Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting the feel of Glasgow

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012 was the reason why and how I finally ended up in British Isles for the first time in my life. Better late than never, although I feel a bit bad about being so lame in the past. -The thing is that my friend was studying in Glasgow School of Art for five years and I always promised to visit her but never managed. She graduated couple of years ago, sigh.

Downtown Glasgow

Anyhow, last April I finally got my act together and flew over. And as it happened, she was there also at that time. So funny. I texted her from Heathrow Airport asking some hot tips for the city and she answered immediately that she can show me around, since she's there too. Heh.

Trendy and stylish
The whole city of Glasgow seemed to me to be a happy marriage of old and new. Traditional meets sleek design. Ultra modern glass complex sits right next to a Victorian brownstone and everything fits nonetheless. The accommodation was at Citizen M hotel, downtown. A cool and definitely designed place. Everywhere one could see these slogans and proverbs by the Citizen M, who ever he is. Check'em out:

My room @ Citizen M

By the entrance: note to all latecomers

Choices in shower

Citizen M, I presume?

Fun and cute
Jamie Kenyon, who was our contact from the festival was the dearest person ever, who invested so much energy in making us feel comfortable during our visit. This shouldn't have been so big a task, since all the things on the festival were pretty smoothly organized anyway. But he really invested his time on us. And took us to see the scaled model of Stonehenge, which turned out to be a bouncy castle. Loads of fun!!!

Bouncy Stonehenge

Among other places, Jamie took us also to visit the The Common Guild which exhibited contemporary photographs and graphics at the time. This guild have the cutest toilet sign ever. Seriously?!

Do you object??

Time machine
I did have little bit time to look around on my own in the city. I chose to go to the Hunterian Museum, which is located on the campus of Glasgow University. This museum claims so be one of Scotland's most important cultural assets.

Glasgow University campus

Collection includes bunch of cool gadgets and inventions by James Watt and Lord Kelvin among others. Fascinating. Many thingies and apparatuses that have to do with electromagnetism, sound waves and such. And one gets to touch them and try things out. All this sits happily right next to petrified dinosaur eggs and ancient Indian canoes.

Petrified dinosaur eggs at the collection

And the location is like walking into Harry Potter film set. I took the Glasgow subway to get there, which is also one thing not to miss while in the city. It was built, judging by the looks, sometime in the sixties and never touched after that.

Kelvin gadget

Totally incomprehensible
Scotland is a lovely place and the people are friendly. Teenies seemingly loud in the evenings, but nonetheless. People are very willing to chat with you, only most of the times I didn't understand one word of what they were saying. Takes some practise, I suspect.

River Clyde

On the very first evening I went to this pub recommended by the technicians of the contemporary art center and wanted to have a beer. I asked the bartender if he can recommend me some local lager-type of beer. He told me probably a big chunk of the history and qualities of several options he could offer me, only to realize that I didn't get absolutely any of it. Then he settled into offering me a sample. This one? This one. Big. thank you.

The Briggait, former fishmarket, nowadays art gallery

Funnily, the language seemed somewhat familiar to me, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Until somebody pointed out some similarities between Swedish and Scottish. Yess. That's it!! There is undeniably recognizable words common in both languages. No wonder it sound familiar even though one doesn't understand anything.

But yeah, so much of my exhilaration of being able to go touring somewhere where they speak English and to avoid the language barrier. Understanding would take some time. But I would definitely go again. Aye.

very Scottish