Glasgow day 1 (New Year’s Eve)

Here we are almost at mid-March and I still haven’t posted about our New Year’s trip to Glasgow. Bad blogger! I shall at least partially rectify that now with an account of our first day there (we arrived the evening before but only went out to eat and back to our accommodation, so nothing really to tell there, especially since I did not take a photo of the food).

So, New Year’s Eve. We woke up to rain, rain rain, so the decision was made to go to a museum for the day. The forecast said that it would clear up in time for the evening’s festivities, so that was alright. After breakfast and showers, K headed into town to pick up our tickets for the street party that night and some food for the next day while Jan and I set out for a wander through Kelvingrove Park  – which our accommodation was right beside.

On reaching our destination (the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, pictured below) we discovered that it was closed that day – although the website had claimed it was open!

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Instead, we headed to the Hunterian Museum, which is located the University of Glasgow.

How pretty do these pillars look all lit up?

We entered the stairwell that leads up to the museum and discovered a robing room. My university didn’t have one of those! (It didn’t look this pretty either. *Sigh*)

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Glasgow University

The first exhibition we saw was about the Antonine Wall, which was very interesting to me. It was the more northern and less famous version of Hadrian’s Wall (which of course is located in “my” part of England). The Antonine Wall was mainly turf and was abandoned relatively quickly, so not much remains. We then saw some stuffed animals in cases, an exhibition about Lord Kelvin (he of the temperature scale) and a medical exhibition, that was fascinating and slightly creepy. Some photos of the inside of the museum (plus one looking out the window, trying to be artistic):

When the museum closed we decided to head back to the apartment for a drink and to warm up before heading out for dinner. As promised, the rain had stopped by the time we went back out (hey, the weather forecast got something right!). We ate at Mother India’s Café on K’s recommendation – and I can now officially say she was right, it was amazing! No photos though… I was too busy stuffing my face.
Curry done, it was on to the Ashton Lane Street Party.

The food at the stands outside smelled delicious, but we didn’t sample any because we were so full of curry! We did enjoy drinks from a few of the bars though – interesting ciders on offer! Ashton Lane is a cute little street, and thanks to being ticketed it wasn’t too crowded. The Irish pub was pretty full, but for the most part you could actually get to the bars to buy your drinks, and the toilet queues weren’t too insane – no worse than an average night out. Overall, I can recommend paying the fee for the sake of a nice night away from the idiots who are just out to get drunk. However, a note to sponsor Heineken (not that anyone there will ever read this): THROWING YOUR HUGE INFLATABLE BALLS AROUND AT MIDNIGHT WAS A BLOODY STUPID IDEA!! They were actually quite heavy and they hurt! Not cool! Grrr.

The fireworks were nice though:

(Don’t try to take photos of fireworks though chains of lights… it does not work!).

And that was the end of day 1! Day 2 involved sun, a cemetery and lots of walking. Hopefully it won’t take me another 2.5 months to get round to posting about it…

 

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Funchal, Madeira

After breakfast on our first day in Madeira, we drove down to Funchal – the capital city – to see what it had to offer. The photos in this post will be a mixture of ones from that first day and ones from later trips into Funchal.

On the first day, we just wanted to have a look around. With no particular destination in mind, we found somewhere to park the car then just went for a wander. We found the cathedral, and beside it a mini Christmas market complete with a Madeiran village section, where people in costume were displaying traditional crafts and cooking over log fires.

It was odd seeing the place decorated with things like snowmen when the temperatures were around 15-17°C all week! There were some pretty lights though, including some made to look like the Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise flowers that were planted everywhere. There were also loads of cute little lizards all over the place… anywhere there was a wall, there was a lizard!

It was nice to be beside the sea again, and smell the salt in the air. That’s something I really miss in Karlsruhe!

We went for a walk in one of the local parks (there are many!) and I found a rainbow in a fountain.

After walking around for a while on the first day, we decided we were hungry so we headed back to the traditional Madeiran huts to grab a bowl of soup and some of the local bread. Bolo do Caco is a round, flat bread (similar to a Stottie in the North-East of England). It’s baked on a flat stone slab called a Caco – Bolo do Caco literally means bread cooked on the Caco (actually, Bolo is technically the Portuguese word for cake). At the Madeira Story Centre we read that the bread was originally baked on large pieces of roof tile – caco de telha – which is where the name Caco for the stone slab comes from. The bread is traditionally served smothered in a garlic and herb butter – not all that healthy, but absolutely delicious!

After eating our soup on that first day, we headed back to the car before the time we had paid for ran out. But on the way, we stopped by the Mercado do Lavradores (Worker’s Market) for a quick look. You might want to look away now if you don’t like dead fish 😉

I think that’s enough for one post! Tomorrow I shall share some pictures of the artwork on the doors of the old town. I think they deserve a post of their own 🙂

~ I am including Madeira as my January 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge, even though part of the holiday actually took place in December ~

Back to reality

After a lovely weekend away it was back to work this morning for the last week of my internship. I’m only there til Thursday, then I have Friday to myself and start my new internship at 8:30 on Monday morning. That means I’ll have to catch a tram at 8am! Bye bye good night’s sleep…

Hamburg was really nice. The weather was gorgeous – almost too hot in fact. On Saturday it was 31 degrees! Normally Hamburg is foggy, rainy, cold or a combination of the three so we picked the perfect weekend for our trip. It was lovely to see our friends again. Despite the fact that we were there for such a short time we managed to fit quite a bit in. We saw the old burnt out Nicolai church, which now serves as a memorial for all those who have been killed in wars. The tower is still standing and now has a panorama lift in it, so we went up there to take a look at Hamburg from above before heading back down under the ground to look at an exhibition of photos from after Hamburg was bombed during the second world war.

We also took a walk down to the Speicherstadt part of town (down by the River Elbe) and later, when we met up with N, we took a ferry to a beach bar. For dinner N took us to a studenty part of town called Sternschanze. We ate at an Italian and Greek restaurant and I had an absolutely gorgeous Mussaka. Afterwards we headed down to the Reeperbahn for some drinks and Claire came down to meet us after she had finished work. We went to a few bars, including an Irish one with live music on, and finally made it home at about 6 o’clock in the morning!

Not surprisingly we didn’t mange to get up particularly early on Sunday. Once we did manage to get out of bed, Claire and I headed to Sternschanze again for some brunch while Jan (who was hungover!) went back to bed for 45 minutes. He came to meet us after we’d eaten then Claire had to go to work and, after relaxing in a little park for a while, Jan and I had to head for the train station. We almost didn’t make it on time when the underground train we were on broke down half way there, but luckily we managed to find a taxi rank almost straight away and arrived at the train station with about a minute to spare. The train then ended up being delayed and it was 10:30pm when we arrived back in Karlsruhe. A long weekend and a late night last night left me feeling very tired all day today but it was definitely worth it.

So, to sum up, go to Hamburg people. You won’t regret it!