Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Flying Visit to Scotland

This whole adventure has been about saying "yes " to new experiences so when they offered us the opportunity to take part in the final dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony of course I said " yes , even though it meant but a few hours sleep as I needed to be in Wigan the next day. Not much time for sightseeing then...

Just 3 hours to be precise and I tried to use them wisely, honest I did!

Bag dumped and off to explore - destination People's Palace.   I zig zagged through the city in the glorious sunshine and noticed how much busier it is now everyone has started arriving. George Square was chocca though sadly Wellington is now missing his hat.

Some sections of the city have been closed off due to the games and that includes the park around the People's Palace.  I was struggling to find my way until I bumped into 3 very helpful gents who accompanied me right to the door. All those involved with the games have been given large accreditation passes which serve 2 main purposes.  Firstly they get you in to the venues you need to access and secondly,  and perhaps more importantly,  they are an open invitation to chat and meet some of the massive array of people involved in putting the games together.  I didn't get all their names but Stuart was the one whose ear I bent the most - he may be hiding his accreditation in future.  He told me about the history of the areas we passed and pointed out an excellent bar I'd be needing later. (He also pointed out The Barras - home of designer labels apparently...)

Sadly I'd dawdled and nattered so much that the People's Palace was closed - though I did sneak into the hot house at the back for a look around.   Now here I was with 1 hour 15 mins on my hands before I needed to head off for the big meet up at Central Station.  Pondering how best to spend my time my eyes fell upon the bar Stuart had recommended earlier - after he'd taken the trouble to point it out the very least I could do was explore it further. It was the West Brewery and he was absolutely correct - lovely food and beer and the perfect place to top up on my carbs and fluids for the night ahead.

On my way back to town I passed an excellent park with a path designed to look like a shelf of album covers listing all the bands who've played at the nearby Barralands venue.  The kids were playing games jumping from colour to colour while the adults were trying to outcool each other with claims of how many bands they'd heard of/ listened to/ knew before they were famous.

The evening was spent at the dress rehearsal about which my lips are tightly sealed, but here are just a few of the things I learned:

*  It's a long walk from Dalmarnock station to the East entrance of Celtic Park.
*  Athletes taking part in the opening ceremony spend a lot of time queuing.
*  Jersey and Guernsey enter separate teams and there's a pretty fierce rivalry between them.
*  There are way more countries in the Commonwealth than you think there are.
*  There is an excellent shuttle bus service back to the centre of Glasgow.
*  Most of the fast food places will still be open, though a surprising number of pubs may be closed if last night is anything to go by.
*  Everything sounds louder at night - especially dropped phones in hotel rooms  - and stage whispering "sorry" to your neighbours probably doesn't help.


So that's it now - home for a couple of nights before returning on Thursday and starting wall to wall rehearsals.  All I need now is a coffee and a bacon sarnie to get me through the day and I'll be just fine.

Part 1 - And now for something completely different
Part 2 - Jobs for all
Part 3 - Why does it matter?
Part 5 - What happens in rehearsal...
Part 6 - If I should become a stranger

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