Good evening and happy spring to you all! I’m really excited to introduce today’s city slicker: Mimmi is a Swedish twenty-year-old studying English Literature in Glasgow. A book worm, tea lover, chocolate addict, feminist and country bumpkin, she blogs over at Muted Mornings about her everyday life, with occasional posts about books, fashion and food. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram. Without further ado…
Q: What brought you to your city?
I moved to Glasgow last September to study English Literature at the University of Glasgow. I really wanted to go abroad to study and had wanted to try living in the UK for quite a while. I chose Scotland partly because I really love the country, partly because university is free here. Glasgow wasn’t actually my first choice, but when Edinburgh didn’t accept me, I decided to go to here instead. In hindsight, I’m incredibly happy I ended up in this city. It’s a vibrant, lively city with so much to do, without being too big or exhausting.
Q: What’s the best season to visit your city, and why?
I’ve yet to experience late spring and summer in Glasgow, so I’m not entirely sure. September and October last year were lovely though. The weather was mild and surprisingly sunny and the city looked especially pretty shrouded in the colours of autumn. However, I’m certain spring and summer will be equally lovely, if not even better.
Q: What’s your top recommendation for the hungry traveller?
Definitely Cottonrake Bakery. It’s a wee bakery on Great Western Road in the West End. It opened in 2010, but it’s already really popular, and it’s easy to understand why. Everything they make is really delicious (trust me – I’ve sampled the majority of their things). The staff are always friendly and it’s the perfect place to sit and people watch. It’s very small and it can sometimes be difficult to get a seat, but it’s worth it.
If you want a more satisfying meal, I would recommend The Hillhead Bookclub. This wonderful restaurant/pub is also located in the West End. It’s quite hipster, in a very good way. The venue itself is really cool as well. They have a good selection of cocktails. It used to be an old cinema, and the interior is a quirky mix of old and new, which makes for a really relaxed and cosy atmosphere.
Q: Where do you like to go to feel inspired?
Either the Botanic Gardens or the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, both in the West End. The Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to wander around with your thoughts, and there are plenty of benches to sit and relax on. It’s really such a beautiful and calming place. The two greenhouses are wonderful, but I actually prefer the outside garden. There are winding paths, a wide variety of trees, plants and flowers, and the atmosphere is just really calming and inspiring. The Kelvingrove park nearby is also a lovely space.
Q: Tell us about a place a visitor shouldn’t miss.
This is a tricky one. Perhaps the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, as it’s really one of a kind. Honestly though, the best way to experience the city is to just wander around and soak in the atmosphere. The Art Gallery is really quirky and random, but great. When walking around, you never know what to expect, as there’s everything from stuffed animals, ancient skeletons and old armour to French Impressionism and modern art. It’s wonderful. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the building itself is a stunner.
Q: What does your city sound like?
Apart from the usual city sounds, there is a mix of friendly Glaswegian patter, bagpipes (if you’re in the City Centre, you’ll no doubt hear bagpipes at some point), birdsong and the wind blowing.
Q: How would you spend an ideal day in Glasgow?
I’d spent it with my Glasgow girls, of course. We would start by wandering around the West End, perhaps exploring a few vintage shops and strolling around the Botanics. We would then eat lunch (a delicious sandwich followed by a cheeky baked good, most likely) at Cottonrake, before heading into the City Centre. Alternatively, we’d head into the City Centre first and have lunch at the Willow Tea Rooms, which were designed by the Glaswegian designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. After, we would wander around, perhaps popping into some shops (because who doesn’t like a spot of shopping?) and probably spend hours in Paperchase and Waterstones. After a few hours, hunger would no doubt have set in. For dinner, we would either go to Zizzi’s in the Princes Square shopping centre, or head back to the West End and find somewhere in the cosy Ashton Lane with its fairy light ceiling. The third option (really, there are too many nice places!), would be The Hillhead Bookclub, where I would definitely opt for a nice veggie burger. The rest of the evening would be spent with a couple of cocktails, either in the Hillhead Bookclub or in another pub/bar in the West End.
Q: What makes your city unique?
The fact that it has got so much personality while at the same time being really versatile. There is the West End, which is calm, green and a bit edgy and hipster. Then you have the bustling City Centre, which is a wonderful mix of the old and new, with plenty of things to do. I spend most of my time in the West End, sometimes going into the City Centre, so I’m no doubt a bit biased, and these are only two areas of Glasgow. The city is such a wonderful mix of places and people – there’s definitely something for everyone. Plus, the people are generally super friendly.
Q: Describe Glasgow in three words.
Fun, friendly and lively.
Thank you, Mimmi! Anyone else craving a sugary pastry and a stroll around the Botanic Gardens in the sun right now? Have you been to Glasgow? What would you recommend? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And if you fancy becoming a city slicker yourself, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Thanks again for sharing your city with us, Mimmi!