Glasgow is full of contrasts.
Like any city, there is light and dark (usually from the fickle weather: "It's like Glasgow's bi-polar," I overheard someone say).
There is rich and there is poor - Chanel and Prada coexist with the third highest levels of child poverty in the country.
There is old and there is new; history and modernity - particularly noticeable in the mishmash of architecture: glowering sandstone facades reach up into the sky near milky-white Ionic columns; harsh lines of utilitarian buildings are countered by Art Deco and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
There is the concourse of Central Station too, which, all metal and glass, is a reminder of the city's impressive industrial heritage.
It reminds you too of Grand Central Station in New York, which Glasgow is thought to look like in parts: the grid system in the city centre and the corners of those sandstone facades. It has the steep hills reminiscent of San Francisco too, and it "doubled" as Philadelphia in the film World War Z (a few yellow taxis and different traffic lights and hey presto!)
|Look up: the architecture of Glasgow|
|Treats at Kember and Jones|
I walked back to the city centre then, to Bó Kantina for a delicious lunch of crispy chicken tacos, pillowy-soft bao with pulled pork and some kimchi slaw.
After a bit of window shopping, I stopped by Riverhill Cafe for another caffeine hit and one of their many (and reasonably-priced) cakes - fuel for the trek to the east of the city - and the necropolis.
Under once-again grey skies, a gloomy place to go perhaps (especially with a preacher in Buchanan Street beseeching the people of Glasgow "Not to go to Hell!"), but then I do like a wander around a cemetery. And anyway where better to sum up the contrasts of the city than in a place where there is no starker contrast: life (people; bees; ivy) meets death.
And in recent years the city has known more of that than it would like...
But now, as a sporty and creative hub buzzing with bands, concerts and art (the Glasgow School of Art has produced a third of Turner Prize nominees since 2005 and the city will host the competition this year) the city looks forward; it charges ahead. Glasgow chooses life...
Though which one it chooses might depend on the weather.
|At the necropolis|
|Light and dark - the contrasts of the city.|