Today we dock in Greenock, a port city for Glasgow in the lowlands of Scotland. Glasgow itself is considered a port city, but the channel is so dry, that larger boats can no longer get in. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the United Kingdom behind London and Birmingham.
Predictions of more bad weather and my limited knowledge of Glasgow as an industrial city, we weren’t sure we wanted to mess with the 1-1 1/2 hour train ride in. We decided to see if we have anything of interest locally first. The shopping street was very limited; there was an indoor mall, the shortest path to the train station, but not much else. We did spot one interesting Government Building and a clock tower. We pretty quickly decided to head into Glasgow. We found the train station and bought roundtrip tickets. We had maps and set out to find the stop for the hop-on/hop-off bus once we got to Glasgow.
The train ride along side the river was fun and lasted less than 40 minutes. We passed through another village named Port Glasgow; it appears the deep water continues to recede or I suspect we would have berthed here. The train itself was very nice. We had seats sitting across from one another. Others had brought a lunch and were enjoying it on the tables and we wished we had done the same. We decided lunch was the first order of business after our arrival; of course, I suggested fish and chips.
The Glasgow Central Train Station is wonderful, picturesque and full of amenities. We got a feel for the signage regarding our return and found a map let us know the direction out of the structure would get us to our destination. We couldn’t believe it. The first thing we saw heading out the main entrance was a Traditional Fish and Chips shop. One got a drink and one meal to share and followed the map to one of the bus stops. The fish was hot, fresh, and delicious and wrapped in paper in the traditional way. The chips were hot and salty. We had a great lunch and decide to walk the extra block to the originating stop for the bus so we could take the full tour from the beginning.
The tour began right on the city’s main square. We headed first to the east side of the city passing the Cathedral, numerous museums, Tennent’s Brewery, and Weekend Market. We then made it over to Glasgow Green and did a turn by the Doulton Fountain and the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens.
Rocky starting spotting a “Tartis”(aka a blue police box) right away and then we were on a mission to find as many as possible. We were briefly along the River Clyde, before making our way through the popular shopping areas and even passing a stop for the Central Station from a different direction from where we came out. We went down Argyle Street and along the Quay before crossing the Clyde Arc Bridge to the other side of the river and the Glasgow Science Center.
Crossing back over the river we came to a hotel cluster, the Hydro Entertainment Venue, and the Scottish Exposition and Conference Center, nicknamed the Armadillo. Being from Texas and having seen many armadillo, I can tell you the SECC does look like one.
We were now on the west side of Glasgow, passing many upscale residential neighborhoods. We drove by Kelvingrove Park, where we saw a children’s theater production in progress at an outdoor theater; Glasgow University, where the students are on summer recess; and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of the most beautiful buildings I saw in Glasgow. We passed churches that been converted into bars and the beautiful botanical gardens…and a few more tardis.
There are actually 28 stops on the Glasgow Hop-on/Hop-off bus, more than enough to keep you busy for the day. Although the weather looked threatening and more than once we had to put our jackets on and hoods up to keep warm, it never rained on us. We got off at George Square and retraced our steps to the Central Station. There are more beautiful buildings in this area and pedestrian streets filled with shoppers. I found a store from a British accessories line I like and spent a little time inside buying gifts. We also stopped at a Subway to get a drink and use the toilet so we could avoid having to pay to pee.
We took the train back to Greenock, noting that with the change in tide, the water was even lower. We got off at Greenock Central and walked back to the Ocean Terminal a slightly different way so I could take a few photographs of local buildings and a fountain I liked. We had fun on this thrown together day.