16 October : Glasgow day two

Sunshine of a sunday morning. We partake of the best breakfast yet- continental plus option of full English (or any portion thereof) made on the spot. A smoke on the steps out front then upstairs to prepare for the day. I ask Anders what’s on for today, as he has been consulting the books. A still-sleepy Anders responds, “Necrophelia.” Hilarious. I say, “Well, when in Rome…” He was, of course, meaning to say the Necropolis, which resides atop a great hill behind St. Mungo’s on the far side of town.

A brilliant day for it, too. We head once again down Souchiehall and beyond, through St George’s Square, which is lit up in an ethereal and sort of bluntly-blinding way in the morning sun. Here we encounter a strange sight (for New Yorkers, anyway)- that being great numbers of pigeons napping on the green verges in the park. “Pigey-nap!” On we continue, meandering toward our destination of the City of the Dead. St. Mungo’s is large and impressive, but the cathedral is mid-mass so we must return at 1:00 to view the interior. We go round the back and enter the Necropolis. It is a beautiful place, with winding and convoluted walkways, and many, many obelisks, memorializing their dead alongside Celtic crosses, both plain and ornate, as well as Roman style columns and lovely draped urns atop high pillars. There are angels, great carven and bronze memorials. There is a view over industrial smokestacks and breweries as well as over the cathedral itself. The sun is hitting in such a way that it is all rendered equally stunning. We meander, sometimes separately, sometimes our paths finding our ways back to one another. It is a leisurely and lovely walk.

Late elevensies of white coffee and ciggies at a quiet place near to the cathedral, and then, we head across the way to the Museum of Religious Life and Art, where Salvador Dali’s “Christ of St. John on the Cross” hangs, among other pieces of many varying faiths. The Dali is superlative though; it hangs high, and is a large canvas (not a single visible brush stroke), so that one must look up at it, but the perspective of Christ is one looking down on him from above, so it really throws one’s brain into a spin. So cool.

On to the cathedral; cavernous, and with the organist practicing dirges up in the loft. My shoes clicked too loudly in the quiet there, despite the chords playing out high above, and the music brought back too many mornings spent in church! We checked the place out, reverently as possible, then back into the sun.

A small split (and bland) lunch of “Authentic American” food at — Holycrap! an A&W™ (which I’ve only ever encountered in Montana). Sadly, we learned once inside, KFC™ has apparently bought up what little remains of the rootbeer-minded chain, as the space was shared by one. O well.

After more wanderings, and post-lunch pints at the Berkeley (dark and benchy, as all good pubs are), and a brief respite at our posh-for-us room, we dined once again at the Goat (the Duck!), and this time stayed a little longer; a DJ was spinning sort of mellow trance (or whatever of the million categories it would fall into if I had a clue of such details anymore). Tonight we decided we’d have a much more relaxed time of it than *Saturday Night* and determined a return to the Ben Nevis.

Upon entering the Nevis, we see (and more importantly, hear) a group of musicians playing traditional music on flutes, fiddles and the like. We find some seats at a table in the center and sit back to soak in the tunes (the “jam”-another total hippie moment, but Scottish!) As the night wears on, ever more musicians wander in with their instruments until, by the end of the evening, the pub crowd is no less than two-thirds comprised of entertainers. They were brilliant, and we loved every minute; took numerous tiny movies to remember it on our impossibly small digital cameras. So great.

Glasgow: more than fully redeemed. Surpassed expectations.


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