The Merchant of Glasgow. No Egg on My Face, Please, I'm on Holiday
12.04.2013 7 °C
Fraser Suites locates in an area of Glasgow called the 'Merchant City'. Today this area is promoted as a leisure area with restaurants, bars, residences, and hotels.
Merchant shipping and and later ship building did much for the growth of Glasgow.
When I heard the term 'Merchant City', I thought it was synonymous with Glasgow. It only refers to the important part of the city centre. And much of architecture that tourists come to see are located in the 'Merchant City'.
Glasgow is a small city. While it's known as the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, it looks smaller than Scotland's other major city of Edinburgh. Glasgow may have larger population than Edinburgh, at least it doesn't feel that way.
'Tolbooth' is Scottish for 'Townhouse'.
This Victorian Gothic building houses Fraser Suites - where we stayed - and many retail stores and restaurants. If you like Victorian Gothic architecture, Glasgow has plenty to feast your eyes on. Not surprisingly as the city thrived during the Victorian Era.
Neo-Gothic building, location of Fraser Suites, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Neo-Gothic building, location of Fraser Suites
This building is designed by JT Rochead, the same lad who designed the Wallace Monument near Stirling Castle, which we would visit tomorrow.
Of course, the size of a city could be measured in terms of population, physical size, etc. Or it could be experienced on the ground level, first hand.
For example, church bell is being rung on the hour to announce its arrival (or renewal), and more importantly being heard. The 1st time I heard it at 8am, I had the same surprise as when I was woken up at 6am by the Fajr (or Muslim dawn prayer) the 1st time I visited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (back in early 1980s).
Scottish kilt, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Highland high fashion
For a bigger city, such practise would be futile because the toll of church bells would be drown in a sea of traffic drone and car horns. This makes one feel like Glasgow is more of a large town than a city. The streets are quiet here.
In the olden times, a place was dominated by the sound of religion; in modern times, by the sound of commerce. And I was awoke by the old way.
Weegies - that's what the locals of Glasgow called themselves - is a friendly bunch. Not that city folks are a grumpy bunch necessarily. They're more polite than the neighbourly charms that tend to be associated with a country town. Aloofness is part of the landscape of a Big Smoke. I witnessed that change as Sydney was transforming from a somewhat sleepy town to a busy metropolis in the last 3 decades. As people are living closer together, their emotional distance in the public are growing further apart.
Of course, all these are the benefits of living in a sleepy town. The downside is trying to get an authentic Asian cuisine. Well, you can't win them all.
Merchant Square, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
The simple, elegant Merchant Square in Neo-Classical style locates near Fraser Suites
We arrived at Glasgow International Airport at 4pm. And Fraser Suites was only a short drive from the airport.
After unpacking, we headed straight for din din. The unusually prolonged winter of Europe this year and my poor circulation demanded for some piping hot soup. We walked around the area near Fraser Suites, and my eyes lit up with (not by) flashing lights when I saw a Sopporo restaurant sign. Such a cold weather called for a Japanese ramen noodle soup to warm my cockles (I wouldn't mind if they put some cockles in as they often do in Singapore).
The thrill was quickly turned cold by the realisation that no authentic Japanese could be expected from this quiet town. Well, I was desperate, and so becoming rather irrational
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