Stay-cation

It’s been a while and a lot has happened! This week was very busy with school work but for reading week last week, I opted to stay in town since I had a few school appointments scheduled. Here are some of my nice outings:

Tennent’s Brewery

Mackintosh “House for an Art Lover” (not an actual house – built in 1990s, based on a competition design proposal drawings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret MacDonald)

Glasgow Science Center followed by an amazing walk along the Clyde River

James Bay concert at Art School

Miscellaneous walks around the west end including the discovery of a lovely community garden

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Argyle Street Christmas Market*

*Glasgow has already been in full Christmas-mode for several weeks, which means LOTS of delicious treats to enjoy (including delicious souvlaki at the market!)

Holiday sweets here are THE BEST:

- sticky toffee everything (including lattes)
– mince pies (usually, “mince” refers to ground beef except during the holidays, when it is a sweet pie/tart filling made of fruits like apricots and raisins which are cooked with sugar and brandy, etc. Divine.)
– stollen (technically German but I’m not picky since it’s amazing and plentiful)

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Mom requested to see more photos of me, so here you go:

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The Pot Still, home of 500 whiskies (I drank about half a dram and had enough)

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George Square at night

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(Took us a minute to realize this was a fake owl, but the other birds are real)

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery, as seen from Kelvingrove Park

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Salvador Dali

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Only in Scotland…

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Best cure for a long week: tea and pecan cheesecake at school

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This weekend = preparations for our big Thanksgiving dinner next Saturday!

If you’re tired of photos of Scottish skies..

…I can’t help you – here are some more!

I don’t have class on Tuesday’s, so I took a long walk over to the east end to check out the Glasgow Necropolis, a massive hilltop cemetery. It was really impressive, and a beautiful day to visit: mild weather, not windy, but very dramatic skies.

Some of the monuments were so old and falling over – definitely not a place I would want to be after dark! I especially liked the boldly painted gates of some of the crypts (okay – I admit that’s a weird thing to say)

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George Square ready for Christmas

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The Tennents Brewery

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Then I went to Glasgow Cathedral, right across the street

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My walk back was just as beautiful!

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Our dear Mac building

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The last few days have been mainly sunny, although sometimes quite cold:

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…which also means tea and cake is always a good idea.

This is a Gregg’s nut (imposter cronut, I assume)

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Post lunch at the Vic

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November 5th was Guy Fawkes day, and an annual fireworks celebration/carnival in Glasgow Green. (Sidenote, fireworks can be purchased in supermarkets here. Yep.)

It felt like entire city was out in the park, probably also since it wasn’t raining. We didn’t try any rides, but found the most amazing hot donuts (and watery hot chocolate) to deal with the cold. The fireworks were pretty decent and were synced to superhero music – there was also a full moon!

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Yesterday I ventured to Waitrose, which is a much larger and nicer supermarket than the ones closest to our flat. I found some amazing things including mince pies, pale blue eggs, and gingerbread porridge. It’s about 25 minutes from our flat but I have a feeling I will be making the trek often. They also sell Frank’s Redhot – I’m sold!

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A few last beautiful things:

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This week = reading week and hopefully a trip out of town!

It’s November!

Hard to believe how fast time has been flying! I’ve been a little bit lazy (due to the dreary, rainy weather earlier this week) and fighting a wee cold (although 95% better now) but this morning the sun is mostly shining and I woke up motivated to post another long-overdue update!

Last weekend we went to an awesome concert (Jungle) at probably the most awesome venue ever, The Arches. The venue is located in a brick viaduct underneath the Glasgow Central Train Station – I’m sure you’re all thinking that sounds terrifying and sketchy but I can attest it is in great condition/impressively renovated and structurally sound. I didn’t even see any sewer sludge ala Ninja Turtles, as expected.

I originally bought the concert tickets in July (before I had a visa or a flight or anything) and since The Arches has a restaurant attached, there was a discount if you purchased your prefix dinner along with your concert tickets. The food was actually really delicious and the restaurant also shares some of the brick archways of the main venue space so it was really cool.

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We were pretty close to the front while Jungle was performing, but this is the view looking back, which gives more of a sense of the arched space.

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It was a really great night and such a unique experience!

