I made a last minute decision to venture up to Glasgow this weekend, on the suggestion from a man on the train who was from the Isle of Arran. While I had marked the city as a possibility earlier on, I think meeting someone from the island of my interest was the odd omen I needed to buy a train ticket.
Arriving on Friday afternoon, I spent the rest of the day wandering through the city and managed to come across the best tiny overflowing bookstore, Voltaire & Rousseau, strolled through Kelvingrove Park and picked up a few yummy bits from a cafe right alongside the river. The general area near Voltaire & Rousseau had a variety of little coffee shops and restaurants with a bohemian aesthetic - likely thanks to the nearby University campus. In general, the West End of Glasgow is a great place if that's the scene you particularly enjoy.
On Saturday, I devoted the day to exploring the city and perusing the vibrant arts scene; Center for Contemporary Arts, The Modern Institute, and GoMA. All of which I highly approve, and I didn't even make it to the extensive collections at the Kelvingrove Museum. Honestly, I can only take in so much art in one day. The CCA and the Modern were easily digestible though, seeing as there was one primary exhibition. CCA was presenting the 'The Shock of Victory' which weighed the results and opinions of the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September 2014. Admittedly, I am not familiar with the history but felt compelled by the exhibition to do some research.
Inside the Modern Institute, I soaked up the one-room 'Sorry Had to Done' exhibition from Michael Wilkinson. It was the last Saturday viewing, and I had actually picked up one of the leaflets inside the Camden Arts Centre the weekend before. Enticed by the graffitied black and white photo of the title, I couldn't resist - I guess I'm a sucker for bad grammar. An exhibition that carried it's own political and social roots, I was in awe of the monolithic lego structure and loved the center floor-piece of the Bluevale high rise rubble remains. I have to also extend a special thanks to the museum assistant who pointed out McCune Smith for lunch. Five minutes up High Street, the cafe was a bright recluse from the rain and full of yummy salad/sandwhich options for omnivores and herbivores alike.
Finally, ducking out of the rain and into the GoMA - but not before snapping a photo of the statue outside clad in his traffic cone hat-, I was confronted with the perhaps the oddest and most abstract exhibitions on the first floor. Comprised of leading local contemporary artists, there were sculptures of guard dogs, a witness stand and multi-colored stacked chairs. As well as films, of children holding their breath in tunnels and a man running to catch the train.
While the arts definitely kept me entertained and out of the rain, I believe the highlight of the city is the architecture and mood. Glasgow gets a reputation for being 'rough' but as I found it, not so. Of course, I stayed away from dodgy areas and wasn't out very late. As a girl whose wandered alone in London though, Glasgow felt about the same. However, less people which was probably the best thing about the city. I forgot what it's like to be alone on a street, let alone one with gorgeous architecture and town homes. To be lost in the streets of Glasgow was honestly the best part of the entire weekend.
On Sunday, though, I chose to get out of the city and trekked the two-hour commute to the Isle of Arran. Situated right off the coast from Ardrossan, you can hop on a train at Glasgow Central and arrive at the harbor in 45 minutes. From there, you easily walk out of the station and onto a ferry which drops you off at Brodick in an hour. The isle isn't very large, but very mountainous so a car is ideal. Since I didn't have that luxury, I went for a bike instead and managed a two-hour loop past the Brodick Castle and to Corrie. The route is fairly flat, unlike the opposite direction to Lamlash or the middle road, the String. October made for a chilly day, but I can imagine the island is an ideal low key summer getaway for those who want to enjoy life outdoors and away from the rush, with small cottages dispersed among golf courses and nature trails.
Oh, and duh. I almost forgot to mention the whole reason behind the title. I treated myself to a movie at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Saturday night - my first time in a theater ever in Europe. Nestled in with red wine and dark chocolate, I opted to see The Lobster. Directed by indie-notable Yogos Lathimos, it's an odd story of a world where if you're single then you end up in a hotel with a month to find a mate or get turned into an animal. If you enjoy unconventional love stories and twisted humor, this one is for you. I still can't get over the scene, "Are you short sighted?!" and the ending had me squirming in my seat. The animal to be though is apparently a lobster, unlike the common choice of a dog (you may end up the victim of a psycho lover).
In a real review sense though, I thought the film was really well done. I'm not a huge film buff but I felt intrigued the entire time, the pace was consistent as was the general tone. Even in a generally bleak plot outline, there were several moments of subtle awkward humor that were even more profound because you needed the laugh. Not only was the film entertaining but it rose several questions on the roles of men and women, and relationships.
This was really hammered in hard as I had been asked just the day before what it's like traveling alone. And I have been asked this question numerous times. Are people that afraid of being alone? Yes, it can be a much more quiet experience than if you're with a group or even just one other person. And it definitely does feel astoundingly lonely to eat alone. But I think time with your own thoughts is good for the soul, and the months I have spent traveling alone have definitely had a huge influence on me. You really get to know yourself when all you have is yourself.
The movie also took on another dimension on my walk home, when two missionaries approached me and struck up a conversation. I gave them my attention long enough for the 'gay rights' topic to emerge, to which they answered their belief is that God put us here to procreate. A family as defined by the Christian religion: man, woman, children. In the movie, Lathimos included at the beginning, in the interview, that people admitted to the hotel had the option to chose their orientation as heterosexual or homosexual. Who knows whether it was covering any chance of criticism or if it was another jab at social structures.