Scotland

A Great Irish Ditty and Those 50p Cheap Flights

Categories: Challenges Insights and More, County Cork, England, Food and Other Stuff, Glasgow, Ireland, Ireland, London, Scotland, Video Tours | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow, Scotland (August 13-18, 2008)

DAY ONE

Matt and I headed to Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday, August 13th to check out a chiropractic organization there and attend one of their chiropractic seminars. We headed out early on Wednesday morning to get to the train station in Koeln, Germany early so that we would get to Dusseldorf Airport in early and thus be able to relax and not be rushed but alas our efforts we’re in vain.

We got to the Haupbahnhof in Koeln early and enjoyed a nice Starbuck’s coffee and a snack and then easily caught the train for the half hour ride to Dusseldorf airport. Upon arriving at Dusseldorf airport we marveled at the fact that we had about an hour and half to just relax and await our flight to Glasgow but we noticed that the airline Ryan Air wasn’t listed on the airport billboard.

I went to information and asked which terminal Ryan Air left out of and the lady told me ‘Oh no, you’re at the wrong airport. Go to the booth for the train tickets and get a ticket to Dusseldorf Weeze airport’. A bit disappointed and concerned about missing our flight because it’s the only one to Glasgow that day we went to the train ticket countered and told them that we were sold a wrong ticket to the wrong airport. He apologized and told us that it would take 2 ½ hours by train to get to the other airport and that we won’t make it on our flight if we did that. We would have to take a cab to the other airport and that would take us about 45 minutes and about 80 Euros (about $120)!! Not delighted that it would be a really close call getting to the airport in time and that our cheap airline tickets just became a bit more expensive we went downstairs to get a cab.

We communicated to the cab driver as best we could that we needed to go to Dusseldorf Weeze airport (he didn’t speak a word of English) and when we inquired about how much it would cost us to get there he responded by saying he didn’t speak any English. Warning, warning!! But we got in any way as we had no choice. By now we were both livid and trying to figure out how big Dusseldorf was that it had two airports so far away from each other.

When we arrived at the really small airport called Dusseldorf Weeze we found that it cost us 150 Euros (about $225)!! We were not amused to say the least! Next time we fly out of Koeln/Bonn airport and just pay the extra money on the airline tickets and be done with it. **(We later found out that Dusseldorf Weeze airport is on the boarder of Belgium and the Netherlands!! Why Dusseldorf is even in the airport name is beyond me!!)

In the airport we discovered that the only airlines that leaves out of there is Ryan Air and the organization of that airport is atrocious to say the least. The on time airline by the way did not leave ‘on time’ from that airport but honestly I don’t blame the airlines I blame the way the airport is run. But I digress!!

We finally get seated on the plane and we have a nice flight and land at Glasgow’s Prestwick airport with no problems. After going through passport control and getting our Scottish stamp in our passport we meet up with a gentleman named Matt from Glasgow Chiropractic who showed us around the city and showed us one of their practices on the way into town. Then he took us to the apartment where we were going to be staying for the next few days. It is an apartment owned by one of the chiropractors who is trying to rent it. It was furnished and really nice in a really old building on the top of a hill that had wood floors that squeaked and nearly floor to ceiling windows (and the ceilings were about 12 feet high) with great views of Glasgow below.

Kitchen of apartment in Glasgow

Kitchen of apartment in Glasgow

Ceiling and lights in apartment in Glasgow

Ceiling and lights in apartment in Glasgow

Cool Built in Shelves in Glasgow Apartment

Cool Built in Shelves in Glasgow Apartment

One of Two Fireplaces in Apartment

One of Two Fireplaces in Apartment

View of Living Room and Dining Area of Apartment

View of Living Room and Dining Area of Apartment

Bedroom in Apartment

Bedroom in Apartment

After settling in a bit we took Matt’s advice and headed off to have some dinner at a place down the road but first we needed to purchase an umbrella as it was raining quite nicely.

Me, The Rain, And Our New Brolly (It Means 'Umbrella' For All You Non-Anglophiles)

Me, The Rain, And Our New Brolly (It Means 'Umbrella' for all of you Non-Anglophiles)

At the restaurant we ordered a two plates of Fish and Chips and water (we were saving our beer drinking for the pub down the block that was also recommended called Uisce Beatha). While sitting there we noticed that there was an internet café called I-Café across the street and I had heard that it was a nice place to get free internet. All you had to do was purchase something and you could use their wireless internet. We would check that out in the morning.

