The Introduction: Glasgow

In Glasgow

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on September 29, 2010

I tried to find the words.  Well, actually I found way too many.  Thousands and thousands erupted from my memories onto the screen.  I wrote for days and hadn’t made a dent in what I wanted to say, what I wanted to capture. This was the summer I saw Europe for the first time. I wanted to share that awe, that wonder. I wanted to experience it again, to entice you to share your experiences. The issue was that I also didn’t want to change this place completely. This week though? I haven’t baked a thing. I was hit with this killer cold (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, pretty much everything they list in those commercials), so why not start now? Here’s the first bit of Europe. If you come just for the recipes, come back then, no worries. If not, grab a cup of tea and enjoy!

When getting ready to leave, not just packing and thinking about all of the things that we would be doing in Europe, there was one thing that kept coming up. How this trip would change me. How it would change how I thought about life, about travel, about home. I did not realize what that would mean. Actually, I’m still not completely sure what it will mean, but I do know that a change has begun to take place.

Walking through Glasgow

I want to remember this trip forever. I’ve been quietly begging my parents to take us to Europe since grade 5. It is possible that I started earlier, but without question, that year solidified it in my mind. That year, we studied greek mythology and ancient Greece. I was enthralled with each of those myths. The gods and goddesses living on top of a mountain all to themselves, each having this control yet responsibility over certain things from war to childbirth. Hearing about their lives in these fabled buildings and everything else that occurred in ancient Greek times made me want to see it. To feel the same hot sun, eat the same foods and see the same sights. Now, we didn’t go to Greece, but one day I will.

Time Flies

In fact, there are countless countries that I have been dreaming about visiting, and I firmly believe that one day I will make my way to each of them, meet the wonderful people and enjoy whatever experiences I may be priveledged to have. But right now, at this moment, there are three areas at hand and twenty-three days in which I was able to enjoy them all. I know that I didn’t see everything or anywhere near that, but I did treasure each moment, even the one where my parents and brother were sound asleep after having been awake earlier. I woke up some point past 3 am and did rest afterwards, but couldn’t get back to sleep. It was 8:30 by the time I finally had the heart to wake them up (and breakfast downstairs was ending in a half hour).

Statue in the Square

The air there is so deliciously humid. The warm air welcomed us to the town with a gentle hug. On our second morning in Glasgow, I came over to the window to listen to the ebb and flow of the city while it woke up, and my family slept. Jet lag can be such a funny thing. My only experiences with it had been usually 2 hours (rather than these 7) – at grandma’s. The tiny advantage of staying up later than my cousins for the first night or two, and them being up and awake hours before us (often egging us to get out of bed, to swing on the swing and everything else that grandma’s cottage holds). It was an advantage, rather than something waking me up at 3 in the morning. I was not familiar with that beast. Luckily Glasgow was our entirely laid-back place. No plans. Just making sure that we would see my Nana’s cousin. It also would be great if we got over the jet lag… and we just about did.

A Lane in Glasgow

The biggest thing I was hit with while exploring this city and moving through its streets was the history. It seemed like every stone, every building, every statue was saturated with history. I live in a new country. My house is as old as my parents, not older than my great great grandparents. Through our trip and all of the other places we went, we continued to see this deeply ingrained history. Seeing statues of people that won battles in the 1200s. Paintings of royalty and battles (there were a lot of battles) who lived a thousand years ago. Here, Canada’s history doesn’t go that far. At least not Canada as Canada. There are enormous amounts of history of the Natives and Inuit, but most of the recorded bits I’ve read are from when explorers came, not hundreds of years before, and surely no castles to boast of. That was what I knew, so learning that this famous inventor was born there, in that Glasgow home and across the street was where so-and-so did this, which changed the course of history, it was eye-opening.

Fellow Tourists on the Bus Tour in Glasgow

We took a tour, on those double-decker bus tours that let us see what we wanted to see. In fact, that was how we started out in each city. It gave us a lay of the land (or an understanding of how enormously huge it is… ahem London) and we would listen to the stories of the city as we drove by, preferably with a live guide. The Scottish ones were especially delightful, playing on that dry humour and always sharing candidly, as if you were their long-lost cousin. In fact, we found (my dad especially noted this) that everyone in Scotland welcomed us and spoke in that same way, as if you were a friend of a friend or their sixth-cousin, twice removed (or something along those lines). Being of mostly Scottish decent, it was amazing how these places felt like my roots. Most of my family has been here for hundreds of years (only a couple though), and it was fascinating to see the face of my cousin, or of a friend as we walked through the streets.

One of Glasgow's Statues

In the 9 days in Scotland, I must have done 40 double takes. Or at least 25. I kept mentioning it so I eventually didn’t say anything when I saw friends in perfect strangers. (But they were everywhere. Every. where.) It was awesome yet surprising at the same time. Among those faces, was that of my Nana’s cousin. He took us around one day to all of his favourite spots (and a few that we had planned to see as well). That day, it was magical. But, let’s save that for another day, okay? He deserves it.

xoxo
Lauren

PS – Julie did this lovely interview with me, so if you wish, head on over to Babble and take a read!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn September 29, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Fantastic post Lauren! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!! I’ve been living in Europe for the better part of a year now and I still can’t get over how much history is in one place, I don’t think that part will ever get old :)

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2 elle September 30, 2010 at 6:16 am

Excellent. There is food for the body and then there is food that feeds the soul and the spirit!

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3 Adam October 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Found this from your twitter – glad you liked Scotland. Did you find any gluten free food there worth recommending? I am in London right now and would love any suggestions you have in the UK or anywhere else in Europe.

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4 Sheena October 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm

This was so lovely to read! Can’t wait to read more about Europe, you describe everything so beautifully :)

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5 Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Lauren, You are a gifted writer. This is a beautiful piece. I cannot wait to read more from you. I will be proud to say “I knew her when…” when you publish your first book…

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6 kamran siddiqi October 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I just read about your cold. Feel better, my friend. Now- onto your lovely post. Your writing is astounding! Absolutely wonderful!!! When I do make it to Europe, I hope to have as much to share as you did. Thank you for sharing such lovely memories! :)

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7 glutenfreeforgood October 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

I loved this post of yours. Beautifully written, wonderful photos. My daughter went to school at the University of Glasgow and she loved living in the heart of the city. Great music, amazing architecture, friendly people. Plus, she had no problem living gluten-free. In fact, she sent me an email not long after she moved there telling me they had GF KitKats in Glasgow. She was thrilled.
Great post!
Melissa

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8 Simone October 15, 2010 at 5:31 am

I can’t wait to hear all about the rest of your trip. I have never been to Glasgow but it is high on my list. We went to Edinburgh a few years ago and I just love Scotland and for us it is not so far away either.. :) Loved your account and photos!

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9 suz October 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

no way! i just stumbled across your blog from somewhere else, and you were just in my home town… i could probably tell you where most of those pictures were taken…. i’m glad you enjoyed Glasgow though, it’s one of my favourites… (ps, like the other recipes on here!)

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10 kelly January 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I loved this — and your fabulous photos! Those double decker bus tours are great for orienting you to a new place aren’t they? I also think they’re great for helping with jet lag! We traveled in October with my mother and father in law and they both fell asleep on the tour in London. Scotland is on our list, and we will get there in not too much time.

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