Stephen and I made our way up to Scotland recently, Glasgow to be exact. He had a meet-n-greet with some COH
players at a pub up there and I went along for the ride. What an experience that was. Most of you know, I'm not a gamer in the slightest. Everyone there was really lovely and extremely excited at all the free COH goodies that Stephen had brought along. I tried my best at conversing with all the Scottish gamers, even if I did need them to repeat themselves over and over. One guy even let me and Stephen try on his hat. That's Stephen on the right there, for those of you who haven't met him yet. EEEEERADICATOR!!
What I discovered in this pub is that it's so much nicer to be able to drink and eat in a smoke-free environment and that they're not afraid to put inflatable sheep in a bathroom vending machine. I love that they felt the need to label it as a FUN inflatable sheep, totally ignoring the fact that anyone who would pay £5.50 for it is most likely a total perv.
Stephen's parents are from Glasgow but I don't think he'd been back to visit since he was a teenager. The impression that I got from this city is that it's quite similar to Belfast in a lot of ways; a small city, once quite poor but now very up and coming. Still, you could see why Gordon Ramsey's
posh restaurant Amaryllis totally sank. Poor guy was totally gutted
, it being his hometown and all (which I don't get as he has no trace of a Scottish accent whatsoever.) Glasgow doesn't seem ready for that sort of thing quite yet.
We tried our hand at eating at what looked like a snazzy restaurant but left a lot to be desired; the Seafood and Grill
. I ordered the filet mignon and nearly choked when taking my first bite it was SO heavily spiced with peppercorn! I love my spicy food but this was a case of some serious over-seasoning. And it was brought to me medium when I ordered it med-rare. I should've sent it back but I'm a sucker. I kick myself when I think I paid £25 for it. I knew we should've gone to the recommended chippie instead.
Also on the agenda for that weekend was a trip to the newly re-opened Kelvingrove Museum
, which has just had a £28 million renovation. They'd had 400,000 visitors just in the past 2 months that it's been open! This was truly u
nlike any other museum I've ev
er been to.
It was designed to keep you interested; modern art was next to Van Gogh, natural history mixed in with automative, fashion, Elvis and best of all, loads of interactive exhibits for the kids (and those of us that have to touch everything). The most famous piece they have is Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross
. I kept looking at it and trying to figure out just why it was so controversial. Because you don't see Jesus' face? Because there's no obvious piercing or blood coming out of his hands or feet? I was truly moved by this picture. I'm no art expert by any stretch but I found the perspective amazing and the contrast of the darkness surrounding Christ and the cloudy blue skies over the fishermen below really potent. It would seem that the lack of blood and pain offends some people but there is more to the crucifixion than this and I think that Dali may have been trying to convey this. Or he could've just been piss-drunk and wanting to cause a stir, who knows? Art is how it moves us and what we take away from it just as much as it is its original intention. In my humble opinion anyways.
After a day out here we decided to stroll over to the West End, right next to the University of Glasgow, where Stephen's brother Alistair went to college. Definitely the more upscale area with lots of open green areas and of course, a Starbucks. Or three. Sigh.
We wandered into a lovely food shop called Peckham's
. Apparently they're a chain but they had Reese's cups so that's all that really matters. We bought some of the best shortbread
I've ever tasted in flavours of lemon curd, pecan praline and coconut.
All in all it was nice to get away for a few days but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that Edinburgh is much more my style.