“It Feels Like I’m in a Castle”: My First Day in Glasgow

The University Tower and the Main Building.

Dearest Readers,

After a delayed flight and a night of no sleep, I finally stepped back onto the land of the kilt and home of the haggis.

My mom and I arrived in Glasgow this morning a bit after 8 local time. We made our sleepy way through customs, grabbed a taxi, and went to our hotel on the river.

Somehow, we managed not to claim the bed for the rest of the day, instead choosing to shower and get some stuff done while we had the chance.

So we set off, acquiring Glasgow Subway Smartcards and making our way to campus.

Now, Glasgow’s campus doesn’t look very big on a map, but I knew it would be deceiving. I was right. One building, the Main Building with the University Tower, is almost half the size of the campus I’m coming from in Maryland. It’s only about a quarter of the size of Glasgow’s campus.

So my old campus, including all the residences, is less than half the size of just the academic buildings here. It’ll definitely take more time to learn to navigate.

I would have loved to wander around, but we did have things to do, so we got my BRP card, set up an appointment at the bank, and got me a UK phone. Then we grabbed some food and did the only logical thing after being awake over 30 hours.

We went to sleep.

I didn’t let today be a complete lack of exploration. We wandered around the Main Building, checking out the Cloisters and the Gift Shop, taking pictures to share with some friends and family that are curious. We also walked through half of campus.

It’s an atemporal glory. Old buildings, like the Main Building, with their giant stones and rustic hues and intricate architecture and decoration are absolute wonders of human imagination and skill. Just looking at them made me want to go to the library or to class and become part of the history of Glasgow that’s longer than the history of the country I come from.

(Note added 6 Sept 2016: Candia, a lovely commenter, pointed out that the Main Building isn’t actually that old, which is true. It was inaugurated in 1870 and still had additions after that. However, my sense of “old” is a bit skewed. In my town, my house is considered old, and it was built around 1906, and my undergraduate school was just started right before the Main Building’s inauguration, and those original buildings don’t still exist.)

And beside these buildings, there’s a lot of condensation gathering on and light flickering off modern heavily windowed buildings and more modest modern fare, part of what has accumulated through the years.

I feel like I’m stepping into the world of Sherlock, or of Doctor Who, somewhere where time is less permanent and memories last for centuries in the stone and the intricate metal gates.

“It feels like I’m in a castle,” I said as I stepped into one of the Main Building’s courtyards. I found myself standing a little taller, focusing more on my surroundings.

Would’ve loved to have a sword or a dagger on my hip walking around there for the feel of being a warrior of old, but I think that would be frowned up.

Luckily for me, I will have a lot of time to marvel in the wonders of this old establishment.

For now, I leave you with these images of the Main Building. Doesn’t it make you want to try to rule the world?

The front of the building.
A sculpture in one of the courtyards within the building.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,



14 thoughts on ““It Feels Like I’m in a Castle”: My First Day in Glasgow

  1. Tia Rosenbaum

    This is wonderful! Outlander fan! Been to Scotland twice already but need to see way more of it! I enjoy any haunted Walks if you get a chance or like those I would so enjoy your stories! If not I want to join your blog!


    1. I love haunted walks! I’ve been on a couple, one in Edinburgh and one in Stirling. They were fantastic, and hilarious. I will certainly add it to the list of things I need to do in Glasgow.


    1. I love to hear an alumna say good things about their alma mater! It makes my heart warm, and makes me excited to be here.

      You’re right, the building isn’t too old, but it’s almost older than my entire undergraduate university, and coming from somewhere where an “old” building is often about 1900 and none of the architecture is that fancy, it certainly makes me think “castle!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Betsy Rehm

    Hi Dani,
    I’m a retired librarian and teacher, someone who loves language, and although mostly Irish in heritage, I have very, very fond memories of my wonderful Scots Aunt Kitty (Catherine Stewart) from Oban, who taught this concrete playground child to make elderberry jelly, pick wild strawberries on the hillside, and to not be afraid of garter snakes.

    I will look forward to your posts! I hope your University experience is all you want it to be.


    1. Hi Betsy,
      Your aunt sounds lovely, thank you for sharing! And thanks for reading. =)
      Side question: Any book recommendations? You’ve been around a lot of them, so any of your favorites have to be good.


      1. Betsy Rehm

        Well…favorite books. There is not enough paper in the world….I have recent 2 favorites.”Tribe” by Sebastian Junger: It’s only 136 pages but it covers a lot of ground, basically about how we connect and need to connect with others. The second is “Bringing up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman. An American married to a Frenchman explores how the French become who they are, starting with the crèche experience (daycare for preschoolers), and learns how the French live day to day. It’s about culture. It will be fun to hear what you learn about the Scots as your year progresses.
        For fiction, I’m finishing a Hugo Marston mystery by Mark Pryor called “The Paris Librarian”. It’s the 6th in a series, but they’re stand-alones. And I am ready to start “An Echo in the Bone”.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rychane Marsac

    Fellow Outlander fan here. Saw your Facebook post and would love to follow your blog. I signed up for updates. Can’t wait to read about your journey! Best of luck in your studies!


  4. Marifrances

    I think this is wonderful, I signed up, and anxiously await you blog. You have a way with words. thank you for sharing. My daughter has talked about studying abroad too, so very interested in your adventures.


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