What better way to see Glasgow than with a free walking tour? By chance I found the Glasgow Gander Walking Tour and what an unbelievable treat it was. Our guide Johnny was not only extremely knowledgable but open to all questions and entertaining as well. I loved that the tour was small and intimate (only up to 15 people per tour). This was definitely one of the better free walking tours I attended so far.
We met in front of the Gallery of Modern Art at the Royal Exchange Square, right next to the statue of the Duke of Wellington. That’s the guy with the cone hat on his head. Apparently he once managed to hold seven cones. As soon as the city removed the cones, a new one was placed on his head. When the city threatened dire measures to keep the cone off, an online petition and a rally by Glaswegians turned the tide. Eventually the city gave up and now the statue is famous in its own rights.
Johnny walked with us through the city, in sunshine and rain, all the while talking about everything from Saint Mungo (patron saint of Glasgow) to the coat of arms (a salmon, a tree, a bird and a bell). Once you have actually seen the coat of arms, you notice it everywhere. Including on garbage bins. Glasgow appears quote proud of it.
Most memorable besides the beautiful houses, Glasgow must have been such a rich merchant city, was the Cathedral. It looks unassuming and quite small from the front. But, boy oh boy, is this a big church once you step inside. I loved the two-level layout and that there is not a dark crypt below but again a sun-drenched area (whenever there is sun). It is also the oldest church on mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow itself. The cathedral opened its doors first in 1136.
Now let’s get back to all these merchant building for which the city is famous. They need to be explored a little bit more in detail and definitely warrant another visit of this city.
By the way we arrived in Glasgow late in the evening which gave us the chance to have only one drink in the city. So glad then that the Motel One next to the Central Station had a fabulous bar! We were up to a good start for another trip to Scotland with Gin&Tonic (in case you are interested, it was Makar, which is from Glasgow). Yours, Pollybert