In Maine, where I come from, wealthy families were more likely, in the 18 century, to send their sons to England, or to the Sorbonne or Heidelberg for college as to Harvard. To the present day, connections between New Englanders and Europeans run strong. Although traveling Yankees go just about anyplace these days, their tendency when planning a vacation, is to look east first. Heaven only knows how deep is the groove worn in the seabed between Boston and Dublin, just for beginners. The connections with the Episcopal church in America and Scotland date back to the 1770’s, when, at war with Britain, Scottish bishops were invited to the new country to ordain bishops in the new world. At our house, two academic years living and working at universities in Regensberg and Freiberg shaped our subsequent travel plans, as we revisited old friends many times.
We have learned not to be afraid of local accomodations when we travel.
The Blue Raddison, Glasgow
The Radisson Hotel in Glasgow, just around the corner from my hotel, is as lovely and up to date as one could ask for. It is also full of mostly other American tourists. In contrast, the Alexander Thompson Hotel, located not far from the main rail station, has a more Scottish feel to it, and a far more varied collection of guests. This is a good spot to prefer, then, if meeting a bit of real Scotland is the goal.
The Alexander Thompson Hotel
They know what to do with jet lagged travellers at the Alexander Thompson. Answering my emails promptly in advance of the trip, showing great patience with me over key issues, (think Jerry Lewis stlye bumbling) and, topping my arrival with a great breakfast after I took a much needed shower in the up to date bathroom. Everyone, both staff and other guests, has been very friendly.
Dining Room, Alexander Hotel
‘BRUCE’, a crocodile, named for Robert the Bruce, (my idea) presides over the diners
On the first floor, the dining room and lounge are very comfortable. The wallpaper, although a bit fierce to my Yankee sensibilities, fits right in with the eclectic and fun style that so matches the Glasgow spirit. A stuffed crocodile over the door (pointy snout; alligators have round ones) has no doubt fascinated plenty of kids over the years. It captivated me. I am having a blast. No Raddison would offer a crocodile.
In the evening, I had a great meal at the ‘Thai Orchid’, just two doors down. I have never been so pampered. Over hot tea on a rainy night, I enjoyed my Massaman curry with lamb and relaxed in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. It was just what I needed. Tomorrow features a 12 hour tour of the Highlands, sponsored by Rabbie’s, another local firm. Stay tuned.