08.10.2011 - 08.10.2011 13 °C
Had a very leisurely start this morning for one main reason, it’s raining again! Now my plan for today was to get up early and drive up into the Trossachs and do a good couple of hours worth of walking before finding my hostel on the banks of Loch Lomond and having a good rest, this plan needed to be modified because I’m really not that fond of walking that I’ll enjoy a hike in the hills soaking wet. So I changed my plan and decided to go and check out the Burrel Collection here in Glasgow and then see what the weather was like before going to the Trossachs. (The Trossachs aren’t even a forty minute drive from Glasgow and I knew I wouldn’t be able to check in late until the afternoon so I needed to find things to do to fill up my day!)
The Burrel collection is another museum in Glasgow that was all privately owned and was bequeathed to the city of Glasgow by a guy called Burrel. He was a merchant at the turn of the last century who was very wealthy and was an avid collector of anything interesting! His museum reflects his eclectic collection as he has everything from master piece paintings all the way through to oriental rugs! Its probably one of the more unusual museums that I’ve ever entered! The Burrel collection is probably most famous for the statue of the “Thinking Man”, you know the bronze statue of a guy down on his knees with his chin clasped in his hand (his arm is resting on his knee)? The statue is surprisingly small (for some reason I thought it was life sized.. its not) and although I think it’s good I’m surprised by all of the hype. I guess that sculpture just isn’t my thing!
Probably the most interesting collection I came across in the museum is his collection of beaded art work. It’s a little hard to describe but he collected tapestries that were made entirely of beads! Apparently it was a form of art during the 17th century and for me it is the most amazingly different form of art that I’ve seen. I was so amazed that I took a few shots and have decided that when I get home (and have heaps of hours to while away) I’m going to have my own crack at this once popular form of art.. Like everything it looks easy.. I’ll let you know in a couple of months!
The Burrel collection is one of those museums where everyone will find something that interests them and a heap of stuff that they will categorise as junk! And in this case I did a pretty quick tour of a lot of the rooms as they just didn’t interest me.. Porcelain from China from the Qing Dynasty just doesn’t do it for me, neither does pieces of armour from the middle ages you get my drift. So after an hour and a bit I had seen all I wanted to see and was disappointed to discover that it was still raining! I found my trusty guide book and decided to do a major detour on my way to the Trossachs and go and see the Falkirk Wheel.
The Falkirk Wheel is this huge mechanical construction that lifts channel boats up from one loch and into another! It is a pretty amazing thing to see! It is literally a mammoth wheel where you drive your boat into the bottom of the bucket then the bucket is lifted up (just like a ferris wheel) and stops at the top where the gate opens and you can drive your channel boat off and into the next loch. It is the strangest contraption I’ve seen and in the hour or so that I was there the only time the wheel moved was to move a tourist boat up from the bottom loch to the top! (I wonder how many actual channel boats use this wheel and how much it is just used by tourists wanting to be lifted up into the air in this huge wheel???) Anyway it is certainly a mechanical marvel and was worth the hour and half detour just to see how you can move boats around if you are really, really desperate..
By now it was well into the afternoon and although the rain was still coming down I continued my drive down to the Trossachs and to Loch Lomond. The hostel in Loch Lomond is on the banks of the Loch and is built inside an old manor house so for the first time I’ve slept in a really truly castle. It is complete with ballroom, conservatory and extensive grounds! I have to say that for 25 dollars a night it is probably the cheapest castle to stay in! (Although there is another castle here in Scotland as a hostel.. its closed for refurbishment at the moment so I haven’t been able to stay there but maybe next time!) So I made myself a cuppa and spent the remainder of the evening talking to some of the other hostellers about their travels. Tomorrow I’m going to spend my day walking in the Trossachs (weather permitting.. otherwise I guess I’m going for an extensive drive!)