First Week in Glasgow


06.15.15

Okay, super trippy. I just woke up, put on my makeup and now I’m having tea, gazing out the window of the Kirklee Hotel in Glasgow Scotland. Good Morning???

That’s the trippy part.

It isn’t morning here at all. It is 7:15pm and we are just starting our day.

You see, we arrived at 7:30am from LAX, which meant we had been up for an exhausting 17 hours. We woke up at 2:50am (LA time) in order to catch our 7:00am flight to Newark, NJ. We got there 5 hours later, had a 3 ½ layover and it was off to Scotland for another 6 hours.

Landing at Glasgow Airport

So, by the time we arrived at the Kirklee, we were pretty beat.

Kirklee Hotel

We had to wait in the lounge for our room to get ready, but once we were clear to enter our room, we crashed. My eyes were actually red and now I know why they call it “red-eye flights.” We out like lights and didn’t wake up until 5:00pm (Glasgow time/9:00am LA time). So, technically for us it really is our morning and it doesn’t get dark this time of year in Scotland until after 11:00pm, so we have time to explore Ashton Lane.

Since this is our first trip to Glasgow, there will be a lot learning experiences. For one, “walking distance” is not as close as I thought and is more difficult with Papa and his bad back. So, it became clear that we will be sing cab services more often than originally planned.

Douglas, from the Kirklee Hotel, called us a cab. The cab took us Ashton Lane, but since we were on California time and it was still light out, we didn’t realize that Glasgow was in nightlife mode and we had a problem getting into places with the kids. Bummer.

Ashton Lane is darling with lights strung over the street, cobble stones streets and quaint pubs.

Ashton Lane

Ashton Lane

Ashton Lane

In an unfamiliar place and starving, we were kind of at a loss of where to go next. As we strolled along Ashton Lane we stumbled upon an exciting burger joint called Ketchup. Best part? They were still serving dinner and kids were welcomed! So we popped in for some grub and our first pints in Scotland.

Ketchup in Glasgow

Ketchup in Glasgow

The food was yummy and just what we needed to fill our bellies. Our server, Holly, was so sweet and helpful. She even helped us call a cab and gave us tons of useful information. For instance, most establishments don’t allow kids after 8:00pm due to recent liquor licensing laws. In addition, our hopes of buying some drinks for the room were dashed as Holly informed us that stores stop selling alcohol at 10:00pm and bars stop serving alcohol at midnight. I have to say I was surprised by Glasgow’s strict liquor laws, but I guess they have their reasons. Just means more day drinking for us.

It took awhile for the cab as we stood stranded in the rain, but it was fine. I had a chance to take some great photos of Ashton Lane with the glossy wet cobblestone streets. Because we didn’t know the area yet, we didn’t realize there was a taxi pickup area just on the other side of Ashton Lane on Byres Road where taxis are lined up waiting for people. Oh well, we know now.

When we got back to the room, CuddleBear threw off is coat and said, “I trusted you and you left me in the rain.” What a silly little guy. We were only out for a couple hours and even though we aren’t really tired, we have to try to force ourselves asleep, so we can get on Scotland time and start our day earlier.

06.16.15

Plans are made to be broken. Or is that rules? Anyway, our plans today were to sleep until our alarm went off at 6:30am, but Papa forgot the plan and woke up at 5:00am and panicked that he had slept in and woke everyone up by getting ready and creaking around the room. He decided to lie back down, but the damage was done. FireCracker was up. Now, so were we.
We all got up and ready, spending the morning sipping tea and looking out our window. We are in Scotland!!!

Breakfast arrived to our room at 9:00am as requested. The presentation was darling and elegant. Breakfast? Oh it was delicious! The kids devoured their eggs and bacon. Okay. Let’s be honest, we all devoured our breakfast like a pack of hungry wolves.

Breakfast at the Kirklee Hotel

Breakfast at the Kirklee Hotel

Breakfast at the Kirklee Hotel

Again, planned changed. Our original plan was to call a cab and we would all go with HotDaddy to the University. That way he could work and we could explore this historical site, but HotDaddy’s colleague informed us that the campus was bit confusing, so we decided to walk together to Byres Road and split from there. HotDaddy and his colleague would go to work and get their bearing, while we would hang at the Botanical Garden.

Botanical Garden Glasgow

Botanical Garden Glasgow

We strolled along and dropped Papa off at the tea room and café.

