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Glasgow, Scotland

In Glasgow we drove to the town of Paisley, where Danny spent a few months when he was here last. We visited the abbey, which he had never been in, went searching for a pub he used to drink at but had shut down, and went to the restaurant he worked at, an RSL type place that was really nice. Again Danny doesn't think the menu has changed much in 12 years. We had some drinks and nachos before heading out to a camp site for the night. Our roof held together beautifully. 

Another really windy night, the van rocking all night long. Somehow our roof stayed together with just clothes lines to hold it in place. We need a new skylight so once again we head out to a caravan shop to see if we can get one. They have one, but we have to buy the whole unit, not just the part that's broken. So even though we have a brand new cover, we have to buy it again. Somehow it was cheaper than what we bought a few days ago, and we get more. We decided not to fit it straight away as it was raining (again).

We head into Glasgow by train and come out at Georges square. The whole square is covered with a fun fair, ice skating rink and a food tent, and was nothing compared to what Edinburgh had. We picked up a map and then had a walk through Merchant City, an area filled with grand buildings built with profits from the tobacco industry in the 18th century. It was really pretty, but no actual “sights” to see. We slowly made our way down to the river and spent the next couple of hours walking along it, past about a dozen bridges of all different styles. The sun actually came out for a while, which was nice of it, so our photos have more colour in them than just grey. The walk reminded us of Newcastle a lot, with a mixture of new and old architecture that we really like. 

Back in the middle of the city we visited the Lighthouse, a building designed by the Scotsman Makintosh, a famous architect and designer during the Art Nouveau period. We couldn't see a lot of the building but the small exhibit dedicated to Makintosh was interesting. The highlight was the views over the city from the roof. We also quickly ducked into the Makintosh-designed tea rooms, which looked beautiful, but well beyond our budget. 

We then walked through the pedestrian areas of the city, which were really busy (Christmas shoppers I'm guessing) and didn't have much going for them. We decided that because it is now December we can eat mince pies, and bought some traditional ones plus ones covered in puff pastry. We definitely prefer the traditional variety. 

Finally we headed over to the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, housed in a gorgeous old mansion. We were just expecting some paintings, but it was also a history, science and cultural museum, plus a small section dedicated to Makintosh. It took us ages to go through it all, and I think we were the last to leave (security had to let us out). There were heaps of information signs too that allowed us to analyse the art in a bit more detail, rather than just quickly looking at it and moving on. It was a really, really good museum. 

After dinner Danny spent the night on top of the van trying to put our new skylight in. Apparently the old one had undergone a few modifications which Danny had to replicate to get it to fit. We don't exactly have a lot of tools with us, so all sawing had to be done with the kitchen knife. It took him a couple of hours but now we have (another) brand new skylight. 

Today there was some more Makintosh to see (he is everywhere in Glasgow – we aren't even seeing half of it). Firstly it was to a church he designed, which was fairly plain on the outside as well as the inside, but when we looked closely we could see his characteristic embellishments everywhere. It blends in so well but also looks really nice. Then it was over to the Glasgow university, which was a Hogwarts-style castle that looked better than some castles we have paid to see. Inside there was the Hunterian museum, which contained a lot of old artefacts plus some interesting anatomical displays and descriptions of old surgical procedures (Hunter was a doctor and lecturer about 100 years ago). Apparently there was no anaesthetic when removing gallstones and kidney stones, and people died half the time. Glad things have changed since then. Next it was over to the Hunterian art gallery, which was small but very Scottish and had some nice pieces. Attached to the gallery was the Makintosh house, in which we could only see 2 rooms but they were filled with Makintosh designs and art work. I think every single item in the living and dining rooms was designed by him. Can't say I liked it all, but overall we did enjoy it. 

Our final stop in Scotland was the Burrell collection, a museum just south of Glasgow. Some guy named Burrell starting collecting pieces of art in his teens and didn't stop until he died. Now there's a whole museum of his stuff. Much of it is furniture and ornamental pieces, but we were more interested in the artwork. He had a lot of Impressionist pieces, but nearly all of them were pastels rather than paintings. He had a couple of well known pieces too, so it was good to see them.