From the 8th floor of our hotel room, we noticed a market going on down the block. We immediately got ready to head out for the evening and made our way to Buchanan Street – a place filled with shops, lights, restaurants, nightlife, and this amazing Christmas market. We wandered around admiring all the booths, drooling over the food, and listening to several street performers. One such duo of singers captured our attention with their medley of Chainsmokers songs. We listened to these guys for at least 30 minutes, dancing and singing along. Splendid – only wish we caught their names.
Once we left Buchanan Street, we stumbled upon the city square, which was all fenced in with lines of people waiting to get in. We asked a gentleman what was going on and he told us it was their Christmas Lights Switch On ceremony complete with fireworks, music, food, and fun. He said make sure you #GlasgowLovesChristmas on social media. And boy do they ever love Christmas. We got lucky with a table at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant right next to the event and were able to pop outside in the middle of our dinner to witness the countdown, lights, and fireworks. Truly magical and the best kind of happy accident (right place right time for sure). To end of first evening, we stopped in MacSorley’s for some pints and live music.
Wondering how the next day could top the Christmas spectacular, we hopped on a Rabbies tour bus for Stirling Castle, the Troussachs National Park (where the Highlands meet the Lowlands), Loch Lomond, and the Glengoyne whiskey distillery. This trip does take about 9 hours, but well worth the time and fee. You also get discounts for the castle and distillery. Stirling Castle is a 12th century castle where several famous battles took place and we were able to get a private history lesson from Andrew, one of the castle employees. He pointed out the William Wallace monument (“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”) in the distance and told us stories of Scotland’s past. We also learned the Braveheart isn’t entirely accurate – lots of misrepresentations of that era, not that it broke our hearts and sorry if it breaks yours. The Troussachs park is a lovely drive to see the countryside and how different the high and low lands actually are. They look like 2 different countries. And we learned the Scotland forestry service plants 3 trees for every 1 they cut down! (Shout out Madera – the outdoor company we are ambassadors for!) Loch Lomond is an impressive lake at 24 miles long. It was foggy when we arrived and the lake looked very spooky. The Glengoyne distillery is a great way to end the trip with a tour and lesson on how they make their whiskey and a wee dram to quench your thirst.
A highlight of the Rabbies tour was an extra stop to pet the hairy coo (or cow if you will). See photos below. Magical beasts.
Glasgow will never disappoint and we would love to return for another visit. Slàinte!
Enjoy the Ride,
Lindsay and Justin