Erin woke up around 530AM today and graciously let the rest of us keep sleeping for another few hours, attempting to rouse us all around 730. I rolled over, and kids basically laughed in her face, so we slept for another hour. I’m on vacation baby. We got up and stumbled downstairs for our hotel breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, beans, toast, and coffee. Yeah so I’m a breakfast person, and while the food wasn’t the best, the spread was nice and I appreciate any meal that requires 3 different types of beverages and 5+ dishes to be properly had.
The hotel called a cab for us when were ready and we headed towards Glasgow’s downtown area, specifically George Square. The square itself is typically European with the obligatory impressive buildings surrounding it (the City Hall was especially cool) and several monuments and statues throughout. The highlight for R&L was the pigeon chasing of course. No pigeon was safe…they must all go! This gave me a moment to actually plan what were going to do for the rest of the morning.
We deviated from that plan almost immediately when we ran straight into the Museum of Modern Art. I don’t usually get the museum itch on these trips, but for some reason I have it this time. Glasgow’s museums are, generally speaking and surprisingly (because they are so good), free. So, we took a look at the statue of the The Duke of Wellington out front, and went inside. Why mention the statue? Because it had a traffic cone on its head. Yep. An orange one and apparently it always does. And apparently this isn’t specifically part of the museum, its just a prank that locals do. If I’m that museum though, I’m claiming it, so in a way it probably actually is 100% modern art…thats how it works right?
The museum was nice enough, but I (regrettable) really don’t know anything about art so most of it is lost on me. The second floor of the museum however had a little alcove at the end of a hallway stocked with paper, colored pencils, and templates of famous (I guess) modern art paintings (by Andy Warhol! I know one!) that the kids could color. We spent a while in here while R and L made their pictures, and looked through some of the specifically-for-kids art books. The alcove was set up such that most museum goers would actually walk into it thinking there were exhibits to look at. My favorite thing was watching people come down the hallway, stop and look around, try to decide if it was a kids area or if this was some kid of installation that they should be appreciating, realize that it was a kids area, and then hustling back the way they came trying their best to look like they hadn’t been fooled. Ah, 100% modern art…that IS how it works.
R had now decided that he wants to be an artist when he grows up, so we set off to find a few of Glasgow’s street art murals which are pretty well known because you can straight up Goggle Maps them, which we did, and set up a bit of an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt (thats like, 4 units of exposition in one sentence ya’ll). We were always going to go hunting for these, because one of the murals is a “flying taxi” which R would like, but we with our amped-up artistic sensibilities, we ended up finding a giant Panda, a wind-turbine dandelion (above), and a giant women too. We did find the taxi, but unfortunately the building was being refurbished, so the pics are occluded.
At about this time (call it noon) the Glasgow Center for Architecture and Design, or The Lighthouse, had opened so we walked in and paid our 0£ entry fee (seriously, things like this are just free) and went up a few escalators. The Lighthouse is a building by a (post-humously) famous Scottish architect named Charles Rennie Mackintosh who made dope looking chairs and a lot of dope looking buildings across the city. This particular building was once the HQ for a newspaper and features a tall (up four floors, then about 110 steps) turret-like structure that you can climb and get a panoramic view of the city. We did that. We looked at some architecture stuffs. We were out in a cool 40 minutes.
We walked up Buchanan Street, which is that one street in every European city were all the Massimo Dutis and H&Ms are, and went back towards George Square. Erin had scouted a little vegan restaurant called Picnic that was delicious because 1: the food was real good, 2: our bodies were craving some vegetables, and 3: L had decided to knock out for a nap on the way and was sleeping soundly in the stroller which was pushed under our hightop counter. It was soy-milk-cappuccino o’clock anyway, so we doubled down and stayed a bit longer, and did I mention the blueberry smoothie?
