One shirt and one sweater underneath my coat, and I still shivered. It was 3 AM in Carlisle, a city in UK where bus passengers who wanted to continue the trip to Glasgow had to transit. Thank God I wasn’t alone. There were 3 women with their kids who also waited for the next bus. They shivered too. So it’s not because I’m such a tropical baby.
It was my first time visiting UK so of course, Scotland was on the list. But with only 3 days to spend, I had to forget the idea to see Loch Ness, a place where nessy legend was born. As a cryptozoology enthusiast, it was quite a bummer. Nevertheless, the excitement to visit Glasgow and Edinburgh wiped that frown off my face. The bus to Glasgow came sooner than I thought. I hopped on the bus and slept until it arrived at Buchanan Bus Station at 5 AM.
I asked my friend to pick me up. On the way to her apartment, she told me a little bit of this and that about Glasgow and Scotland. Like the origin of the name Scotland, “skotos” which means “darkness”, or that Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn! Isn’t that fun?!
To me, Glasgow was like a slow burn. At first, I saw it as just cold and gloomy. But the next day, i realized there’s something beautiful about the gloomy atmosphere in this city – the light brown bricks they used for their buildings and the cloudy sky are enticing.
If you’re an arts enthusiast, it’s not hard to find places where you can feed your artsy fartsy side in Glasgow. But during my trip, I only visited 3 places; Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow School of Art and Lighthouse.
There’s a franchise in UK where you can find cute things for your house called Tiger. Gosh, if only I didn’t have maximum checked baggage weight (and more money to spend, haha) I would’ve bought so many things. Another nice spot to chill in Glasgow was near River Clyde where people can sit on the green grass where sometimes seagull will join you. My friend said that seagulls here are like stray cats in Jakarta, they will come to you just to check whether you have food to share or not.
I visited Edinburgh on the second day. Edinburgh was so different from Glasgow, more people and vibrant. Edinburgh is famous with its festivals. We visited Edinburgh Castle, then my friend took me to get around the city.
Our next destination was Mary’s Milk Bar! Yeay! Finally! Located i Grassmarket area, this small place offers more than just delicious gelato. They also have floats and chocolate bars, but the star of this place is course the ice cream. The price for one scoop was £2, £3 for 2 scoops, and £4 for three. I chose salted caramel, raspberry, and dark chocolate. OMG they’re absolutely amazing! With the perfect level of sweetness and texture, they melted in my mouth in a very delightful way.
I like the vintage decoration too, it plays old music and is filled with vintage furniture and has a 60-year- old milkshake machine that’s still in perfect working order. The owner, Mary Hillard, who was there too during our visit, also looked like a girl that came out from a vintage photo. I hated myself not to take picture or having a conversation with her. I googled her and found out that she’s a trained chocolatier and an ex-student of Gelato University in Anzola dell’Emilia, near Bologna, Italy. Gelato University! Didn’t know that they have a university to master the art of gelato making!
We went to Elephant House, the restaurant where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter books. Like Edinburgh Castle, we didn’t get in, just took photos in front of it *insert innocent grinhere*.
We also visited Greyfriars Kirkyard by accident. I was attracted by a statue of Greyfriar Bobby, a dog who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. Near the statue, there was a cemetery and a church. There I found out a flyer, saying that it’s one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world and they even have a regular tour to show visitors famous spots where poltergeist activities often take place around the graveyard. I told myfriend that Indonesia has potential market for this kind of tour since we’re superstitious and have so many places that are believed to be haunted. We just need a better marketing strategy, hehe. We didn’t stay long because it’s 10 PM already and the summer sky has started to turn dark, so yeah, it was creepy. Haha.
We then went to some restaurant before taking the bus that took us back to Glasgow. And that’s the end of our journey. The next day I flew back to London, hoping someday I can go back to explore Highlands and Aberdeen.
*Text and photos by: Hertiana Dwi Putri
Mary’s Milk Bar photos via edinburgheditor.com
Hertiana Dwi Putri is an arts programme officer and freelance writer based in Jakarta, interested in design, alien, cryptozoology, and mythology. In love with music, good books, good movies, watermelon, coffee, sunset, and paperfolding. Sometimes she involves in a project that needs her average design skill and gets paid for it. Check out her blog, Sticky Bun Book to read her thoughts about random things and posts related to book and desi