Rachel’s advice to me when I was looking for an Airbnb in Glasgow was to look in the West End. “Its the kind of hipster area,” she told me, knowing quite well that I love that kind of setting- the little cafés and coffeeshops, the boutiques and bars, and the quaint look of them all jumbled together.
Which is why I was beyond excited that Rachel first led us directly to a little ruelle called Ashton Lane. Ashton Lane is a cobble-stoned backstreet tucked behind the shops on the main road. You enter through an alley way decorated with two homeless beggars holding out cups for those who pass buy to toss in a couple coins. Its not a street that you’d look down and say, “that looks nice, let’s take a walk down to the end of this alley.” But, sure enough, hiding at the end and around the corner is a small block of restaurants and bars connected on each side by rows twinkling faery lights guiding the path from one end to the other. The bars on the left all have hidden beer gardens in the back: full of flowers and plants and lights and tables that create the most magical atmosphere. On the left there is a classic old cinema sign, lit up and beckoning you into the theatre. There are also more bars, with small outdoor terraces, but you take a peak inside and the building seems to stretch back for miles. It really is quite a magical place.
Glasgow is not a tourist city. There are a lot of colleges and plenty of things to do, but if you are the type who likes to see monuments and do historical tours, its not the place. And to be honest, I think thats why I found it so charming. It was also nice to see Nick and Rachel, have the gang back together, and also meet new friends along the way. Rachel showed us her school, took us down the city center shopping street. It was really only a little taste of Glasgow, but it was worth the quick trip.