Picture of the Week

17 September 2015

Week 38: Scotland

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:16

Another long blog this week because I was in an interesting place, looking at interesting things. I came home from the US on August 31st, and the following morning I flew to Glasgow where I was going to attend a conference at the university. Not much rest between the two trips, but both professionally and photographically, it was a good week.

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We came back from the US around lunchtime on the 31st. My sister and brother-in-law from Poland welcomed us home. They had been house- and pet-sitting while we were away, to everyone’s great satisfaction:
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The official portrait:
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On Tuesday morning I went to the office to say hi to my colleagues (most of whom had come back from the summer break the day before) and put in a couple of hours of work before taking a lunchtime flight to Glasgow. I was staying at the Grand Central hotel which turned out quite nice, despite the strange fireman statue in front:
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I was particularly fascinated by the staircase with its giant chandelier:
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The hallway leading to my room. The hotel is an old grand hotel whose facilities have been reasonably modernised. One strike against it (which cost it a star in my review on Tripadvisor) is that there is no gym, something I expect in a hotel in this price range:
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After checking in, hanging my suits in the closet etc., I ventured outside for a walk in the neighbourhood. The Glasgow Apple Store occupies a grand old building, probably a bank in its former life:
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A community restaurant near my hotel had some interesting decorations outside:
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Later, I set out on a long walk (about 1/2 hour) to Glasgow’s West End where I was going to meet an ex-colleague at the Brewdog pub. Along the way, I got a good view of modern Glasgow, no longer the grimy, run-down place of the 1970s and 80s:
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I did pass what looked like council housing, with a leftover pro-independence poster on display:
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As always, I looked for details in the urban landscape:
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Finally, I arrived at the goal of my pilgrimage. Brewdog has pubs around the UK and elsewhere, but it is a Scottish brewery, so the Glasgow location must be regarded as the headquarters location:
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Looks promising:
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The promise is kept:
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My friend and ex-trainee, Antanina. She is Lithuanian and currently working on her PhD in economics at Padova University in Italy, one of the world’s oldest institutions of higher education:
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The next morning, the conference I attended is opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, speaking in the Main Chapel:
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Lots of interesting details:
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WWI remembrance:
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The keynote speech to open the conference was delivered by German MEP Julia Reda of the Pirate Party, which campaigns to relax copyright laws:
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Another lecture hall, in the Adam Smith building, with a magnificent and distracting view:
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Columns and courtyard:
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The main gate of the university, with names of famous alumni:
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None more famous than this one:
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Looking out:
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Great faces from the past:
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WWI memorial, Wellington Church, also part of the campus:
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New tools, old surroundings:
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There are modern buildings at the university, too:
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The university is located in a part of Glasgow called West End, which contains many interesting and quirky bars and restaurants. According to the Lonely Planet guidebook, this is one of the best restaurants in Glasgow. Sadly, I did not have a chance to eat there:
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Different worlds co-exist here:
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My goal was this place, a Vietnamese restaurant of which the Lonely Planet also thinks highly:
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The bicycle theme is very much in evidence inside:
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The decor is attractive and colourful:
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My lunch, pho followed by roast tofu, was excellent. Probably the best vegetarian meal I have ever had:
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A second-hand clothes shop near the Vietnamese restaurant:
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Ashton Lane is a short street with many bars, including this vodka place (“wódka” means vodka in Polish):
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Another bar on Ashton Lane, where I had some pints with my fellow economists:
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The subway station closest to the university, Hillhead, has murals celebrating diversity, with a Scottish twist:
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The conference gala dinner on Wednesday night was held at Òran Mór, a church converted to restaurant/entertainment venue:
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I loved the very colourful decorations at Òran Mór:
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View from above:
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Even though Òran Mór is no longer a church, the religious/philosophical theme is very much in evidence:
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Back in the centre, this is the side entrance to my hotel:
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Inside the Glasgow Central train station:
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The Polish presence in Glasgow is very much in evidence in this convenience store:
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A bar inside the train station claims to have it all:
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Posh graffiti:
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A man and his dram, in a very local pub near the Grand Central:
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The conference ended on Thursday night. I had decided to take Friday off and stay in Glasgow until Saturday morning. I also rented a car for the day in order to explore the Scottish countryside a bit. Trains in Scotland are quite slow, so that realistically one needs a car to really get around.

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I drove north along Loch Lomond, and then on to Loch Fyne, a famous seafood restaurant on the shore of the lake of the same name. There are Loch Fyne restaurants around the UK, including in Bath where my son studied until 2013, but this is the “mother ship”:
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The view from inside the restaurant:
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The oysters and the salmon tasted as if they had been pulled from the lake 10 minutes earlier. Simply the best:
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I ended the tour in Oban, site of one of the famous distilleries:
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Given that I had a long drive back to Glasgow, I only tasted one whisky; and I did not buy any, since I can actually buy Oban products cheaper at home in Alicante:
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Before heading back, I had an espresso while watching the life on the square in front of me:
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More Scotland pictures, focusing on the landscape, can be seen here.

2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for a most enjoyable tour. I never made it to Scotland when I studied in the UK (no time for that) and I’ll never get there now.

    Airchair travel is just great, thanks

    Comment by Brian Swale — 17 September 2015 @ 14:55

  2. Nathan–a superb tour! Thank you–some really excellent photos in the group. Thanks for travelling for the rest of us!
    Paul Beavin
    Suwanee GA USA

    Comment by Paul — 17 September 2015 @ 16:19

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