A visitors veiw of Glasgow hotels.

May 6, 2014

Over the past 6 years myself and my wife have visited Glasgow many times as our son was at university there. We stayed in most of the major hotels in that city and surrounding area. Here are my thoughts on these hotels.

Premier Travel Inn George Square Times visited 10

This is one of the best Travel inns I have stayed in and we stayed there many times. The rooms were always large clean and quiet. The bar area is small but quite a nice area to sit and relax, the buffet breakfast was to a good standard. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of George square,Buchannnan and Sauchiehall streets. There are many good restaurants and bars also within walking distance. There is an NCP car park across from the hotel and the hotel give a 10% discount on the cost of parking there.

Premier Travel Inn Charing Cross. Times visited 01

We only stayed there once as the George Sq. Travel inn was full. It is right next to the M8 but we did not notice any noise from the motorway. The room was clean and tidy but noticeably smaller than other travel inns. The breakfast was good.

Premier Travel Inn Bearsden Times visited 01

We only stayed here once. It’s a nice location with plenty car parking at the back of the hotel. A good pub/restaurant attached to the hotel where we had a very good dinner. Breakfast was also served here the next morning. It’s a quiet location and the rooms were of a good size clean and tidy. It’s a long way from the centre of Glasgow but would be great to use to explore places like the Trossachs.

Travel Lodge Paisley Times visited 03

This is the least favourite of the hotels we stayed at. The rooms and the hotel was a bit run down when we stayed there. Also on the Saturday night we were woken up by a drunk from a wedding party staying there trying to get into the room next door. When we last stayed there three years ago there was no facility for breakfast, though the hotel did provide snack boxes for breakfast. There is plenty of car parking space at the front of the hotel. There were a couple of decent restaurants across the road from the hotel.

Hilton Glasgow Central. Times visited 05

This was our favourite and we stayed there quite a few times. Easily accessed from junction 16 of the M8. You just drive round the front of the hotel and down into the large two level car park beneath the hotel. A short elevator ride brings you to the very impressive reception area. The rooms were of reasonable size and always clean and tidy. However the bathrooms all looked a bit dated. Very impressive views of the M8 and the city from the rooms. The bar area and breakfast area were all refurbished but in my opinion did not improve the atmosphere in these places. This hotel is a tower block there are only 4 elevators so in the morning when you want to leave this can be a problem. There was an excellent fitness centre and swimming pool in the basement of the hotel.

Hilton Grosvenor Times visited 02

This is a very nicely appointed hotel with a particularly nice bar. The rooms were of a good size and had a luxurious feel to them. The breakfast buffet was very good. There is an NCP car park across the road from the reception. The hotel is located within walking distance of some of Glasgow’s best restaurants and bars in Byers road.

Hilton Strathclyde. Times visited 01

This hotel is located on the outskirts of Bellshill about 15 miles from the centre of Glasgow. The hotel its self is quite good with nice sized quiet rooms. The food in the restaurant was quite good, we had dinner there one night. There was ample car parking outside. The pool and fitness centre were very good. The big disadvantage with this hotel is the distance to Glasgow.

Menzies Hotel Times visited 01

The rooms at this hotel were fine. The food in the restaurant and breakfast buffet in the morning was good. The swimming pool and fitness centre were very good.There is also quite a nice bar. Car parking was across the street from the hotel. It’s conveniently located in the centre of Glasgow but a taxi is required to go to the various restaurants.

Crown Plaza Hotel Times visited 01

This hotel is located next to the SEC so convenient for events there. We thought the room was a little small but this was compensated for by great views over Glasgow and the Clyde.It had a nice bar and the breakfast buffet in the morning was fine. Taxis once again required to go to the various restaurants and night life in Glasgow.

Marriot Hotel Times visited 02

The rooms at this hotel were quite good. The breakfast buffet in the morning was good. There is also quite a nice bar. There was ample car parking behind the hotel. It’s conveniently located in the centre of Glasgow but a taxi is required to go to the various restaurants Etc.

I hope the above information is of some use for travellers wishing to stay in Glasgow.

Archie

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Worlds greatest Canals

January 3, 2014

During my time at sea in the merchant navy and also working as a ship surveyor for the last 18 months, I have been fortunate enough to travel through 3 of the worlds greatest man-made canals. Panama, Suez and the Welland canal.

I have been through Panama about 35 times and never get bored with that trip which usually takes about 12 hours.
Starting from the Atlantic side, the ship goes through the Gatun locks, three massive locks to the Gatun Lake 26.5 meters above sea level. Then a trip through the Gatun lake down to the Galliard cut. This was quite an engineering achievement to blast down through the continental divide to a depth of 40′. All the rubble was transported away in a specially made railway and used to make a dam which is seen at the Gatun locks. This dam stopped the flow of the Chagres’s river and flooded the area which is now Gatun lake. When the ship arrives at the Pacific side it enters the Pedro Miguel Lock. This is just one chamber and this leads to Miraflores lake which like Gatun lake is man made. At the end of this small lake is the Miraflores locks. Two locks which lead to the Pacific ocean. Panama is very lush and green what ever time of year you go through it is 47.9 miles long.

I have been through the Suez Canal three times. This canal which starts at Suez at the top of the Red sea and goes to Port Said on the Mediterranean is all at sea level so no need for locks.
There is not so much to see traveling through this canal except a lot of sand on either side of the canal. Though there has been more greenification of the land near the canal over the last 20 years of so. The canal is 100.8 miles long and the trip takes about 12 hours.

