Sunday, June 08, 2008

July 9 2007 - Glasgow

Ok... our last day in Scotland...

Initial plan:
We were told that Glasgow is boring, has nothing to do, not worth spending time in.. and I had wanted to see Hadrian's Wall with my own eyes.. so the plan was to wake up at 7.00am, take the free breakfast provided by the hostel, and move out..

Hadrian's Wall is on the borders between England and Scotland, and halfway between Glasgow and Liverpool. It was built by the Romans to block of raids from barbarians tribes from ancient Scotland.. although not as long, but u can say the wall's function is similar to the Great Wall of China to block of barbarians from the north..

Revised plan:
Everyone was ultra tired from 3 days of travelling, and to be honest, out of the 15, only 1 (that's me) knows what Hadrian's Wall is.. ah well... I'm not sure as well, what we'll get there if I insisted on going, and all of us are tired of castles and palaces and walls.. so...

Wake up as u please, as long as it's before 10.00am, because that's the time for checking out.. Wander around Glasgow, and leave for Liverpool by 1.00pm..

Ok, now let's give u some photos of the Bluesky Hostel that we stayed in..

10-bed dorm

A view outside

Artistic door for a room

Nice art on the wall

Nice art and posters along the staircase

The reception counter

Breakfast room

Not all hostels provide free breakfast, but this Bluesky Hostel does. Well, it's basically eat-all-u-can.. Breakfast starts at 8.00am till 10.00am, when the hostel's staff will open the food cabinet and supply us with food. They have bread with butter and jam, cereals, as well as coffee and tea. There's also a toaster for u to toast your bread.

They will take those food out, and leave them on the tables, and all the hostel residents will get on with business.. when the food is finished, simply tell the staff, and they will take out more food from the cabinet..

Most of us slept till 9.00, but... me, Cath and Chiew Yen woke up early.. we were basically waiting at the breakfast room by 7.45, and the staff, amused at our antics, broke the rules once and brought out the food early for us.. and we ate all the way till 9.30 :D

10.00am is the check out time for residents, daily.. so before we went wandering around, we have to stuff our backpacks and luggage into the car..

My carmates (Bing, Chiew Yen, Nick, Brain and me)

Second car (Ah Boon, Michael, Ah Lai, Keen and Cannas)

Third car (Wing Ling, Denil, Puki, Cath and Jason)

Glasgow was never part of my plans at all, so naturally, I did not know what to do, or where to go.. and usually, when we don't know what to do, there's only 1 thing left to do: head to the High Street, and... shopping!! =)

Group photo at the streets

Glasgow is really what this garbage bin claims to be

This is the beginning of High Street

Nice T-Shirt in Primark

Primark is a HUGE department store with MANY stores in the UK, selling CHEAP ULTRA CHEAP and BEAUTIFUL stuff..

Liverpool's store was not open during our time there, but I think it's open now, they were renovating back then, and it said: Opening September 2007

Relaxing at the High Street

There's lots of shops and stores to indulge into.. the usual brands u can get in the UK.. Topman/Topshop, Zara, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, JJB etc..

But me and Bing wandered off to this shop selling quite interesting trinkets..

RED5

Recognize this xenomorph?

Nice

Nice also

Another group photo at High Street

Some of them wanted to make their last day in Scotland memorable, and decided to go to a chinese buffet restaurant for lunch.. some of us decided to save money, and since there's still alot of bread left in our cars, we decided to just finish them up..

Our food and beverage manager! =)

Glasgow to Liverpool is as far as Liverpool to Edinburgh, and Liverpool to Edinburgh took us about 3.5hrs.. The time for us to return our cars was 5.30pm, so I thought, as long as we leave before 2.00pm, we should be fine..

Those boys that went for buffet made it back exactly at 1.00pm, and after mingling around awhile, we began our journey back 'home', hoping to make it back earlier and drop off our stuff at the Marybone before returning the cars..

This signboard means, we are near

However, things took a nasty twist.. As we get nearer to Liverpool, traffic suddenly got bad.. lots of cars, and we had to drive slowly.. We only exited the motorway at the Liverpool junction at roughly 4.30pm, and it was still quite far from Liverpool city.. and then.. we got stuck in traffic jams that can rival KL's...

The journey was nervous.. I was nervous... friggin nervous.. because the car rental terms stated: if u are late, we will charge u the rate of 1 extra day...

The plan was to drop off our stuff at Marybone 1st, but that remains just that, a plan.. we were lucky to be able to make it straight to the car rental site just as the clock stroke 5.30...

The drivers returning the cars at the counter

And we were left to ponder how to carry all these stuff back to the Marybone (20 minutes walk)

We were actually quite nervous about another thing. We scratched the bottom of our car on our way to Skye, and we were afraid that the staff would be able to notice it. Thank god they didn't, otherwise we might have to pay some damage fees ~_~"

But overall, I think this is a fun fun trip =)

Took lots of photos, tried everything that we are supposed to (scenery, Haggis, whisky), have lots of fun with friends.. what more could u ask for?

It was also the 1st time I organised a trip.. I did a good job.. I think... hmm...

Oh ya, I just remembered another advice, well it's not exactly Scotland advice, it's more of a general advice.. so I'm not gonna bold it..

TARCians going on a summer programme would be advised to open your bank account with HSBC. Your uni would give u a recommendation letter to open the account with HSBC. I opened my account at the HSBC too.. as well as alot of us..

That's bullshit. U open your account with HSBC, and u get a bank card, which is actually an ATM card, just for u to withdraw money at the kiosks.. u can't use that card to make online bookings and payments, and trust me, if u can't do those things, u are in for alot of troublesome issues later on..

If u ask me now, screw HSBC, go for Natwest. If u open ur account with Natwest, u will be give a Solo Card, which is a debit card, and u CAN use this card for online bookings and payments.

Jason and housemates were smart enough to go Natwest, otherwise, I really don't know how we are gonna book our hostels and cars..

And if u plan to go backpacking in Europe, then the Solo Card is really your best friend because it allows u to withdraw money at alot of banks across Europe, while the bank card will be crap..

Of course, if u are a rich kid, with a credit card, then.. ignore my advice please..

Scotland trip ended.. How Chen was away with Peggy and the rest of the Euro backpacking members to Wales, expected to come back on the same day as us, but later.. so we got Chiew Yen as his replacement for dinner..

Family photo

And we also got news that.. Peggy's mom passed away... so in a way, we did not get too excited with displaying our fun in Scotland..

My verdict: MAKE SCOTLAND YOUR 1ST PRIORITY WHEN U PLAN FOR TRIPS

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