Botanical Garden Tea House

Tea House at the Glasgow Botanical Gardens

We went off to explore the playground.

Playground at Botanical Garden

After the playground we took a walk along River Kelvin, which was beautiful.

River Kelvin  River Kelvin

River Kelvin Bridge

River Kelvin

Then we checked on Papa, who had already made friends with a lovely couple from San Bernardino and were visiting on a cruise for their 40th anniversary. Really cool couple and we all talked for awhile.

Botanical Garden

Then I let the kids run around some more to kill time for HotDaddy to finish up and meet us for lunch.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

We walked along Byres Road and came across a cool restaurant and bar that was a converted church. The bar was awesome and I wanted to grab a drink, but unfortunately the kids weren’t allowed in the bar and I wasn’t feeling the restaurant section. So, we passed.

Oran Mor

Oran Mor Bar

Oran Mor Bar

Oran Mor

We met up with HotDaddy on Byres Road and decided to try The Bothy for lunch. Good choice! The servers wear kilts, the décor is elegant and cozy, the whisky and beer selection was great, and the food was amazing.

The Bothy

The Bothy

 

The Bothy

I drank a 4,000 year old brew called Fraoch. Brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C!!!

Fraoch a 4,000 year old brewery

We all tried Haggis, Neeps and Tatties for the first time and loved it. CuddleBear and FireCracker at the whole dish!

Haggis Neeps & Tatties at The Bothy

Eating Haggis

Since being in Scotland, FireCracker has become a Fish & Chips fan. She had it at Ketchup the night before and now again at lunch at The Bothy (as did Papa). CuddleBear still prefers Mac N’ Cheese. Grams and I shared the Brie and Cranberry Sandwich and HotDaddy had the meat pie. Kids’ meals come with dessert! All AMAZING!

Yummy Food at The Bothy

After lunch we went shopping to get some goodies for our room. We didn’t want to get stuck after 10:00pm with no drinkies!

Then we stopped by Curler’s Rest, one of the oldest pubs on Byres Road, to have a pint (our two) before 8:00pm lockdown. We discovered we love Innis & Gunn brewery in Edinburgh and a few pints of that along with some Oban 10 year whisky. Yum!
The kids crashed in the booth, so we order some nibbles and relaxed. That is until 8:00pm. Then we hailed a cab, which was easy, since they are all lined up on Byres and Ashton Lane.

Curlers Rest

Curler's Rest

Bar at Curler's Rest

Innis & Gunn at Curler's Rest

Curler's Rest

Once back at the Kirklee, Papa instantly crashed. I mean he was practically falling asleep in Curler’s and not adjusted to the time change yet. It was hard to want to sleep with it being so light out. So, with the kids and Papa asleep, Grams, HotDaddy and I stayed up a little longer with some whisky and booked a tour to the highlands.

06.17.15

Since HotDaddy came all the way to Glasgow to work, we had to let him work. So, while he was at the university, we kept it lazy this morning. We took our time with breakfast, sipped tea and researched tours we might want to take during our stay.

Scottish tours

Around noon Grams and I took the kids for a walk around the neighborhood and to look for fairies in the garden. Papa napped, jetlag is still killing him. Poor old guy.

Glasgow Scotland

When HotDaddy returned from lab, we all jumped in a cab and made our way to Downtown to check out the Drum & Monkey pub. A regular customer, where I am a bartender, is from Glasgow and told me this was his favorite pub. So, of course I had to check it out. I’m sure glad I did, because it was awesome. It was lively with locals, had drink and food specials like the meal and a pint for 7 GBP, and the atmosphere rocked.

Drum & Monkey

Drum & Monkey

Drum & Monkey

After a few pints and nibbles we let Papa hangout there some more, while the rest of us explored Downtown. We made our way along Buchanan Street just gazing in awe at the amazing architecture. I couldn’t stop snapping photos.

Buchanan Street

Glasgow

Glasgow

Argyll Arcade Glasgow

Downtown Glasgow

Dowtown Glasgow

Sloan's in Glasgow

Sloan's in Glasgow

I could have wondered around all night, but it was freezing and windy. As Mark Twain would say, the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced was a summer in Scotland. He actually said San Francisco, but I’m personalizing it.

