1 June 2017

Does Glasgow Deserve its Reputation as the Friendliest City?

This is a bit of an unusual blog post from me. it's less along the lines of tips and travel ideas and more of a story of how I feel in love with a city a little bit more thanks to it’s sweet citizens.
Scotland has a bit of a mixed reputation.  On the one hand people often see Scotland’s residents as aggressive and abrasive, but on the other hand they have a reputation of being incredibly friendly, and none more so than Glasgow who have even adopted People Make Glasgow as their motto.  So which is correct?
Despite Glasgow's outdated reputation as an unsavoury city, as a female solo traveler I can honestly say I never once felt threatened or uncomfortable.  Even when taking the subway after dark or walking back to my AirBNB late at night away from the busier tourist areas, I felt completely at ease.  There were a few small indications of the city’s friendly-ness early on in the trip.  On the train up from London the Glaswegian working in the cafe gave me a free coffee for my patience when he was dealing with some card machine issues, and everywhere I went people would say hi or smile as you passed in the street.  So far so good, but nothing that is so different then when you head anywhere outside of London.  That is until I went for dinner.
On my first day in the city I had arrived just after midday on an unseasonably sunny day in early April.  I had walked my feet off so when I checked into me AirBNB (use my code to get £30 off your first stay over £55) I struggled to get myself going to get back out again for dinner.  Eventually and much later than planned I freshened up and convinced my aching body to head back into town towards Paesano Pizza.  I arrived I sat at my table for one, happy to indulge in my solo pizza experience and ignore the world.  Then five minutes later a party of six were seated next to me, two middle aged couples and their son and his partner.  Next thing I know they are chatting to me, sitting at my table and asking me a ton of questions about where I’m from, what I’m doing in Glasgow and singing my praises for traveling solo just to explore.  I was taken aback, this just would never happen down south!  They said they’d leave me to eat but not before pulling my table up to theirs so I could eat with them.  They even insisted I ate some of the sides they’d ordered to try (and oh my god I’m glad they did, they were delish!).  I honestly had such a laugh and they were such lovely, friendly people.  They even gave me tips on how to save money on my second day and where I must visit in my limited time there.
I finished my meal and they offered to put me in a taxi but I insisted I was fine to go alone and got back on the subway.  I was buzzing from this interaction, it just wouldn’t happen anywhere else!  The next morning I was leaving my Airbnb guess what?  There they were!  It turns out they lived nearby so I had another chat with them and they said they’d have made me share a taxi with them if they knew how close by I’d be.
So there you have it.  It might not be a crazy, ground-breaking travel story but just a nice, friendly interaction that’s stayed with me.  Isn’t this what Glasgow means when it prides itself on it’s friendly status?
Do you have any similar stories from your travels?
*Contains affiliate links for AirBNB that I am using because they are a genuinely great company.

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