Our Local Scottish Pub,

Our Local Scottish Pub, Uisce Beatha

After our nice traditional dinner we headed over to Uisce Beatha (don’t ask how to pronounce it because after asking several people in the pub we were still confused…it sounded like Ishcabar but I can’t say really) for a few pints. After only about two minutes we were joined by a regular who introduced himself as Tony and he began chatting with us about where we were from, etcetera.

How To Catch A Haggis

Next another regular named Bob came over and started chatting with us and telling us jokes and just making us laugh. We got on the subject of Haggis and my restraint in wanting to try it and he told us what haggis is.

Bob told us that Haggis is an animal that lives in the Highlands and it has six legs. Three of the legs are long and on the downward slope of the hill and three of the legs are short and on the upward slope of the hill. Because of that the Haggis can not walk up and down the mountain. It can only go around and around the mountain at the same level. Bob said this was key in actually catching them because what you did was once you spotted the six-legged tracks of the Haggis you hid in the bushes with a burlap sack and when the Haggis comes around the mountain you jump in front of it and it runs right into the sack and that, Bob insists, is how you catch the Haggis.

Bob said it was so funny to tell foreigners this because if they have no idea what Haggis is they will sit there wide-eyed and say ‘REALLY!!’ It gives the locals a laugh anyway.

Seriously though Bob stated that Haggis is really mostly oatmeal and spices and only a little bit of the icky bits of meat that we hear about. He said it tastes really good and that he has it regularly and he feels that we probably eat worse things when we have a hamburger at McDonalds. I told him maybe I’d get the nerve up to try a bit before I left.

Bob Tells Us a Story about the Man and the Bull

After his haggis explanation Bob started telling us a joke about a man who had heard of this rare meal that they serve in Spain. The man flies to Spain and goes to this restaurant that he heard was world-renown for serving this meal.

He has heard that this meal of bull testicles are said to boost a man’s libido due to the high testosterone in the bull when it is killed during a bull fight. He is told that once you eat this meal you can go from one brothel to the next all over Spain and never run out of libido. The man thinks ‘I’ll have some of that!’

When he inquires about the special meal he is told that they only serve the freshest ingredients and that the next time they will be serving it is the following Sunday and he will have to come back then. The man says ‘Okay’ and the owners of the restaurant put his name down on the list.

The following Sunday the man goes back to the restaurant and he is seated at a table and brought his meal. It’s a big plate of leafy greens with two small pieces of meat on top. The man eats the meal and enjoys it. When the owners ask him how he enjoyed it the man said ‘It’s was really good but I must admit that the portion of meat was really small’. With that the owners of the restaurant said ‘Yes, well, sometimes the bull wins!’ We had a great chuckle with that one!

After having a local Black and Tan ale and a pint of Guinness (one of my favorites) Bob and Tony told us of a great place to have late night fish and chips and that the regulars all headed there after a few pints. So despite the fact that we had already had fish and chips for dinner Matt and I headed to the shop because…well…we were hungry and it was late. We order a portion of fish and chips with vinegar and salt and headed home to our apartment to enjoy them while looking at the beautiful view of Glasgow University lit up at night.

One of the things that we really thought was interesting in the apartment was a nice deep tub and the choice of lighting in there. You had the option to have regular lights on in there or you could choose option number two which were blue lights in the bathroom. We got a kick out of that and we’re constantly asked by the chiropractors how we liked the blue lights. 🙂

Normal Lights

Bathroom Option Number One: Normal Lights

Blue Lights (You're Jealous Aren't You?)

Bathroom Option Number Two: Blue Lights (You're Jealous, Aren't You?)

DAY TWO

Kelvingrove Park from The Apartment Window

Kelvingrove Park from The Apartment Window

On Thursday we woke up to a beautiful Scottish summer day (grey but not raining) J and walked to the I-Café for breakfast and some internet. We had a nice Scottish breakfast of fried eggs, beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast and I had a Café Mocha.

The I-Café is a lovely little place with couches scattered around in intimate little groupings on two levels, the ground floor and then there is a nice little loft area. We opted for the loft area this morning and while listening to the lovely music playing we ate and enjoyed our free internet connection. I blogged while Matt checked his email and surfed the internet.

Me and The Lions

On The Way To I-Cafe: Me and The Lions

Me and Some Really Important Dude!

On The Way To I-Cafe: Me and Some Really Important Dude!

