I watched Mamma Mia in London’s West End the first month I was studying abroad in London, and there was a line from ABBA’s “Super Trouper” I couldn’t shake off. Donna, the mother, sings about calling one of her lovers from Glasgow. The song was catchy, but all I could think about was how I had never been to Glasgow and how I was in England which wasn’t too far from Scotland and because Scotland was in the U.K. I could actually potentially visit Glasgow because I had the visa for it.
Needless to say, I visited Glasgow.
The day I traveled to Glasgow, the weather basically turned to sh*t the moment my family and I stepped out of the train station. The sky was a bleak shade of gray that reminded me of the TV no signal screen (it was a big error that needed fixing). Although now I associate Glasgow with gloom, the sky was a great backdrop for the city’s gothic architecture.
Below is my list of things to see in Glasgow!
I visited the Riverside Museum of Transport early in the morning (by visited, I mean took pictures outside) because it was designed by Zaha Hadid, an extraordinary Iraqi-born British architect who passed away too early for her time. Its outline represents a wave or pleat, symbolizing the “dynamic relationship between Glasgow and the ship-building, seafaring and industrial legacy of the river Clyde.” To this day I am unsure as to why there was a big green couch at the front.
Ubiquitous Chip and Ashton Lane
For lunch, my fam and I headed to Ubiquitous Chip, a highly Yelp-reviewed restaurant hidden in an alleyway called Ashton Lane. The decor of the restaurant was very Insta-friendly, and their dishes were contemporary twists to Scottish fare. I tried haggis, which is kind of like a pie/pudding mixed with all sorts of inner sheep parts like stomach, heart, liver, and lungs (mmm, right?).
While taking a stroll around University of Glasgow, I went inside the Kelvingrove Museum. The museum featured a display of furniture by internationally-renowned Scottish architect Charles Mackintosh, known for his Japanese-influenced minimalist designs (visit the Willow Tearooms in the afternoon to see rooms he designed, or drop by the Hunterian Gallery in the University of Glasgow to see a reconstruction of the Mackintosh house).
But the real reason I visited Kelvingrove was to see the Floating Heads Installation, a set of over 50 white floating heads (there really isn’t any other way to describe them) frozen in emphatic emotion. As Gwen would say, the sh*t was bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S).
Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
In the middle of the afternoon, I ran out of things to do and decided to visit the Glasgow Necropolis, also known as the Glasgow cemetery. I was initially hesitant to see it because I’m not about creepy dead people vibes, but it offered unexpectedly scenic views of the city and Glasgow Cathedral, and there was something humbling about seeing the rows of tombstones of people who had passed in like, 1902 and reading their one-line inscriptions. The Necropolis was a dark horse, but even in the terrible weather, it made Glasgow worth it.
Have you been to Glasgow, or seen Mamma Mia!, or been to a cemetery that turned out to be pretty cool? (I feel like these are all pretty specific things so I might not be asking the right questions here, but) Let me know in the comments below!