After a week in London (click here to read part 1 “London: Blue Skies Overhead!”), it was time to head off to Glasgow. It was Ito’s and my first time to visit Scotland, and we were very excited! We took the Virgin train from Euston Station and settled in to enjoy the views while listening to some good tunes over fresh coffee and croissants. While Edinburgh is famous for being historic and beautiful, we decided to make Glasgow our base and visit Edinburgh from there, since Glasgow has a growing reputation for a certain creative grittiness along with having extremely friendly people.

Enjoying the amazing views on the Virgin train ride from London to Glasgow

In the week that we were there, we discovered the ‘friendliness factor’ to be absolutely true. Not having any idea of what to see in Glasgow, we relied on the advice offered by the engaging, friendly locals we randomly met, and just like in London, we used the weather to guide us on whether we would spend the day indoors or outdoors…and surprisingly, we spent more time outdoors as well! Exploring Glasgow and Edinburgh with fresh eyes made every street and alleyway, every pub and watering hole, every gallery and castle, every loch and knoll a new and exciting discovery. Scotland was majestic and its history and stories felt mysteriously unfamiliar to any that Ito and I had known. You could easily imagine the magic brewing behind its castles’ walls.

From our first full day in Glasgow when we walked through Merchant City and wandered all the way to the stunning, over half-a century old University of Glasgow that overlooked the town, we found ourselves awed and surprised at turns. Everyone we met took the time to really talk to us (in fact, it often felt like they were getting to know us more than the other way around!). Thanks to the suggestions of some lovely locals we met in a café, we found ourselves strolling the spacious grounds of a stunning country estate on a sunny Saturday, marveling at the hairy Highland cattle and beautiful landscape, and the very next day we were on the deck of a historic sailing ship turned museum built in 1896 and still afloat to this day.

On our visit to Edinburgh (which was just an hour’s train ride from Glasgow), we looked out over the breathtaking medieval Old Town and walked through its castles, enjoyed the sprawling parks and wide-open views that stretched out from the mountain tops to the distant seas. In our final days in Scotland, we visited its famed museums and galleries and spent our last glorious day outdoors, relaxing lakeside in Loch Lomond before saying our reluctant good-byes to an unforgettable country…hopefully to return someday very soon! Next stop, our final week back in London (click here to read “Back in London (and a Birthday)”)…

Discovering the ins and outs of the stunning, 500+ year old University of Glasgow

Walking around Merchant City

Appreciating the creative, urban, industrial edge of the city

Taking a break in Glasgow’s side streets

Marveling at Edinburgh’s stunning medieval Old Town

Getting lost in the tiny alleyways of Edinburgh

Wandering beyond the Old Town up to Calton Hill for a commanding view of Arthur’s Seat

Morning stroll around the spacious grounds of the old Pollok estate-turned-park in Glasgow

Enjoying the museum then relaxing for brunch in the sunny verandah

Enjoying the idyllic surroundings with horses and hairy Highland cattle

Perched on a ‘garden chair’ fronting the Riverside Museum designed by Zaha Hadid

Climbing Charles Mackintosh’s The Lighthouse, Scotland’s center for design & architecture

Walking the deck of a restored Victorian sailing ship on the River Clyde

Getting lost in the museums and galleries of Glasgow

Soaking in the church-like ambience before Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali in Kelvingrove Gallery

*All photos by Ito Ocampo

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