Day 12 – October 21, 2010
Drove back to Glasgow from Glen Nevis today. Had to return the rental at Glasgow airport and then go into the city to my hostel for the night. What I didn’t expect was company in the car on the way back.
The last evening at the hostel there was an elderly gentleman who was staying in the room for the night, and he happened to be quite chatty. We spoke for a while at the breakfast table the next morning too, and he told me he was headed to Loch Lomond the same day along with his daughter. Since I was going to Glasgow anyway I offered to take the two of them along with me to Loch Lomond, which I would pass on the way to Glasgow. They had been planning to travel that day by bus, but accepted my invitation. So my return journey ended up being done on the old route I had taken while driving up a few days earlier, in half the time I had reckoned it would take. I kept talking to this old fella’ all the way through, and it was interesting to hear him talk of all the things he had done in his days gone by (he is 72 years old), especially his Indian experiences. The only slightly disappointing bit was the fact that the daughter was asleep the whole time (darn!) Oh well, this was how change was coming in on the last day of my first leg of the Scotland trip.
So, eventually, I dropped off those two at Loch Lomond and made my way to Glasgow where I returned the rental car and made my way to the city in a bus, feeling relieved at not having to navigate the streets of the city on my own. Glasgow seems to evoke very mixed feelings in me. On the one hand you have these typical (in some way) church buildings, promenades, and squares that seem to pretty much be a part of most major cities around the world, and thereby seemingly comfortable, only because they appear somewhat familiar. At the same time, take off into some off the streets of the city, going uphill (or downhill depending on which way you’re travelling), or wander into a narrow lane and you feel like you might have entered into an early 20th century area, except for the way people are dressed up and their vehicles. Then, when you get into the subway, which screeches and screams while tearing through narrow tunnels under the ground, all the while throwing you around as if suffering from a sudden bout of hiccups, you could be forgiven for feeling like you’re in erstwhile communist USSR (for some strange reason that’s how I felt although I can’t fathom why). So it’s a queer mix of the common, the strange, and the old. I didn’t dwell on this for long though, because sometimes carrying heavy backpacks can do wonders for your sense of purpose. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then I suggest you go load up your nearest backpacks with a bunch of heavy boulders if you can. There, see? Good. Now then, back to Glasgow.
The hostel I’m sleeping in tonight isn’t an SYHA hostel, but a privately run place by the name Westend Backpackers. It’s an old place that’s frayed at the edges but is mostly all right. You get free WiFi and breakfast included in the price, which is better than the SYHA hostels, although you do get more variety in the breakfast at the latter. Then again I’m trying to travel on a budget, so minor stuff like this doesn’t count for much, although I really think the tap in Room 5 needs to be made non-squeaky when it is turned on, so that the occupants of the room don’t get disturbed when other inhabitants (such as me) use the facilities early in the morning. Also, it would be reassuring to have a latch on the bathroom door, yeah. And a bit more space in the shower section would be nice, because I think whoever designed it might have been just a wee bit larger than a 5-year old! Otherwise it was good. The sheets were clean, and the beds were bug-free. So it was a budget accommodation that sticks quite literally to the ethos of being budget. Functional, but a bit dodgy. Emphasis on dodgy. Yeah.
So I’m off to Inverness tomorrow to start of with the five-day workshop I’m attending. The guy conducting it, Bruce Percy, has this really bold and colourful palette in his landscape images that I like. What’s more interesting is how he uses colour to create mood, which I’ve usually associated with tonality, so it should be interesting to see him working through his approach to images. Should be a good five days.