Highlands system. There were lots of people on the first reaches, including a couple of people who already had their tripods set up for the next arrival of the Jacobite, which wouldn't be for another hour at least! I can't imagine how many people would have been there an hour later. As we got higher, we finally got high enough to see Loch Shiel from above, and then we continued along for a while before descending and coming out around the Glenfinnan rail station. We still had some time before our next activity, so we went to the Prince's House Hotel and rested for a bit.

We then caught the 16:55 regular ScotRail service west to Mallaig, the end of the line--Mallaig is where you get the ferry over to Skye. We wandered around in Mallaig & went to the store, and then went back to the train station because we had tickets on the Jacobite to depart Mallaig at 18:38. Both the train rides were fun, but basically exactly the same weather as my family and I had experienced in August two years ago - gray and rainy. And of course since we didn't go east of Glenfinnan on the train, we didn't go OVER the viaduct in the train. We're probably the only people to pay the high prices of the Jacobite and not go over the viaduct!

We arrived back into Glenfinnan (the Jacobite stopped JUST to let us off, because I had checked with the train guard to make sure he would) at about 19:45 and walked down in the dark and sprinkles to the Glenfinnan House for a dinner to warm us up. My friend gave a couple of the whiskys a try. I hate that I don't enjoy whisky -- I like the idea of it, but not the actual thing, so I know I'm missing part of the Scottish experience! We enjoyed another great meal at the Glenfinnan House. My friend then had to trudge back up the hill in the dark to her hotel!! But I just wandered upstairs in the house to my room.

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Day 5/Wednesday: I was back on my own, as my friend had gone on to Skye, and I basically refuse to go to Skye until I have enough time to do it properly! ha! Being rather overimpressed with my wild travel skills, I had planned to leave on Thursday for a harebrained trip up to Inverness and on to Golspie to see Dunrobin Castle and had all the tickets and lodging reservations set. This would have been six hours' travel via three different transports on Thursday, starting with leaving Glenfinnan on the 6:51 train Thursday morning, and arriving back in Glasgow by 3 pm on Friday. Luckily, I came to my senses that while I might think this plan was dashing and showed how free I could be as a solo traveler with no one to answer to, it was actually simply insane. So I had decided a day or two before that I would put the kibosh on this trip and stay an extra night in Glenfinnan (which had the effect of essentially giving me two additional days in Glenfinnan.

I had cancelled my planned Golspie lodging without penalty but had a bit of money tied up in tickets and wanted to see what, if anything, I could get back. With no ticket service at Glefinnan station and hardly any at Mallaig, this meant a trip in to Fort William. I took the Shiel Buses bus that left Glenfinnan at 8:05 and it was fun because it mainly picked up teenagers to take them to the regional high school in Fort William (plus a couple of teachers and other school staff), then a few adults heading in to Fort William for work. It was fun to see the life of the community this way. (And the bus driver was a spirited lady probably in her early 60s, and it was fun to watch her work.)

I dealt with my business at the train station rather quickly, then had 3 hours to kill before the next train back. So I went into walk the main street of Fort William - a mix of mountain shops catering to the hikers who come to climb Ben Nevis, other tourist shops, cafés, and the establishments to cater to the local population. There were "I climbed Ben Nevis" t-shirts, postcards, and certificates for sale everywhere. I had a coffee at Costa (mainly to use the restroom, but enjoyed the coffee too!) and went to a couple of the gift shops. At one, I bought a mug by a designer I like, Fiona Douglas, a Scottish artist who has her own company Bluebellgray. https://www.bluebellgray.com/ Now, I need another mug like I need a hole in my head, but the size of the mugs in my hotel room really wasn't doing it for me, and well, just ONE MUG wouldn't hurt, right? I happened to mention to the sales ladies that I liked her work, and they told me that Fiona Douglas is from Fort William, and her brother used to work in that store! I knew she was from Scotland but not that she was from the Highlands, much less Fort William, so that was a fun connection.

I bought picnic provisions before departing Fort William, caught a train at a little after noon, and got back to Glenfinnan by 1 pm. I went back down to the hotel and had my picnic on the tables in front of the hotel. Just at the end of the front lawn at the Glenfinnan House is the head of Loch Shiel, with the Glenfinnan Monument just a few hundred meters away. The view from the front of the house is endlessly beguiling and so soothing , and one of the things I love about staying there. So I ate my tuna sandwich and apple and "crisps" in perfect happiness, enjoying the blue and the green all around.

