Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Road Junkies 0 Comments

, Chapter 23:  

Days 28-29:  Glasgow 
Monday began with a return to the Glasgow Cathedral to check out the underground area, which was closed on Sunday.  Below the nave lies the impressive arched crypt which houses the tomb of Saint Kentigern, best known by his nickname Saint Mungo.  The patron saint of Glasgow, Mungo is credited with converting parts of Scotland to Christianity in the 6th century.  The first bishop of the ancient British kingdom, he built his church on this spot and was buried here in the year 612.
Chapel and Tomb of St. Mungo
After picking up a few items at a nearby Aldi, we caught a taxi to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  Built in 1901, the museum offers free admission, which perhaps contributes to its popularity with both locals and visitors alike.  Exhibited in 22 themed galleries, the museum's collection is extensive, ranging from natural history to arms and armor, as well as art from many art movements and periods of history.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
One of the most memorable exhibits at the museum was artist Sophie Cave's Floating Heads installation.  Cave created more than 50 completely white mask-like heads, each bearing a different facial expression, from delight to despair, anger to anguish.  Hung from the  by invisible wires, the heads appear to float in the air above the entrance hall.  Lights of changing colors illuminate the faces, giving them an ever-changing appearance.
Floating Heads
Fossil finds document the presence of giant Irish deer in Scotland after the last Ice Age.
Van Gogh portrait of Alexander Reid (1887)
In the gallery where Impressionist works are exhibited, one could easily mistake a striking painting as a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh.  In fact, it is a portrait of a young Glaswegian art dealer, Alex Reid.  Reid often traveled to France to purchase works of art for Glasgow's wealthy industrialists.  During his visits to Paris, he befriended Van Gogh.  Legend has it they were often mistaken for each other by some French locals when the two went out drinking together.  Reid shared a flat with Van Gogh for a few months in 1887 and posed for this portrait.
Kelvingrove's interior would be worth seeing even without any exhibits.
After a delicious lunch at the museum cafe, we departed and tried to visit the University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum complex, only to discover it is closed from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day.  So on we walked, locating the Kelvinbridge subway station, where we caught the outer circle train to St Enoch station near our hotel.  
No price tags needed at Poundworld
Argyle Street was crammed with shoppers, and when we chanced upon PoundWorld (equivalent to a dollar store in the US), we remembered an Aldi employee's advice about finding a paring knife at such a store.  Indeed we did, along with a few other necessities such as shaving cream and hairspray with every item predictably costing one pound each.

Back at our hotel after an early dinner at Maggie May's, a classic pub with traditional Scottish food, we knocked around a few ideas for my birthday the following day—fly to the Isle of Man?  A day in London for theater? A quick hop to ??  Nothing was especially appealing, so we decided to hang in Glasgow another day.

Sunday was a day of travel planning and below low-key birthday celebrating.  We walked to Hertz and made arrangements to pick up a car tomorrow.  With none available today, we walked back to the hotel. Along the way we saw a goofy busker on Argyle Street performing a tribute to Eric Clapton's walking off stage at a concert in Glasgow last year.  
I'll have the Caprese salad, please.
The highlight of the day was the Metropolitan, a small restaurant which actually offered a Caprese salad on their menu.  My favorite dish always makes the perfect birthday fare.  Back at the hotel, we altered some upcoming plans and decided to return home on January 6 rather than the 12th as originally planned.  The dismal weather in both Ireland and Scotland over the past weeks has just worn us down.  We considered bailing and finishing the next couple of weeks in London, but the forecast there is no different.  

Finally we packed up to depart Glasgow tomorrow.  We're hoping to drive north but not sure what the weather will allow.