I've commenced my Highland Fling! Actually I’m nowhere near the highlands as I write, instead traveling in a very flat, lowland-ish region of England (farm fields and small villages flying by outside my window), from London to Glasgow on a delayed train from Euston Station. Apparently a sleeper train de-railed outside the station this morning, crossing several tracks and causing a delay to all trains at the station! We started a half hour late. Not sure if they will try to make up time or not, but it's not really an issue as I have nowhere in particular to go this afternoon. It's supposed to be very rainy in Glasgow, so I might go nowhere at all – at least until I need to find a place to eat dinner!
I really hope that it will NOT be a total washout in Glasgow, as tomorrow I have what I hope will be an exciting day-trip to Oban. But the weather gods will prevail, despite my wishes.
A bit later, IN Glasgow: The train arrived at Glasgow’s imposing Central Station about 3:30. Stepping into the street I noted only the lightest of drizzles, and my taxi driver cheered me up considerably when he told me that the last two days had been complete downpour/washouts. I checked in to one of two hotels in Glasgow named Charles Rennie MacIntosh (the less expensive one, and I may tell you later why it’s less expensive), for the fabled art nouveau designer/architect who left his mark on buildings all over Glasgow, including the dental hospital across the street and the Glasgow School of Art just down Renfrew Street, the street where I live for the next few days.
I was surprised at how easy it was to reach the station, and on the way to it I discovered the pedestrian zone, on a street with the particularly Scottish name of Sauchiehall. And immediately as I stepped into that zone, I heard a rather decent solo from a jazz saxophonist, and put some money in his instrument case. A few blocks down the street, lined with pretty typical stores, more good jazz, this time from a quartet. A block or so farther and a young man was singing soulful ballads – the street musicians of Glasgow took me by surprise, a delighted one.
There was also a simple and tasteful war memorial, and today several temporary structures housing a piping festival! More music, and very good music, during the time I was there from a small band with other instruments, but featuring the pipes. I stayed in the tent, which was also equipped with a bar, for several tunes. Adjacent to the music tent were booths featuring traditional Scottish culinary treats – I almost went for the venison burger!
Back to the hotel then, with a stop at a Sainsbury’s Local for some snacks, and now it’s 10:15 pm, I have an early morning and a long day, so, praying to the weather gods to keep the rain away, or light at least, tomorrow, I’m more than ready for a good night’s sleep!
Friday morning: Cloudy, so far, but according to the early morning news rain will spread across the exact area into which I am venturing. Voila! There are few trains into and out of Oban, and I have six hours scheduled in a fishing village without much chance of shelter from the impending storm, but that’s why I brought my pancho. Breakfast begins in 15 minutes, and just after that I need to dash to Queen Street station to catch my 8:21 train to Oban. More upon my very likely rain-soaked return.