Last weekend we also changed our clocks back one hour so it’s been getting dark so early, especially when it is cloudy! It has also been very windy, which makes the rainy days especially difficult. I’ve noticed that hardly anyone wears rain boots here – I remain baffled by this and while I understand they are not necessary for the constant drizzle we have on some days, other days it downpours for hours and I see girls in Keds and ballet flats. That being said – I have no shame in wearing rain boots – before I bought them I had one day of wet socks and it was not fun.

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I’ve been cooking most of my own meals lately but have also begun craving certain foods, like Dos Toros burritos, so I decided to venture to a Mexican place called Pinto that people were raving about on yelp. (Sidenote: There were even some reviews that said something like “if you are American, this is better than Chipotle!!” I personally would eat Dos Toros over Chipotle any day of the week but I figured by default, Pinto would be the closest thing to DT on this side of the pond) I was really excited when I walked in because it smelled delicious, but I have to say my “bare burrito” aka bowl was very bland and disappointing.

I think I might give them another shot sometime (perhaps with nachos?) but for now I will continue to daydream about dos toros…

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Here is a bus stop on Sauchiehall Street

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Buchanan Street at night

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Lastly, Halloween! I finally successfully transformed into a lobster for two nights in a row – so fun! We went to a few parties around school and enjoyed the warmish and non-rainy weather, and all the weirdos that came out to enjoy it too.

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(Claudia was a gumball machine – so cute!)

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Happy Saturday!

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Good things.

I’m happy to announce that after 5 weeks in the dark ages, we FINALLY got internet in our flat on Monday! There was a portion of the day when we both were going to be in lectures, and I was so worried (and half-expecting) that the installer would come while we were at school, and that we would have to reschedule and wait another month and NEVER get internet BUT somehow it all worked out!

Also on Monday I picked up a package of cookies and treats – such a thoughtful and nice surprise from a group at Holy Cross – the cookies have become an especially nice addition to my afternoon tea breaks! (Maybe I’ve also been having one or two with my morning coffee..)

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On Tuesday, most of our class went to Edinburg to meet our professor for a tour around the city, since he lives there. Apparently the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo (the one that just hit Bermuda) were passing over Scotland that day and although it was mainly sunny, it was SO WINDY and SO COLD, which made for a very intense day. That being said, it was great to see so many different, non-touristy areas of Edinburg and get a local perspective on the city history, as well as more recent developments.

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SCOTTIE DOGS: HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY
(Our teacher asked if the jackets were to keep them warm – no, apparently they just had gotten their photos taken)

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New goal in life is to live in a house this color:

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For lunch we got amazing baked potatoes at a tiny hole in the wall – unfortunately we had to stand on the street to eat but it hit the spot! This is vegetable curry with sour cream

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St. Giles cathedral

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(Love the blue ceiling)

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(Also love the colors of this shop)

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I realize I just posted a ton of photos but the day was just so picturesque (although I still prefer Glasgow) and I just couldn’t resist taking so many shots!

Here’s a few more from around Glasgow to take you back to reality:

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Rainy Sunday.

Such a fun weekend! On a Friday, we had about 25 classmates and friends over for a housewarming/potluck/”help us use our living room” party.

There was so much amazing food (some of the same chefs as the previous party) and I’ve been happily enjoying the leftovers these past few days.

Dinner prep (I made tortellini with olives and tomatoes – inspired by a similar dish I used to get from Agata and Valentina in New York…womp womp)

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I also made us a door sign

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We also turned on our electric fireplace (without the heat since it was in the balmy 60s for a change!) for the occasion. All in all it was a really great time…now, to start planning our big American thanksgiving meal..!

Yesterday I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and went to Kelvingrove Park without a jacket! It’s a really such a gorgeous park.

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At night, I went with some friends to see a friends’ band at “nice n sleazy”, which is a bar/small concert venue. (It sounds much sketchier than it actually is, and is conveniently right around the corner from school)

After, I met other friends at The Art School (our student association) for a big dj party, called freaky freaky (not sure why), which was super fun and also open to the public so there was A LOT of fascinating/trashy/bizarre attire present. There was also a balloon drop, which is a plus for any Saturday night activity.

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Lastly, here are a few more Glasgow shots for your enjoyment.

Tomorrow = internet in our flat day!
Maybe time for another party??

