Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Contiki England and Scotland Day 8: Glasgow

Contiki England and Scotland

Day 8

The drive from Oban to Glasgow wasn't terribly long, and with two stops along the way, the last day on tour was a nice relaxing break from the craziness of the previous week. Once we got on the bus to make our way to the first pit stop of the day, Roxy passed out the surveys and explained how the day would go before checking into the last hotel of the trip.  

The first stop of the day was a brief visit to the ever famous Hamish the Highland Cow who not only has his own Facebook page, but the BBC even follows the cow's love life and there's also a children's book written about him. I can't help but think that he's essentially Parks and Recreation's British version of Little Sebastian. 

After visiting Hamish we made our way to the Scottish city of Stirling, home to some of Scotland's most important and well-known Kings and Queens. Once we arrived at the base of the castle we were given two options.The first was to get out there and spend our time at Stirling Castle and perhaps walk down into the town  or stay on the bus and go see the William Wallace Monument, then meet the bus to take you back into town where you'd have to walk quite the large hill to meet back at the castle. 

I chose the first, and I'm quite glad that I did, especially after hearing that not too many people made it to the top of the monument due to time constraints, which also resulted in a rush back for lunch and back to the Castle to board the bus. Instead, I bought my ticket to the castle (I can't remember how much, but it wasn't that expensive) and wandered around leisurely while taking in the views. A few added bonuses to visiting Stirling Castle was that you can actually see the monument from the castle, there were free guided tours ever 30 minutes, and fun and friendly costumed interpreters to answer any questions and bring a special touch to your photos.The castle itself was also a treat to walk through as much of it was restored to the days when the Stewart family ruled Scotland as an independent kingdom. There was also a lovely little cafe with delicious and inexpensive sandwiches. All in all, it was the perfect respite to a crazy week of touring for me and I'd highly recommend it.

That spire out in the distance is the William Wallace (aka Braveheart) monument.

Once we reached Glasgow it more or less felt like the tour had ended, despite not officially ending until breakfast the next morning. We checked into the Ibis Hotel and all went our separate ways. My cousin and I chose to relax for a bit and skype home instead of running out into the city. However, I soon got restless and decided to check out the Glasgow Cathedral and neighboring Necropolis (I started my trip out with a cemetery, Highgate Cemetery, might as well end it with one). Unfortunately, the Cathedral was closed. So, as the sun was setting, we walked up the Necropolis and had a beautiful view of the city from atop.

Eventually it was time to meet up with the Contiki group at a pub. So after some dinner and dessert, where I finally got to try the Scottish "delicacy" of a deep fried mars bar along with a can of Irn Bru (to say I had a sugar high was an understatement), we were off. 

I didn't stay long and decided to walk back to the hotel since we were to catch an early train back to London the next day. On the walk back to the hotel I did spot a Tardis!  Well, a Police Box, and not exactly in the original shape of the Type T 40 Tardis the Doctor uses to fly around space and time, but it still provided me with nerdy glee.

Doctor? Is that you?

Extra Tips:

* Before leaving Scotland make sure to try a can of Irn Bru and anything fried.

The next blog post will be about my ninth day on tour from Glasgow to London.

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