Windy Glasgow
It is so damn cold here, so we sought refuge back at the Drum & Monkey for more libations and snacks. This time I went for the Haggis Nachos. Yummy!

Haggis Nachos, Onion Rings and dessert at Drum & Monkey

A quick taxi ride and we were back at the Kirklee for whisky and wine before night night.

Taxi ride in Glasgow

Taxi ride in Glasgow

06.18.15

Today we took it easy. We had our breakfast, got ready, called a cab and went to lunch at The Bothy, while HotDaddy was at work. It was another really cold day and soup was in order!

Culllen Skink soup at The Bothy

Cold in Glasgow

After lunch we hit up an antique shop and found some treasures. The kids wanted these baby dolls they saw laying about and Grams found a silver ladle. Paul the seller helped the kids name their dolls, Heather after the flower that grows in Scotland and Colin.

Finding treasures in Glasgow

HotDaddy met us after work and we decided to catch a movie the Grosvenor Cinema. It is a really cool theater/restaurtant/ bar that allow you to drink alcohol during the film. We watched Jurassic World, which was fun, but more thrilling with a beer. Plus, they have really comfortable sofa seating. It was awesome.

Grosvenor Theater Glasgow

Alcohol selection at Grosvenor Theater

Treats at Grosvenor Theater

Grosvenor Theater

Grosvenor Theater

After the movie we went to eat at the restaurant upstairs, which was really cool. It looks like you are dining on an old movie set, with stage lights and big open spaces. There is a play area for the kids and the food was delicious. By presenting our tickets we received 50% off our meal.

Grosvenor Cafe

Play room at Grosvenor Cafe

Grosvenor Cafe

Grosvenor Cafe

Grosvenor Cafe

06.19.15
Before lunch we walked to the corner store for treats, where CuddleBear proceeded to flirt with a group of teenage girls shopping for an after-school snack.

Neighborhood in Glasgow

Then we called a cab to Hanoi Bike Shop for lunch. It is a really funky, cool venue with authentic Vietnamese street food. I got a bit excited and ordered a whole bunch of dishes, filling up our table. The kids ate very well. FireCracker loved the Black Pepper Tofu and CuddleBear ate Chicken Fried Rice. HotDaddy was able to meet us for lunch and was happy to help us with the delicious spread of food.

Hanoi Bike Shop

Hanoi Bike Shop

Hanoi Bike Shop

When HotDaddy had to go back to work, I took the kids back to the playground at the Botanical Garden.

Botanical Garden Glasgow

Botanical Garden Glasgow

Botanical Garden Playground

Once HotDaddy was finished with his work day and the kids had burned off a sufficient amount of energy, we met up again at Curler’s Rest for beer and whisky. It was really busy and there was nowhere for our group to sit, but the really sweet woman saw us looking around and kindly gave us her table. We thanked her and bought her a drink to show our gratitude.

Curler's Rest

At 6:30pm we left to meet our friends (HotDaddy’s colleagues) for dinner at The Old Schoolhouse. We loved it! The prices were cheap, the food was scrumptious and the portions were huge!!

Old Schoolhouse

Old Schoolhouse Glasgow

06.20.15
OMG! OMG! OMG! There aren’t grand enough adjectives to describe the awesomeness of today!! We booked a tour with Discover Scotland (Tour 2) to Oban, Western Highlands, Lochs, Castles and more.

Discover Scotland Tour

HotDaddy’s colleague and her family booked the tour as well and we all met in the lobby of the Kirklee Hotel at 8:00am and awaited our van to pick us up right in front of the hotel. At 8:30am our van arrived and we loaded up to pick up the final six guests in downtown Glasgow. Then we were off on our Highland adventure!

Discover Scotland Tours

Discover Scotland Tours
First stop was the village of Luss, where our guide allowed us to explore this charming tiny village on Loch Lomond. We peeked at the loch, but my goal was to check out the church and the old graveyard that contains Viking graves!! Vikings!!! That is some old stuff! I snapped and snapped a million photos and wondered around as long as I could, before returning to our van. I wanted more time, but I was glad to score this awesome shot of the famous hogback Viking grave dating back to the 11th century!!!! CRAZY!!!