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File under: Because I can

This weekend, I decided to venture out of the UK and attend a 30th birthday party in Germany for my friend, Christoph and his twin brother. Since it was something I wouldn’t be able to do if I was living in New York, I figured I should go and take advantage of the situation. I first met Christoph and our other friend, Alex when our senior studio class at Parsons did an exchange program with their school in Erfurt, Germany. We’ve been able to visit each other a few times over the years and it’s always fun to hang out with them!

My flight was on Friday night from Edinburg to Munich and I took a bus from Glasgow to Munich after class. I discovered Pimm’s in the airport and I caught a rainbow while I was waiting to board the plane. It was a very pleasant journey.

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Alex and his girlfriend Franzi picked me up at the Munich airport, even though they live just outside Nuremberg (about 90 mins away). They are such awesome friends!

The next morning, I got out of the shower and was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful German breakfast!

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After breakfast, we went to Nuremberg city with Alex’s sister Johanna (who I haven’t seen since she visited us in New York 1 1/2 years ago!) and her boyfriend. We checked out all of the beautiful German markets and ate curry wurst for lunch, mandatory for any trip to Germany.

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We then had to get ready for the big party, about an hour away.

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This is Christoph’s apartment in Naila (with our slumber party mattresses and bedding setup) Can you tell he is an architect?

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The party was a few minutes away, in an empty house owned by Christoph’s boss, who will be renovating it. There were 3 kinds of delicious soup (unusual party food from what I am used to but they were all so good..I am still thinking about them) and “traditional” American red cups which had to be specially ordered for the event. (I had no idea Europeans were so fascinated with the cups but I had to inform them they were unfortunately an imposter brand i.e. “Partycups.com” or something like that…and not actually “solo cups”)

The party was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time and a lot of great soup.

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Me, Alex and Franzi

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The next morning, after breakfast, we drove back to Nuremberg, enjoyed the sun and took a nice walk around the neighborhood. It was so much warmer than in Glasgow, about 70 degrees!

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Pretty soon, it was time for me to begin the journey back to Glasgow, which included 3 trains, a flight, a bus and a taxi. What could go wrong?

The train connections were pretty easy, thanks to my prepaid ticket with track numbers listed. I was also able to get a sandwich and some snacks, another big plus.

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Once I finally arrived at Munich airport, I discovered my flight was delayed an hour. I also then discovered that the buses from Edinburg airport to Glasgow do not, in fact, run 24 hours as previously thought. The last one was at 11:30pm and I was going to miss it.

The next one wasn’t until 5am.

Now, the Munich airport was pretty packed and I didn’t want to freak out but I also just wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe I read the schedule wrong and was going to be stranded at EDI overnight. Even so, I decided it was my best option and that a hotel didn’t make sense since I needed to leave at 5am. Our 9:50pm scheduled flight ended up leaving at 11:25pm and we landed at EDI at 12:30 am since the timezone is one hour behind Germany. I haven’t spent a lot of time in airports overnight but it was not very fun. It was cold because the doors were stuck open and I tried sleeping on a bench but then a janitor came by because he had to MOVE the benches to clean the floor.

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I decided to go for a walk, found an open coffee shop and got a cup of tea but I couldn’t stay because they were BLASTING terrible music that would have made me go insane. When I walked up, they were playing “Manic Monday”. How ironic. I’m not sure how anyone else was able to sleep around there.

Eventually, I made my way back to my original bench and fell asleep for a little while. It was still cold (and my bag was not a very comfortable pillow) but at least it was quiet. I woke up around 4:30am and decided to try to find my bus, because I knew it was a bit of a hike from the terminal. It was about 40 degrees outside and rainy but the bus showed up around 4:50 and after a cigarette break, the driver let us on.

The bus was so nice and warm and I slept the whole hour back to Glasgow. It took me a little while to realize there was a taxi queue at the bus station (and that I wasn’t going to be able to hail a cab from anywhere else) but after a few minutes and £4.60 I was back at my flat, at 6:25am.

It was not the kind of adventure I was looking to have this weekend but in the end, it all worked out and I was totally fine. I was even able to sleep until 10:30 and make it to my noon lecture on time!

Lessons and thoughts for the next weekend trip:

- fly only out of Glasgow (OR arrive in Edinburg much earlier)

- good job with the snack supply

- good job with packing light

- read the schedules twice.

- soup at parties. Yes.

- German gingerbread generally maintains it’s shape after being slept on

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