I would like to start by saying – Glasgow, I could not be prouder!!
Out of everybody that I’ve spoken to on the topic, we had no idea how much the Commonwealth Games was going to affect the city. We weren’t expecting the ridiculous underground queues to be quite so big (use the shuttle buses people), so many people to be milling about in the city but most of all we never expected to feel so much pride. There was a point during the opening ceremony that I was scared that we could pull it off after a massive dose of clichés on my telly. Alas, I needn’t have worried. After all, People Make Glasgow.
I went to two games sessions – athletics and diving – and enjoyed them both even although I’m not particularly sporty. Contrary to what I had heard we found it relatively easy to get to Hampden. The shuttle bus queue was cleared in ten minutes and it was a fast journey. The athletics was action packed with up to 4 events going on at the same time. We had excellent seats in front of the high jump, discus throw and hammer throw. We were also treated to watching the long jump, 100m, 400m and 1500m.
We got a train to Edinburgh to watch the mens 1m and womens synchronised 10m diving. Wow, it was crazy hot in there and we ended up eating ice-cream even although it was raining outside. The diving was fascinating to watch, especially the synchronised dives. Such skill.
I spent much of the two weeks working but, any time that I wasn’t in work, I was off exploring the pop-ups and events that were around the city. My highlight was definitely the Merchant City Festival. They host it every year but this year was bigger and better than I have ever seen. Every road was crammed with stalls & food places and there were a couple of stages with live music. Notably, the Brunswick Hotel/Brutti Ma Buoni had a big stage, a BBQ style grill and bar stalls that we spent a couple of nights at. If they do all of this again next year then I think I should ask for that week off and take advantage. The weather behaved too so it felt like we were in a different city!
Pop-up restaurant The Fish Plaice on Trongate went down a storm. This unique place fused Scotland’s freshest catch with live DJ sets under fairy lights. We tried to go a second time but the waiting list was massive – surely a sign that they should become a permanent fixture?! Turn the music down a bit and build a toilet block and you’re ready to go.
Glasgow Green also had transformed into the Live Zone, which had big screens showing that days events, a stage with dancers & musicians and a host of activities. I was not brave enough to try to outrun Usain Bolt in front of an audience but I did enjoy watching others. It was lovely to spot the Three Sisters Bake van but I felt that we needed more local stalls to fully utilise the games for local benefit.
George Square had the official Commonwealth Games shop and The Big G 3D installation to mark the event. Then Buchanan Street & Argyle Street were full of street performers – from jazz bands to juggling with knives. Certainly made my usual walks more interesting.
There was also the Clyde Trail where you could download a map to find the twenty-something Clyde mascots around the city. I haven’t spoken to anyone who managed them all but Glasgow Food Geek got pretty close.
The city got a bit of a clean up before all of our visitors and I think the new artwork is great.
C’mon Scotland! Loved the Wellington Statue getting into the spirit of things.
What a two weeks… with Caledonia now on my phone and a refreshed love for Glasgow I wish we could do it all again.
Finally, I wanted to share some more of my photos so have a gander-