My first impressions of Scotland, were of the people. The people have been very nice and friendly right down to the Border Agent questioning me so very politely. After passing the border guard’s quiz and getting out of the airport, the architecture was the most noticeable. I love it! Nearly everything has either what I would typically think of as a ‘castle’ look or mostly – please forgive me if I offend – an ‘English cottage’ style.
I knew I wanted to be in Edinburgh for the vote, advice taken from a dear Scottish friend, so I set out to Glasgow for my first day. In a dozen years of traveling, I have set out a number of times either on short notice or without having a great feel for the area. (It’s ok, feel free to begin laughing now.) Each time I booked a room upon arrival so I had a better idea of which area I wanted to explore and that my hotel was in a safe neighborhood. This has never failed me. I came close, once, in Atlanta where I did stay in a more sketchy area than I would prefer but that was it. Glasgow, it seemed, did not have any available rooms. Literally. I essentially went on a four hour walkabout, covering much of the city, looking for a place to stay. Yes, I would have thrown cost concerns to the side and used my phone had it not died on the flight over. It had 25% left when I left the U.S., you would think it would have at least powered on since it was off the entire flight but I digress…
So, my walkabout. I lugged my bag all over the city looking very haggard and quite foolish. My grand aspirations upon landing, knowing no hotels would have such an early check-in, were to see the sights a little foolishly lugging my bag around for a short time. However, after 20 hours of travel, I was in desperate need of a shower, clean clothes, and fresh makeup. Everyone explained that they had no vacancy and weren’t aware of any. Finally, a very kind gentleman at Ibis hotel allowed me the use of their wifi to search and recommended Booking.com. I checked Booking.com and my usual standby’s and there was nothing available closer than 19 miles from Glasgow. I was stunned. 19 miles away!! So, being flexible, I looked at the place in Loch Lomond I had thought about taking a day trip to see – also completely booked. At this point, I was in dire need of a shower from traveling, very hungry, and freshly sweaty. Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow’s Cathedral, the music scene, and it’s people would have to delay until a future trip.
So I gave myself a pep talk. ‘Self, this is what you do. You make the best of a bad situation.’ Not taking any chances, I went ahead and booked a room in Edinburgh and headed back towards Buchanan bus station. I did take my camera out at this point though. I hadn’t wanted to approach anyone asking to take their picture looking (and possibly smelling) as I did but I would not forgive myself if I didn’t get at least some photos of Glasgow before leaving. I am very glad I did as the next few posts will be about the great people I met then.