Let me first give a proper super thanks to our lovely couch surfing host, Neil - yep, that's his collection above. He let us try a wee dram and organized it by location after pulling it all out of the cabinet. I had the Caol Ila (pronounced cull-eela), a sister distillery of Lagavulin, and Eli sampled the Ardbeg. Definitely a classy welcome. Neil was a great help as well with giving us some general direction for our brief time in the city - he armed us with a better map, some suggestions for the must-sees, and took us out to some awesome pubs in the evening on more than one occasion. Yay to couch surfing being not only functional, but honest and friendly so far!
One of the first and biggest things we noted about Glasgow is that most of the major, and I hesitate to use this word, attractions ... are free entry, all of the time. That is right - museums, galleries, botanic gardens. Free! Which is supremely helpful to people on a budget traveling in this not-so-inexpensive city. Considering the exchange rate lately and the small amount of time we were actually in the city limits, I'm mildly impressed with what we were able to have our eyes and brains take in.
Something else that we noticed was that many of the art spaces had Community Rooms or Studios where educational workshops, kids classes and events were scheduled to happen or taking place during our visit. The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, the Center for Contemporary Art and the Glasgow Print Studio each hosted some interesting work and had plenty of work space for outside groups and classes throughout the year. The CCA was especially diverse and it's space really invited us to just mull about, check out an exhibit, or browse the little book and craft/work shop. Very good place to space out and figure out what's happening in Glasgow while you're there.
In between some rain and hail storms, we ducked into the Mitchell Library for a coffee and, you guessed it, some reading/quiet time. It is housed in a classic old building but has sneaky modern parts that pop up here and there...an interesting combination of the two. Glasgow seems to be full of these little contradictions - particularly clear in the mix of old and new world buildings. Here's the view of our cafe (in the library) during an odd moment of sunshine for that day and the reflection of a beautiful old stone church in the glass pile of a building across the street: