Gritty Glasgow

Yep, Glasgow has grit! I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, just in a personality sort of way. If Edinburgh is the elegant lady, then Glasgow is her bodyguard. This city has a personality that’s gritty and edgy and street wise. It’s definitely a city with a big city feel – lots of people, really crowded (I guess that’s to be expected since it’s Scotland’s biggest city), faster paced, noisy and very, very different to Edinburgh.

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We had a fairly easy going day, because what a surprise, we woke up to pouring rain and blowing wind! We had intended doing a bike ride around to have a look at things, but once again the weather was against us. However…once again a city put on a parade for us! Isn’t it nice of all these cities and towns that we visit, to see us coming and organise a parade just for us! This one was actually an Orange Parade, which I had wrongly thought only happened in Ireland. Apparently they happen in Ireland, Scotland, parts of England and other countries in the Commonwealth. The one here was, like all of them seem to be, somewhat controversial and it’s the biggest day out for the city’s police force. The Orange Order is a protestant order that aims to defend the protestant faith and things get a bit hairy when they march through Catholic neighbourhoods because they’re viewed as being sectarian. We could see the march from our room and things seemed peaceful enough, although last year apparently a small girl was hurt and there were 28 arrests. When we ventured out for a drive around, I noticed all the Union Jack flags flying from buildings along the street where we’d seen the parade and I thought that was a bit provocative. They weren’t flying alongside the Scottish flag, just the Union Jack and even the St. George Cross too, so it did look like they were sending a particular message.

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We set off to find a laundrette, only to find it full and all machines in operation, so decided not to hang around and instead went off to finally locate a radio for Steve. He had success and he now has a small radio with a speaker, to attach to his bike and listen along to the cricket. There goes any chance of having a conversation during the ride! He will be completely incommunicado until the drinks break, lunch break, tea break and until the final over is bowled. No doubt I’ll get updates of how Australia is going from the various shouts, groans, cheers and exclamations of “Caaaaatch iiiiiiittttt! Yeeeaaahahhh! or Bowled ‘im!!!” coming from along the road. I’ll just look at the scenery and ignore the vocal accompaniment I think!

We spent some time just catching up on things that required wifi and electricity and then when the rain eventually cleared in the afternoon, we went for a walk through the city. It was absolutely teeming with people! I know this is normal for a city, but it’s the busiest city we’ve been in for a while. “I want to be back in a village,” I said, “give me cottages and tea rooms and peace and quiet!” I’m definitely not a big city person!

Oh, the crowds!
Oh, the crowds!

As we walked along we saw another fantastic group of buskers. They were playing the bagpipes and drums and they were brilliant! It was rockin’, jumpin’, foot tappin’ hip wigglin’ stuff! They were fantastic.

Brilliant buskers!
Brilliant buskers!

So that was the easy day, just catching up on things and a bit of a stroll around a new city. We’re both getting a bit worried about the fitness we’re losing from not being on the bikes, so we’re really looking forward to getting back to pedalling. We just know it’s going to feel hard for a while after having this break. Maybe the body will appreciate the break and the rest and be raring to go when the two wheels start turning again? I hope so. Maybe now that the Tour de France has started, Steve will feel super motivated as the frustrated, silent member of the Orica Greenedge team  that he is and go into yellow jersey mode, power along and leave me the lone rider in the peloton, while he streaks ahead with yellow in his eyes and lycra on his mind!  That will get the legs back into work!

Tomorrow we hit the road again and continue exploring, rain hail or shine. The first is pretty much guaranteed, the second is a definite possibility and the third one…well…we live in hope! Off we go…places to see, people to meet, things to discover and experiences to savour. Off we go to mine some more gold!

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