Luss Scotland

 on Loch Lomond

Luss Scotland

Luss Cathedral

Luss Church

Luss Church

Hogback viking grave in Luss Scotland

Cemetery in Luss Scotland

cemetery in Luss Scotland

Viking Graves in Luss Scotland

We continued our drive along LochLomond (GORGEOUS) to Inveraray Castle. Uhm, did I just step into a fairytale?
This castle is outrageous and is still active. It is the current home of the 3rd Duke of Argyll and Chief of Clan Campbell and his family. We had the option to check out the castle or the prison. Although I love me some creepy stuff, I could not pass on seeing inside the castle. Look at it!!

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray CastleInveraray Castle

Then we headed out, on our way to Oban for lunch, but after a conversation with our guide David Campbell, he discovered that we were of Clan Bruce and made a special stop to Bruce Chapel where some of King Bruce’s body rests. It was a breathtaking experience and one I’ll never forget.

Bruce Chapel

Bruce Chapel

Bruce Chapel

Bruce Chapel

King Bruce at Bruce Chapel

Quickly, we headed to Oban for lunch by the sea. We dined at EE USK overlooking the water. Known as the seafood capital of Scotland, it was only necessary we have seafood while in Oban.

Oban

Oban

Oban

Oban

EE USK Oban
HotDaddy then ran up to the Oban Distillery to buy a bottled souvenir.

After lunch we took a scenic drive, gazing at castle ruins along the way. Our driver played mood-setting music, such as bagpipes, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, etc. The castle ruins were so beautiful. I would love to have explored all of them.
Stalker Castle was set off alone on a little islet. So ominous.

Rest and Be Thankful Scottish Highlands

Rest and Be Thankful Scottish Highlands

Stalker Castle

Stalker Castle

Kilchurn Castle

 

We made a stop at Glencoe or the “Weeping Glen,” which is the site of the Glencoe Massacre. It is such gorgeous land for such a tragic history. The beauty is awe-inspiring, but knowing the brutal events that took place makes the heart heavy. I got a bit teary-eyed gazing upon the 3 sister mountains, which are named after the 3 sisters that escaped the massacre.

Glencoe

Glencoe
Back in the van I couldn’t get enough of the landscape. Snap. Snap. More photos. I wanted to yell, “Let me out. I want to frolic in the hills.” There are some really awesome hiking trails and I would have loved to explore them.

Scottish Highlands
Our final stop was the 300 year old haunted Drover’s Inn. We had enough time to grab a pint and sneak a peek at the haunted room #6. You really weren’t allowed to go upstairs unless you are a guest, but I was not going to miss seeing the haunted room. It is a very cool and quirky hotel with taxidermy animals filling the lobby. I actually wouldn’t mind staying there.

Drover's Inn

Drover's Inn

Drover's Inn

Drover's Inn

Haunted Room #6 at Drover's Inn
Still on high from all we had seen, we all went to DiMaggio’s for pizza, pasta and beer. The kids played in the playroom as we discussed our adventure. What a great day!!!

DiMaggios

DiMaggios
06.21.15

Happy Father’s Day!! Today we had a very cold and rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. We went to Glasgow University today to see where HotDaddy is working. Breathtaking!! Harry Potter fans, can you say Hogwarts?

Glasgow University

Glasgow University
Anyway, despite the cold, we explored, touched and took tons of photos of this amazing university established in 1460.

Glasgow University

Glasgow University

Glasgow University
To thaw out, we explored the fantastic and free Hunterian Museum. Definitely the highlight of Papa’s day was getting to see and touch old Roman ruins. Yes Roman ruins in Scotland. They were there, but weren’t too fond of the Scottish and built a wall to keep them out of what is now England. What an experience for the kids. They got to see real mummies and dinosaur bones. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

Hunterian Museum

Hunterian Museum

Hunterian Museum

Hunterian Museum

All the excitement made us hungry and the kids begged to go back to DiMaggios for lunch. They loved the pizza, macaroni and cheese and the playroom, of course. No problem. We loved it too. Plus we actually scored a table on busy Father’s Day.

Mussels at DiMaggios

DiMaggios

Before it turned 8:00pm, when the kids would get kicked out of town, we got in a drink at Curler’s Rest. Always a good choice.

Drinks at Curler's Rest
HotDaddy had a work dinner, so we headed back to the Kirklee and ordered some Chinese food from Chow. We had a fun night in. HotDaddy had a fun night out at Turnip & Enjoy and then drinks at Oran Mor. Very cool.

Turnup and Enjoy

Oran Mor

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