“What did you think of Glasgow?” I often asked travellers who had visited Scotland.
The answers went something like this.
“Stayed a day, didn’t like it. Now Edinburgh that’s what you call a city”.
“It was ok but Edinburgh is much better.”
“I didn’t bother with it. Mates told me not to go there”.
“It’s not as stunning as Edinburgh”.
Glasgow seems to have a bit of a shaky reputation in the travelling world. And perhaps before I had been travelling, I would have thought the same. I studied in this city, but embarrassingly had never been a “tourist” in it.
I’d gone on a school trip to the Burrell Collection and seen some old paintings which meant little to me as a child. Kelvingrove had held more charm as they had books for kids which set challenges throughout the museum led by a cute little guy whose name I forget (was it Sam?).
As for the mighty Clyde, I’d always rather avoided it owing to its shady reputation.
The famous Necropolis graveyard never tempted me in, nor did the Cathedral, even though I studied a stone’s throw from both.
Wandering through Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, one grey day last year, I thought to myself, Glasgow has nice buildings too. Perhaps it was the grey day that made me think of Glasgow? Or perhaps I was right. Certainly on my return to Scotland, whilst wandering around Glasgow, camera in hand, eyes turned upwards, I began to see why this city had been the second city of the Empire. I began to appreciate the architecture linked inextricably to its trading past. I felt its energetic and challenging recreation.
The redevelopment of the area around High Street from which I had taken the train for many years rendered this part almost unrecognisable to me. Buchanan Street was thriving and alive. Music rang out in Sauchiehall street as buskers earned their keep.
Maybe Glasgow hadn’t changed, but I had….