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To Glasgow and Stirling

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 14 May 2005

Saturday 14 May, to Glasgow and Stirling

Today we are going to visit Glasgow, mainly because we have never been there before. We have once passed it through its suburbs, but avoided the center since we thought at the time Glasgow was more an industrial city.
GlasgowWell, although Glasgow is also known for its industry it was once a thriving center of commerce and now also an important cultural city. Many of our Scottish friends and people who emailed us, urged us to visit this city, so we have reserved a couple of days to look around there.
George Square GlasgowWe park our car in a car park and start on our walking tour on George Square in the center of the city. And our first impression is not really positive: there are many old buildings, but they are outshined by high modern buildings and the two styles don't agree with each other at all. A sort of schizophrenic city.
GlasgowAt the tourist information we buy a booklet with a well-described walk through the town that should bring us to all the important monuments and some galleries of the city within 2 hours. We notice that Glasgow is obviously a very modern city and there are indeed a lot of galleries with a broad range of art and we even see a genuine Rembrandt in one of them.
Glasgow Glasgow Royal infirmaryFrom the Lighthouse (also called the Mackintosh Tower, a famous architect but we don't really like his work) we have a good view on the city and the photograph to the left clearly shows the tangle of old and new buildings. It is our personal taste of course, but we don't like Glasgow, as if it doesn't have a clear identity of its own. Edinburgh is also a mixture of old and new, but for some reason it all fits together better, a modern city with clear historical roots that haven't lost their charm, totally different from this place.
GlasgowAfter our walk through the city center we go to the cathedral, 2 kilometers away, visit the oldest surviving house of Glasgow (from the 15th century) and then decide that we have seen enough of Glasgow. There are some museums in Glasgow we would like to see one day (especially the Burrell collection) but for today we have had enough of this town. For us it is just another city, like so many more in Europe but undoubtedly there are many people who feel something special for this city, so we hope not to have offended anyone by this statement (as we seem to do sometimes when we express our personal taste...).
It isn't very late when we leave Glasgow and the sun is not setting before 10, so we have plenty of time left to do something else. We decide to go to Stirling, s place where we have been to, but never to the city center or the castle.
Stirling StirlingAnd the moment we enter Stirling, we already like it better than Glasgow. It is a vivid town with an attractive atmosphere which we enjoy much better. And we start in a pub, off course! It is quite nice so we sit outside.
Stirling is situated very strategically in the heart of Scotland, so it is no surprise that a large castle has been built on the top of the hill.
For a long time in history the only place to cross the river Forth was near Stirling, the only bridge between the south and the north of the country. It is therefore not a surprise that quite a few famous battles took place right here, like during the war of independance in the 14th century when Robert de Bruce opposed the English.
Wallace monumentFrom the castle we can see the Wallace monument in the distance, raised in Victorian times to remember William Wallace, the freedom fighter from the 14th century. Most people will know him from the movie Braveheart. The pillar has been build on Abbey Craig, a litlle northeast of Stirling, dominating the landscape. It is possible to climb to the top, but we haven't done that yet, although we have been to the monument. But is was very cold and rainy that day, quite different from the nice weather we are having today.
Stirling StirlingStirling looks a bit like Edinburgh, but a bit more modest and smaller. Nevertheless, it attracts us much more than Glasgow. We look for a hotel for a short time, since our plans have changed now we don't have to return to Glasgow tomorrow, and are not bound to a place in the neighbourhood.
But this time we have no luck, so we return to Denny where we can stay in the pub that we visited yesterday, the Donner Inn. The room costs only 35 pounds (without breakfast), the same as we had to pay for the Railway Hotel, yesterday, but this room is a bit better. So, now we only have to think about what we are going to do tomorrow. We have no idea yet, and although we are glad we have seen Glasgow, we are even more glad that we don't have to go there another day.


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