In the afternoon, I simply went down to the drawing room of the hotel and plopped myself in a fat chair (with a window facing out onto the loch, of course!) and looked at the train times for the next day, and then read for a couple of hours. I hadn't been that relaxed in months. And another wonderful dinner that night at the Glenfinnan House did the trick too. It's a husband-wife team that manage the hotel, and he is the chef, and they offer wonderful meals, with various things changing day to day. Everything I had there was delicious.

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Day 6/Thursday: A day without too many plans, what a luxury. Still in Glenfinnan.

In the morning, I lazily walked up to the path below the viaduct to get shots of the Jacobite coming for its 10:45/11-ish passage. I felt lucky for this to be a ten-minute walk from my hotel, because before I even arrived at the small parking lot adjoining the National Trust site, cars were coming down "our" road to park (where they're not supposed to), people were slowing down and seeing they couldn't park, etc. etc. (I later read a story on the BBC with complaints about the number of people who come to see the train pass like this who try to park and do so in ways that prevent clear passage of vehicles and would certainly impede any emergency vehicles that needed to pass. Apparently the village or the shire is considering building additional parking to accommodate this influx, but it's unclear when this would be built and finished.) Indeed, as I walked to where I wanted to be and then waited for the train, I could hear several people around me talking on their cell phones to members of their party who had dropped them off and simply could NOT find anywhere to park.

The train came, I took my video and pictures, and then wandered back down to the Monument, where I got some shots back down the Loch and across to the hotel. The Monument shows a highlander looking NOT out to the loch, but rather back up to the hills - and signifies when Bonny Prince Charlie and the MacDonalds were awaiting to see whether Clan Cameron would join them in their attempt to go take back the crown.

https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/glenfinnan-monument-visitor-centre-p246521

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/glenfinnan-monument

Then I caught the train back towards Mallaig, but got off at the stop just before Mallaig - Morar. I had another Walk Highlands walking route to go see the famous silver sands beaches:

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/silversandsmorar.shtml

This time, i found one of the comments particularly helpful, and know I wouldn't have found the setting off point for the walk without its photo of the underpass and descriptions of where it was.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=65835

(Always read the walkers' comments, as they can prove critical to being able to follow the trail!)

The only people I saw on the beach were a family with three boys (whom we had been on the train with earlier in the week) and a couple of people out walking before me. The tide was out so the walking was easy. The light shimmered on the water, and the islands of Eigg and Rum visible out in the distance. And I saw some sheep up QUITE close on my return walk, and plucked some blackberries from the brambles. Train back to Glenfinnan, an early dinner at the hotel since I hadn't had lunch, and an early night to pack it in and get some rest.

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Day 7/Friday: Today was my last day in Glenfinnan, and it was beautifully sunny. So I decided to take the same boat cruise I had taken on Tuesday! Back to Loch Shiel Cruises (I bought my ticket in my hotel room from their website, so I didn't have to worry about arriving at the dock in time). After breakfast, I checked out of my room and went for the 10:45 sailing. The boat they use was built in 1940 and used to transfer troops out to ships during WWII. She's a nice solid boat, the Sileas.

With the blue blue skies and some white puffy clouds, and the green green green of the surrounding hills and mountains, it was a beautiful boat ride. Most everyone else on the boat saw eagles again, but somehow I completely missed them this day. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful beautiful ride, and I was surrounded by nice people to chat to, and it was a wonderful way to spend my last morning in Glenfinnan.

https://www.highlandcruises.co.uk/

When the boat ride was over, I went back to the hotel and had lunch - mussels from Arisaig, yum!! what better way to wrap up my time near the coast. In the afternoon I walked up to see the village church and spent the rest of the time in the drawing room reading. The hotel had one of the staff members, Constantin, drive me to the train station, and I caught the 16:54 out of Glenfinnan which would have me in Glasgow at 21:21.

The man in Seat 61 (and really, just about any place you read) talks about the West HIghland Way as one of the world's most beautiful railway journeys. Of course part of that is due to the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the parts I had been seeing repeatedly over the past few days, but east of Fort William as the train crossed Rannoch Moor, I saw more of what they have all been talking about. Bleak and beautiful and stunning, it's certainly an amazing ride. I had some companions just for the bit to Fort William, and then my four-top around a table all to myself for the rest of the ride.

The folks at Glenfinnan House had packed me a picnic lunch for dinner, so I enjoyed that on the train. I never had to use the toilet facilities, so can't comment on them!

https://www.seat61.com/WestHighlandLine.htm

This truly was a spectacular ride, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

We arrived in Glasgow right on time, and my hotel was quite near Queen Street station, and I knew it, having stayed there before with my family - the Premier Inn at Buchanan Galleries. It didn't take me more than 5 minutes to walk from the train station to the hotel and check in. That was nice because it had been a long day!

