Sunday May 13, 2012 – First Day in Glasgow

We got up about 7:30 and I made coffee first thing. I couldn’t find ours so I had to use the coffee in the cupboard but it wasn’t that great. We called a cab to take us to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). It turned out we gave the wrong address and our cab was cancelled so we decided to take the bus. We happened to see another taxi just up the street. We asked if he could take us which he did, the fare was £5.40. We arrived about 9:30.
The weather was overcast, windy, cold and wet. Lois went to do her thing and I went to do mine, which was to go to the Riverside Museum. A ten or fifteen minute walk along the Clyde from the SECC. When I got there I wasn’t overly impressed by the exterior of the museum, despite being designed by the same architect as the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

The Riverside Museum
I arrived at about 10:30 but it didn’t open until 11:00. I noticed some people in three old cars chatting in the parking lot, so I went over to have a closer look. One car was a 1984 AC, another a 1952 Bristol and the third was a Hillman, but I didn’t get the year of manufacture. The chap in the Hillman was on his way, but when he found out I was Canadian he passed me his business card and asked me to send him an email on what I thought of the museum. I sent him one a few days later.
Of the three cars, I found the Bristol to be the most interesting. It had a long hood, was very aerodynamic, even having recessed door handles and flush glass.
By this time, the museum was near opening so we said our good byes and I headed off to the museum entrance. It was nice to finally get out of the rain. Once inside, the museum didn’t seem to be organized in any particular way, where I would have expected it to be grouped by land, sea and air transport. It didn’t take anything away from the experience though. The challenging thing was taking photos since the exhibits tended to be close together or enclosed in glass display cases. Also in this museum was a full scale mock up of a Glasgow city street in the 1900’s. It was very similar to the full scale scenes at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.(Soon to be renamed Canadian Museum of History.) The museum having no entrance fee was a popular place indeed for Glasgow families with young children on a rainy Sunday. It got pretty crowded, but its so big, you don’t really notice it until you go to the cafeteria or the gift shop. I had a lunch of ham on ciabatta bread and cappuccino.
The Glenlee
Docked directly in front of the museum is the tall ship Glenlee, built in Glasgow in 1896. From a distance one would assume its built of wood, however its actually steel hulled. It took over an hour to go through the ship, and to do that there is a small fee. You can go just about everywhere on her, from the foredeck, Captains cabin, Stewards room, engine room, generators, cargo hold, wheelhouse and chart room. It was pretty cool. In the cargo hold along the walls hang some of the sails the ship would have used. They are huge pieces of cloth. There was also the ubiquitous gift shop on board as well as a small cafeteria. I spoke to some of the chaps there, and admittedly, the Scottish accent was so thick I had difficulty making out what they were saying. They were still charming people despite my inability to always catch what they said. Out of politeness, I tried not to give away the fact.
The ship started off as a cargo vessel, but also served for a long period as a training vessel for the Spanish Navy and was the primary reason the ship survived the scrap yard.

After touring the Glenlee, I headed back inside the museum to finish exploring it. There were some impressive lookouts on the higher levels where you can look down on the main floor.
I left about 3:30 in the afternoon and walked back in windy, pouring rain. Glad I was dressed for it. I arrived back at the SECC about 4:00 and had a much anticipated coffee to warm up and dry out. I called Lois who told me she would be done her conference about 5:00 so I had a bit of time to kill. Then we could head back to our Georgian manor house where we were staying. While I was waiting drinking my coffee I met a Canadian chap by the name of Nick Sion who used to work for AECL, he was quite an interesting individual. He was helping with the Maple reactors that were canceled by the Canadian Government due to cost over runs and delays. They were to replace the Chalk River reactor.
Once Lois was finished, we headed for the manor, jumping on the local train service which took us to Glasgow Central station, then we walked in the rain from there. We bought dinner at a Sainsbury’s grocer on the way, which was chicken, potatoes and veggies in gravy for me and Lois had a Thai dinner of chicken and noodles. They weren’t all that great, so we didn’t buy those type of meals again. We arrived at our room around 7:00 PM ate our dinner, watched some TV then was in bed at 10:30.

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