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).