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Enjoying your report. We were just in Scotland in July. My trip report is also posted. Love the highlands! Did not do the Glennfinnan area though, we drove right by it on our way to Oban.

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Sounds lovely. Thinking about Scotland for next spring so your report was very helpful.

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what a great experience, even with sad feet

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Love your report. your descriptions of the Highlands are so vivid. It must have been a marvelous time.

I love your comment about Glasgow being high wired for energy on the streets, I feel that way about Naples. I think I have to visit Glasgow, I have heard so many comparisons between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I have read many of Alexander McCall Smith's series 44 Scotland Street in which he often makes funny remarks about characters who are Glaswegians.

Also, I can relate to your shoe debacle: I too had to buy some new shoes in Paris as the ones I had brought just weren't making my feet comfortable enough on the cobblestone streets. It was a neat experience in the Mephisto shop on rue Cler and I love wearing those shoes to this day and I'm reminded of my purchase in Paris!

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Day 8/Saturday: I slept in a bit this morning and didn't leave the hotel until after 11 am. Then went on a wild goose chase for the "Royal Mail" - ended up at a depot up in an industrial area when there was a Post Office right in the next block from my hotel!! #NavigatingFail

After that I took the bus to the West End to go to the bluebellgray shop, which is housed in an old bank. Then I wandered around the West End for the rest of the afternoon. I had passed some incredible apartment blocks on the bus on Downhill Street, so I walked back down to see more of them - this is the grandeur of old Glasgow, the apartments look so stately, and they have fine stained glass in the top panes of their windows. In addition the iron gates to each individual building were decorated with Glasgow Style motifs, for example a thistle. A woman walking up the street saw how much I was admiring them and encouraged me to continue down the block - she said where she lived in the next block the stained glass in the windows were original from the Mackintosh studios.

I finally intersected with Byres Road and needed to get some lunch. I went into Kember & Jones, a wonderful bakery/café. I had an amazing cullen skink soup (finally!) and the BEST bread. The ceilings were enormously high, and the whole feeling was of light and coziness. They had built a small mezzanine up in the back, so I sat there looking down on everything. After that, I went wandering around the "lanes around Byres Road," which were mentioned in my French guidebook. mostly the places back there were pretty ratty, but there were a few interesting things to see.

Then I cut across the University to go to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery to see the Glasgow Style display. There's a lot on offer there but I just concentrated on the Mackintosh stuff and a bit on Glasgow painters and history of Glasgow.

After that I went back to the hotel to rest -- and never made it back out! I must have really needed my rest this day.

https://www.kemberandjones.co.uk/cafe/

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/kelvingrove-art-gallery-and-museum

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Day 9/Sunday: I hate going to the Premier Inn breakfasts, they always seem crowded to me, so I never buy the breakfast there. I usually have a biscuit (cookie) and tea in my room, but today I wanted a more substantial breakfast since I hadn't had dinner the night before, so I headed down the street to Carluccio's where I had a full big breakfast to get me fueled for the day.

Today was a day for me to check out the shops for things I needed back home in Paris. I don't exactly have the body type for which clothes are sold here (translation: I'm short and round), so I needed to get some things for work and some more SHOES. I spent time down on Argyle Street and up at John Lewis in the Buchanan Galleries.

For lunch I went to Paesano Pizzeria. I went a little late as I knew it would be busy, and this was indeed the case. Busy, busy busy!!!! Luckily since I was alone, they found a spot for me at the bar pretty quickly and I didn't have to wait at all. Except for the irony of being seated at the bar and my beer not arriving until after I got my pizza !! (It was a big bar and the bartender was busy busy busy fulfilling drinks orders so I hated to bug him from my "privileged" position.) The pizza was excellent and the servers were very nice, but it was LOUD in there (flat surfaces and lots of kids-- which is fine but there was one quite small child who kept shrieking repeatedly and it was not the most soothing on the nerves!!). It was fine but I think I'll stay to my favorite pizzerias in Paris and Turin.