That might have seemed like a trivial food paragraph, but its the first time traveling with the 2 kids that we haven’t really thought about the logistics of returning to our hotel for a mid-day nap. This is a big unlock. Lets keep pushing this…
So there is a giant EDM music festival in town over the weekend called the Riverside Festival which takes place, among other venues, in front of the Riverside Museum of Transport. I love my EDM, so…
…okay no, we did not take the kids to a rave (though L does have a few pacifiers…wait, do “the kids and their damn apps” still do that at the EDM shows?), but we were feeling the free museum vibe so we took a cab over to the Transport museum. It turns out one of the main stages of the festival was smack in front of the museum, but it was still open, you just had to navigate the crowd of everyone getting ready to look so good to get in.
The museum itself was awesome and we all kind of geeked out on it. There were (still huge) scale model replicas of just about every kind of boat you can think of, two old steam engines you could climb in, a completely plausible subway exhibit (you actually went down into the subway), a group of double decker buses you could get in, several old fire engines, like 10 old open-top cars, an entire wall (yes, wall) of motorcycles, and even a clipper ship out in the river outside (which unfortunately was closed because I think it was the Chill Out Tent for the boots-and-pants-and-boots-and-pants going on outside). I kid you not there was even an entire display about the Ford Escort, which I was laughing to hard about to read. We spent a solid 2 hours here and got every pence our of our, yet again, 0£ entry fee. I highly recommend this place to anyone at any age.
An exceedingly nice police man helped us navigate the stroller through the mob of bros and high-waisted-ass-shorts lined up for the concert, which at this point was in full fist pumping form, and he flagged down a cab for us. Yesterday, while over in the Hillhead area, we spied a little gem that we promised ourselves we would come back to today.
Anyone who has been following this blog for a while (may) remember the trip we took to Southeast Asia, and anyone who has talked to me about it knows how much Erin and I loved Hanoi, Vietnam, and the food we ate there. Well, tucked down the side of a tiny lane (literally, Dowanside Lane…wink) was a place called the Hanoi Bike Shop. The lane was basically a pedestrian-only street which presenting a much more low key vibe than the pubs of Ashton Lane, while still having some outdoor seating. It was the perfect place to grab a late afternoon snack and some cocktails, especially since the placed was decked out with tiny plastic stools, just like in Vietnam.
Basically, Erin and I were like: “We did kid stuff all day (even though we liked it too) so here are some pretzels and some toys and mommy and daddy are going to have little respite.” We started with some Saigon beers an eventually ordered some Bun Cha (grilled chicken skewers with vermicelli rice noodles, fish sauce, and a mint and basil salad) and some fried corn & coconut fritters (called Cha Bap Ran I think). Eventually I had a whiskey drink, eventually Erin had a Vodka drink, and eventually, R figured out how to use chop sticks in his own way. He choked way down on the sticks, got them around the food, and clamped them together as hard as he could with his fist, and proclaimed “I got another chunk.” Both kids ended up being pretty chill which was nice and they grubbed out pretty hard too. Who could blame them, we had been going strong for about 7 hours by now and the food was crazy delicious.
Erin and I wanted them to run around a bit more, so we took the short walk back up to the Botanical Gardens from yesterday with a plan to go into the other greenhouse, but it was closed by the time we got there. The kids settled for racing “to that tree over there”, trying to tackle us in the grass, and eradicating (chasing) the pigeons from the park. Everyone was happy. Everyone was happier when Erin announced that we would be getting ice cream on the way home.
We started heading back and looped down around the hill the sits atop of University, passing through the West side of Kelvingrove Park. This section was much more wooded than the playground area and we spied more than a few folks who had jumped the fences to go and hang out down by the river’s edge.
We made it back from a long, long day of sightseeing and solid family time. After abandoning the idea of going back out to a pub for dinner (since the town wasn’t so crazy tonight), we had done our part and the kids were exhausted anyway. Also, Erin found a Taylor Swift concert on the TV and apparently we all really love her, so that sealed the deal. Within an hour everyone was asleep…
…except me. I’m sitting here typing this up, drinking tea, and wondering how I ever got so lucky that this is my life.
Road trip tomorrow!