 

1 Welland Sum R

Welland canal in summer.

The Welland Canal which joins Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is quite an amazing place to visit and not so many passenger ships go here if any. This starts at Port Weller on the edge of Lake Ontario and goes to Port Colbourne on the edge of Lake Erie. The Welland Canal has eight locks to raise the ships up to the level of Lake Erie which is 100 meters higher than Lake Ontario. The canal is 27 miles long and the trip takes about 11 hours. In summer time there is much lush greenery here but in winter it is rather desolate.

Of the three canals. I would have to say my favourite and the greatest engineering achievement of them all, is the Panama canal. If you are going for a cruise try and get one that goes though Panama. Its amazing.


Travel to the USA.

January 2, 2014

I travelled to the USA for the first time in many years recently. It was quite a job !

Firstly you must have either a Visa in your passport (which I had) or an ESTA temporary visa which can be obtained on the internet.

I was flying into Philadelphia then traveling on to Jacksonville. All travellers to the US when changing planes before a final destination have to claim their baggage before proceeding to the next plane.

No one told me this when I checked in! Also I can’t remember any announcement on the plane about this.

Once you leave the plane you will have a big wait to pass through US border control. At Philadelphia there were a dozen desks but it takes five minutes to process each person as they have to check your finger prints and do a retina scan. It took me about 25 mins to pass through immigration and I was near the front of the queue.

You then pick up your bag and go through US customs. Just round the corner from customs is a big shute where the cases are slid down to be taken to your next flight. That part was well organised and my case made the connecting flight OK.

Next it was quite a long walk to the inevitable security which was a slow process. Then a long walk to the flight to Jacksonville.

Boarding was finished by the time I arrived at the gate and everyone was sat down on their seats ready for the plane to leave. Really….. Too close for comfort for me !

So when you book flights to the USA make sure you have an absolute minimum of two hours to make your connection.


Reclining seats on planes.

December 18, 2012

I have been doing a lot of flying lately and one thing continues to bug me!  It’s the habit of virtually everyone in the seat in front to ram their seat right back just after the meal has been served. This action  takes up such a huge chunk of my already extremely cramped space. Also, when I put my seat back it does not compensate for my loss of space !!

There is no point complaining to the cabin crew as they will tell you….. “They are well within their rights to put tier seat back.”

I don’t think when planes were designed they were thinking too much about the 6′ 4″  people(Such as me) traveling on their planes when they came up with the idea of seats being re-clinable.


Baalbek Lebanon

September 2, 2011

Roman ruins at Baalbek

There is much to see at these ruins in quite a small area, which is easy to walk round.

Walls on top of walls

 Originally built as temples by the Romans the area was transformed into a citadel when the conquered by the Arabs in 748 AD. This is quite evident when you look at the different blocks that form the walls.  On top of the original walls, later construction is provided with loopholes for archers to fire arrows through while remaining concealed and protected.

Jupiter temple

There is only 6 columns remaining of the temple of Jupiter but the sheer size of these makes it easy to imagine how large the temple originally was and what a feat of construction it was to build this in the 1st century AD

Gargoyle

On top of these columns where placed gargoyles which were transformed into fountains out of the mouths of the gargoyle when it rained.

Baccus temple

The most outstanding part of this site is the Bacchus temple built in the second centuary AD.  This is almost completely preserved except for the roof. Amazing when you think of all  the earthquakes this area has suffered in the last 2000 years.

Inside Baccus temple

 

Close to the exit from the site is a small but very interesting museum. I found the photo gallery from the beginning of the 20th centuary particularly interesting.


Anjar (Bekaa valley Lebanon)

August 31, 2011

I recently visited Anjar on a guided tour. Its quite an amazing place that was built by the Umayyad in the 7th centaury. It took twenty years to build then was only used for thirty before being destroyed in war. It then lay buried till 1949 when it was discovered and restored. The Umayyad had the 5th largest empire in history stretching from China to Spain.

 The Sultan ruled this from Damascus, but as it was too hot there in summer he had Anjar built as a summer retreat. It is in a valley between two mountain ranges but is still at a height of 1000 mtrs above sea level so much cooler than in Damascus. Its more of a town than a city but there are walls round this which can be seen today. The wide main street of this site leading to the sultans palace is amazing as every so often there is drains leading down into a sewer.

Restoration work has been undertaken but some of it not very well, as columns and buildings have been erected with parts that didn’t belong to them originally. Inside the palace this is particularly evident and the walls are quite noticeably at different levels. It’s a very interesting site which the tour guide was well informed about and made our visit more enjoyable. Centred in the middle of the Bekaa valley it was incredibly peacefull with hardly a sound to be heard.


The Lebanese hair cut

March 21, 2011

I went for a hair cut on Wednesday.  I walked about two miles to a place I had been previously, as the guy did a really good job. I was a bit worried, that the shop may not be open after all that walk. Anyway it was open thankfully, but it was a different barber!! 

There was one guy just finishing getting his hair done, which was really short anyway. The barber carefully snipped round his hair, for around 10 minutes,  like it was a sculpture or something. I though fine, at least he takes a pride in his job.

Just as I sat down in the chair two other people appeared also wanting haircuts. My haircut took 4 minutes !!!!  It was OK,  just…  But it was nowhere near as neat as the previous time.  No more haircuts for me in the Lebanon !!