Friday, 6 December 2013

Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle

After Halloween night out, I woke up bright and early to catch the bus to Glasgow International for a very special occasion - my mom's visit! She flew IcelandAir like I did, but she got to spend the night in Reykjavik and see Iceland's capital city. She arrived in Glasgow at about 10 am, and we took the bus together back to the city center. Of course the first thing on our agenda was to get her a proper fish supper (apparently the more common way of ordering fish and chips) so after we dropped her luggage in my dorm room we went to the Atholl Arms on Renfield street, just around the corner from the bus station and university.
Checking in was a bit weird, when there was nobody at the reception of the apartments and the doors were locked, the code they'd given Mom not working. Somehow the security guard showed up and let us in, and we settled into the adorable furnished one-bedroom apartment on Bath Street, not two minutes walk from GCU.

Scottish sunshine in Stirling
Wallace's sword
We spent the first day settling into the apartment, and making plans for the ten days Mom was in Scotland. On the Sunday we took the train to Stirling, and walked to the William Wallace monument. Stirling was really cool, and a definite spot to re-visit before I head home to see the Old Town. The Wallace monument stands 220' high overlooking the site of the battle of Stirling bridge. The stairs to the top are narrow and freezing, the day we went was wildly windy and the monument is modelled after Victorian gothic style, with narrow open windows up the tower stairwells. Each level explores sections of Scottish history, but my favourite was the first one that actually told the story of Wallace himself, and houses the actual 5'4" sword in
a glass case. The very top of the monument offers the most amazing views of the city, the mountains and the river - and on a clear day like the one we had, I could see to Edinburgh!

We managed to get a taxi from the monument to Stirling Castle for about five quid, although the taxi driver was pretty shady about taking us for a joy ride around the parking lot. We got there with only just over an hour before the castle closed, and once the sun goes down in Scotland it gets pretty frigid. We spent most of the visit wandering indoors the castle. They have costumed employees in some of the rooms, and one of the women dressed as a lady-in-waiting gave us a full informative brief on the life of the King and Queen, and how the castle came to be. My membership with Historic Scotland got us free entry to the castle and free audioguides. By the time the castle was closing we'd seen as much as we could have and it was dark and freezing. We went down to a pub at the castle gates cleverly called Portcullis, where we had some disappointing wine followed by a phenomenal meal. Train back to Glasgow, first trip a great success.

No comments:

Post a Comment