Me On The Bridge

On The Way To I-Cafe: Me On The Bridge

Admiring The View

On The Way To I-Cafe: Admiring The View

At noon we were picked up at the apartment by Matt from the chiropractic company to look at some of the other practices they have in town after we all had lunch at a nice restaurant in town. I had a nice smoked salmon on salad and Matt was daring enough to have the Haggis fritters and something else which I can’t remember. I got the nerve to try a taste of the Haggis and it actually was pretty tasty but I couldn’t justify eating anymore considering that I don’t really eat meat to begin with.

After lunch we looked at two of the main practices in the city center of Glasgow and then chatted with the head guy, Clayton, at the main office.

View From Main Office To Buchannan Street Below

View From Main Office To Buchannan Street Below

That night we had dinner at the I-Café and blogged some more. Then we were off to the pub again for a pint. When we entered we saw our friend Tony and he informed us that now we were regulars because we had come two nights in a row.

View of Street and Kelvingrove Park From The Apartment Window

View of Street and Kelvingrove Park From The Apartment Window

View of A Cute Little Mini Cooper From The Apartment Window

View of A Cute Little Mini Cooper From The Apartment Window

View From The Apartment

View From The Apartment

DAY THREE

Day three started out with another breakfast at I-Café but this time with a Smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich on brown bread and a Café Mocha Flake which is a Café Mocha (coffee) with a Flake candy bar on top. It’s decadent but really tasty. A Flake Bar is a really light, thin chocolate bar that literally melts in your mouth when you bite into it. Really yummy!

When walking back to the apartment through Kelvingrove Park we saw this bird that we’ve never seen before. It was black, white, and blue and they were all over the park. We still don’t really know what kind of bird they are so if any of you that are reading this know what it is please post it for us all to see. 🙂 (My British Informant, a.k.a. Clive, has informed me that these birds are called Magpies and they are very common in the U.K. You see, this isn’t just a blog. It’s an education! 🙂 )

Black, White, and Blue Bird in Kelvingrove Park

Black, White, and Blue Bird (a.k.a. Magpie) in Kelvingrove Park

I did some more work on my blog trying to catch up on last weekend’s Swiss wedding and then we headed out for the day ahead of us.

After dropping off our computers at the apartment Matt and I hailed a cab and went into the city center but when the cab driver turned down the street we needed to go down to get where we wanted to go the traffic was stopped. So he told us if we wanted to get out and walk the last two blocks we were nearly where we needed to be. We thanked him and got out and walked down the block to see what the hold up in traffic was.

It turned out that when we got to the corner the traffic was stopped because a bagpipe and drum band fully decked out in their kilts and all were just marching down the road. It was perfect timing for us and I go this great video footage of it all too. Check it out.

After that we headed to Buchanan Street and St. Vincent Street where we were to meet Matt of the chiropractic company at the head office. We first stopped in a sporting goods store though to pick me up a wind and rain jacket as I was a bit chilled without something of that sort.

At one o’clock we met with Matt at the head office and we all headed to the golf club that they were members at in Loch Lomond. It was beautiful to see and to my surprise the golf course was right next to the Youth Hostel that Clive and I stayed at 12 years ago when I visited the U.K. for the first time. The Youth Hostel is actually a castle and it’s great to stay in. I recommend it to anyone who is passing through Loch Lomond.

At the Loch Lomond golf club we all got comfy and order lunch and drinks. I ordered a salmon and haddock fish cake and a cider called Magners which is an Irish cider and quite tasty. Cider is an alcoholic beverage made of apples. It’s quite tasty and doesn’t really contain a lot of alcohol so it’s nice.

After lunch the guys from the chiropractic practice left Matt and I in the capable hands of one of their girlfriends so they could go play a game of golf. The plan was that we would chat and take a nice walk to Loch Lomond and then when we were ready head back to Glasgow with the girlfriend (I forgot her name and if she reads this I am sorry I forgot your name. please forgive me). She is a lovely woman originally from Australia as are most of them in this organization and we all had a great chat and enjoyed ourselves.

However by the time we decided to take a walk we realized it was late and she had guests coming and needed to get home. On the way out in the car she pointed to the Loch and some other sites that we might have seen had we all not been chatting away. It was a really nice afternoon though.

Field Marshall Earl Roberts Of Kandahar Pretoria and Waterford

Field Marshall Earl Roberts Of Kandahar Pretoria and Waterford

Glasgow Humor

Glasgow Humor

Walking through Kelvingrove Park we found this statue of another apparently really important dude on his horse but when we looked really closely we found a little Glasgow humor. Someone had put a toy dog head on the statue where you could barely see it but, of course, I did. The last time I was in Glasgow about 12 years ago I took a similar picture of another important guy on a horse and he had an orange road cone on his head for a hat! Must be some kind of running theme in Glasgow. 🙂

Back home at the apartment Matt and I headed to our local place the I-Café for dinner and more blogging. By the time we got done there we were tired and headed to bed. No pub for us tonight.

