This Thursday past, my journey brought me to the city of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. Buzzing with fast-paced life, Glasgow has to be one of the most underrated cities in Europe. It doesn’t share the same noble past or historic attraction as its neighbor, Edinburgh, but brings the rehabilitated energy of a place that was once dark and careworn but has turned around to offer bright new adventures.
Traces of Glasgow’s past can still be found among the modern museums and shops, in places like the Willow Tea Rooms, meticulously designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, and still open for the business of college students who wander off the streets for tea and scones.
It seems impossible to arrive in a city without visiting its cathedral. After spending our morning meandering through museums of modern art and architecture, we found ourselves at the Glasgow Cathedral, a haunting Gothic masterpiece in the shadow of the necropolis, the Victorian cemetery on the hill. We spent a good hour in the cathedral and necropolis, intrigued by the dark peace that veiled them. When I say dark I do not mean evil, but rather the mysterious beauty of the unknown that both locations encompassed. The kind of dark that can exist with light.
I had almost forgotten that I had originally intended to study in Glasgow my sophomore year of college; I had been accepted and everything, and then withdrew my commitment for a handful of reasons that are no longer relevant. It was compelling to walk Glasgow’s streets and wonder how my life in that city might have been, or what I would be doing this summer in lieu of Stirling. I cannot know the answer to either question, and as neither is reality it is of little significance.
There is great wisdom in not being able to know everything, and I am appreciating more and more how I can’t. And while my travels in Scotland may have taken a different direction, I am thankful that I am here now, and that this is the trip that has chosen me.