In the late afternoon I headed over to the National Trust's Tenement House museum. This is a place that shows what life was like in Glasgow in years past -- basically a lady got moved out into a hospital for the last decade of her life, and when they went back in, everything was preserved as she had left it. I had literally left my family on the doorsteps of this museum last time I had been in Glasgow (because I had to cut off and go meet my husband, who was arriving on the bus from the airport from Paris), and I was determined not to miss it this time. It was definitely like a walk back in time - after seeing some exhibits on panels downstairs, you walk up to the first floor and "ring" the doorbell by pulling the old brass bar - it is a very solid-feeling piece, and jangles wonderfully. Then you step into Miss Toward's apartment. I have to say it was rather posher than I would have imagined. The exhibits had shown how this was a kind of mid-sized tenement apartment, different from those where for example a whole family would have lived in one room. The guides were fantastic and were able to provide all sorts of information. It didn't take long to see it, but gave a sweet look into years past.

I walked back to the hotel down Sauciehall Street - of course certain roads were cut off because of the most recent fire damage to the Glasgow School of Art. It's so sad to think that this building, which was just coming back to life from the 2004 fire, has been destroyed again. I had thought about going back out to the movies around the corner, but never made it back out again. I'm often like this when I travel - sometimes the idea of going out for another meal tires me and I end up staying in.

http://paesanopizza.co.uk/

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/the-tenement-house

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Day 10/Monday: Today I got up and out and headed on the #9 bus out to Mackintosh's House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, south of the city center. It took the bus a while to get there, then was a little bit of a walk . . .my printed map and my GPS and HERE maps got me where I needed to go. (As an aside, I find the Glasgow bus system with its multiple companies, rather confusing. I finally got ahold of it once I got ahold of a printed flyer from the bus company and marked it up with arrows designating which way the one-way streets go. ) I was having problems with my smart phone, but you can buy an all-day ticket through their app, or do as I did and buy either one-use tickets or all-day tickets on the bus, either with cash or by tapping in your debit card to the reader.

I didn't know the story of the House for an Art Lover, just vaguely knew that it was in Mackintosh's oeuvre - but WOW what a story. Mackintosh submitted the design to a German competition in 1901. In the late 1980s, some architecture and art professors and leading lights in Glasgow proposed to the city to build the house in Bellahouston Park - and the house was finished in 1996.

What an extraordinary achievement. The team had Mackintosh's and his wife Margaret Macdonald's drawings submitted to the German competition, and a few elevation sketches -- but basically had to turn these two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional building 90 years later!! The audioguide included with entry explained how they went about trying to come the closest they could to creating Mackintosh's and Macdonald's plans. For example, the artisans who worked on the stained glass windows were able to source the clear glass in Poland, but they found the opaque white glass that had been produced a hundred years ago in France in a warehouse in the Netherlands (or some such). The same reverse engineering happened all over the house - for the architectural plans as well as for the artistic finishes - cloth panels, gesso panels, light fixtures, etc. etc.

I walked in and before I even started listening to the audio guide, I walked in the piano room. The beauty of the room was so all encompassing that I honestly wanted to cry. You know when you go somewhere, and you've heard about it and thought about it, and it's interesting and you're glad you went there? This was an example of when you go somewhere, you've heard about it, and you go there and you are absolutely, literally stunned by the exquisite beauty of what you are seeing and experiencing and the fact of history being alive in front of you.

The house isn't very big, but it is a wonderful wonderful experience. When I first got there in the morning, there was a couple there; by the time I left, there were maybe 15 people at the very most, more likely 10 or 12.

I finished there and walked back to the 9/9a bus back into town (for some reason it seemed WAY faster on the way back into town than it had on the way out there). I got off the bus and went back to Ichiban for lunch, then hit the Clark's shoe shop for another pair of less-expensive-than-France shoes, and John Lewis for some quality UK products, also cheaper than France, before catching the airport bus back out to the airport (I bought my ticket on line before my trip - it was 8 pounds one way or 12 pounds round trip). The EasyJet agent even let me slip in an extra checked bag for free (yippee)!

I was sad when I was prepping for Glasgow that the Hill House is currently closed as they are enveloping it in a huge box to protect it from the elements . . but it's easy enough for me to get back to, and will make for another great long weekend from Paris. Going there and seeing some more Mackintosh, spending time in the bookstore, and seeing more of Glasgow's street life - sign me up!!!

https://www.houseforanartlover.co.uk/

https://www.firstgroup.com/greater-glasgow/routes-and-maps/glasgow-airport-express

Posted by
11153 posts

Glad you finally got to see the Tenement House and the House For An Art Lover, and even happier that they gave you as much enjoyment as they gave me.

Posted by
5405 posts

Thanks Harold! Now I just have to get back and hit MORE things. Really want to go to Dundee too to see the new V&A and the Oak Room that they've rebuilt there.