DAY FOUR

Saturday started out with a nice Scottish breakfast again of fried eggs, beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and brown bread and for me a Café Mocchiato and more blogging at the I-Café.

After breakfast we went back to the apartment to shower and get ready for the long day ahead of us. We were to attend a seminar put on by the Glasgow Chiropractic organization at the Radisson Hotel on Argyle Street in the City Center.

Matt & I At the Raddison Glasgow Before The Seminar

Matt & I At the Raddison Glasgow Before The Seminar

The seminar was really good and though not as dynamic a speaker at Tony Robbins the message was similar and very inspiring. We also got a chance to meet more of the chiropractors that work for Glasgow Chiropractic which was nice. They all seem really nice and I later found out that at least half of them all went to see Tony Robbins in London this year together and they loved it.

After the seminar we all had drinks and dinner at a local restaurant and just chatted and got to know each other. Everyone was really nice and excited to hear that I crew for Tony Robbins from time to time. They all wanted me to put in the word that they have a big group that wants to go to UPW in London again if Tony would come back there. They had heard that he wasn’t coming back to London any more and we’re hoping that that wasn’t true. They all loved Tony and the UPW experience!

After that we were driven back to the apartment and Matt and I went to sleep.

DAY FIVE

Sunday morning Matt had to get up early to attend a nine a.m. seminar for just chiropractors so I slept in a bit and enjoy the lounging around time.

View of The Apartment Building

View of The Apartment Building

At around ten a.m. I got dressed and headed down to what I now consider my spot…the I-Café for breakfast, café mocha and my free internet for blogging! J After posting the final day of our Switzerland adventure from last week I headed back to the apartment for a nice shower and to start writing this blog for posting hopefully later this evening.

In the afternoon the sun came out nice and bright and I thought I should take advantage of it. So I headed off to Glasgow City Center. I decided to walk it and found it an easy walk. In the City Center there were Bagpipers on many corners practicing their instruments and making a bit of pocket change.

I found a nice café called the Willow Tea Room and had a nice lunch of Smoked Salmon on Scottish Oat Crackers with a nice salad. Then I decided to be decadent and have a desert of meringue with berries and cream. Then I was off to window shop a bit more.

Around 4:50 p.m. I started my journey back to the apartment and Matt walked in a few minutes after me.

For dinner we headed back to the restaurant we visited on the first night and had a nice fish and chips dinner then we headed to the Scottish pub that we were now regulars at.

Above is a video of Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow that we took just to show you what a beautiful place it is. If you listen closely you can hear a bagpipe that was practicing under a tree just out of our camera shot.

When we arrived at the pub we found three of the chiropractors from the company Matt was seeing at the bar. After saying ‘hello’ one of the chiropractors, Hooman, took my hand and lead me to a room with a closed door. Inside we found a candle lit room surrounded by musicians. One would be chosen to sing a song and the others would join in and then after wards the one that sang would pick someone else in the room to go next. The songs they sang were everything from Scottish folk songs to songs written by the singer to Roger Miller’s ‘King of the Road’ which everyone joined in singing.

It was a great night and one that epitomizes what I think enjoying music should be, a round table of musicians having fun, singing, and enjoying each other’s company and musical expertise. I may have to start one of these groups myself once we get settled somewhere. 🙂

One of the gentlemen playing guitar and singing was my favorite as he was playing finger style mostly and his voice was so smooth and confident and his guitar had such a beautiful sound that I felt I had to have it. When he was putting it away at the end of his night I notice the headstock said ‘Moon’. So, of course, when I got back to the apartment I had to look it up. I found that it is a guitar that is handmade in Glasgow, Scotland and that many famous musicians play one. I have requested that they send me a price list and a catalogue of all their guitars and they said they would do it ASAP. The website is: http://www.moonguitars.co.uk/ for anyone who would like to check them out.

Over all it was a perfect ending to a lovely stay in Glasgow. If it weren’t for the fact that we had to get up early in the morning for our flight to Cork, Ireland I think we would have stayed until all the musicians went home but alas we must go.

Sunset Behind Glasgow University

Sunset Behind Glasgow University

Stay tuned for our adventures in Cork, Ireland next. Until then Matt and I send our love.

Categories: Glasgow, Scotland | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.