The Necropolis in Glasgow

The Necropolis in Glasgow

The Necropolis.

Sandwiched between my exterior tour of Glasgow Cathedral and walking along viewing the Murals of Glasgow,  I took a brief walk through the Necropolis of Glasgow.

I don't typically visit cemeteries. My mother always used to say she wasn't sure if a ghost might follow us home.  She was only half kidding. She grew up in a haunted house in Indiana.

I get that some of you might not believe such things. And that's OK. My personal life experience is such that I have some trepidations about the possibility of inviting a spirit home with me.

From the Glasgow Cathedral, you could see the Necropolis rising up on the hill.

The hill on which the Necropolis stands was purchased by the Glasgow Merchant's House in 1651. After being planted with Fir trees, it was known as Fir Park.

In 1831, the Merchant's' House decided that that its's use would be best as Glasgow's version of the Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, and so the Victorian Cemetery began.

It would become known as Glasgow's Necropolis.

The entrance to the Necropolis is reached by crossing the "Bridge of Sighs", likely named this due to the fact that funeral processions crossed it to reach the burial grounds.

The Necropolis covers 37 acres. In 1966, the Merchants' House gave the Necropolis to the Glasgow City Council.

Since the Necropolis is located East of the Glasgow (or St. Mungo) Cathedral, as you climb the hill you can look back for magnificent views of the Cathedral.

By 1831, Glasgow's population had grown from 70,000 to 200,00.

There are many impressive monuments due to the wealth of some of the city's merchants.

One of which is the mausoleum built for Major Archibald Douglas Monteath. He served in the East India Company before returning to Glasgow. His body was interred in 1842.

The mausoleum was modeled on the Church of St. Sepulchre in Cambridge.

As you climb up the Necropolis, the sweeping views of the city of Glasgow become more and more impressive.

Mostly we were quickly walking through, looking for any surnames affiliated with our genealogy.

But we still took moments to stop and admire the detailed architecture of the monuments located inside of the Necropolis.

Many of them were designed by renowned architects of the time.

Climbing higher still, the top of the hill is the location of the John Knox Monument. Interestingly, he is not buried below the monument, but under a car park in Edinburgh.

This was the first statue of John Knox to be erected in Scotland and sits on the second highest hill in Scotland.

I would have loved to have stayed with those who had gathered for what was sure to be an epic sunset of the city, but our time here was short as we needed to meet up with my aunt for dinner.

Plus, I would have missed all the murals.

There's always next time!

Have you visited any cemeteries? Which is your favorite?

Let your light shine!


The Cloisters- University of Glasgow

The Cloisters – University of Glasgow

As promised in yesterday’s post, where we toured the exterior of the Gilbert Scott Building at the University of Glasgow, today we enter through the doors to see what was found on the other side.

I had a hard time narrowing down the photos as this was one of my favorite architectural locations…


This post is more photo heavy than my normal posts.

I hope you enjoy the tour!

I mentioned that I saw some people enter through the open doors and thought I’d wander through as well to see if I could find some interesting architectural elements or doors for my Thursday Door friends.

Located at the entrance of the Gilbert Scott building is the tombstone of Thomas Reid.

Thomas Reid was the Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1764-1791. He was the founder of the Scottish common sense movement in philosophy.

He was originally buried at the Blackfriars Church burial ground when the University of Glasgow was based on High Street. When the move was made to its current location on Gilmorehill, his remains were relocated to the Professors’ at the Glasgow Necropolis.

The tombstone serves as a memorial to his contributions to the University of Glasgow.

Continuing on through the entrance were a set of glass doors. I am an anal rule follower (to the point that I even annoy myself) and wasn’t sure if I was allowed to enter through them. The couple I came behind had disappeared, but I wasn’t sure if they had passed through the numerous side doors. But I could see that the arches above me were the architectural element I had seen online that I had been seeking.

I decided that the worst thing that could happen was that they would tell me that I wasn’t allowed to be there and I would apologize and remove myself.

So I went through the glass doors.

And saw a set of wooden doors up ahead.

I moved forward cautiously, hoping that I was allowed to be here and that I wouldn’t have some irate security person come yell at me about trespassing.

When I got to the doors, it was like the sky had parted and heavens had opened up with joyful singing.

I had found the part of the campus that I had hoped to find.

The Cloisters.

The Cloisters are also known as the Undercroft. I’ve also heard them referred to as the Arches at the University of Glasgow.

The Cloisters connect the East and West Quadrangles and the doorway leads inside to Bute Hall and the Hunterian Museum.


The Hunterian Museum was founded in 1807 and is Scotland’s oldest public museums and home to one of the largest collections outside the National Museums. While the museum has various venues throughout the campus, the displays housed in this area of the Gilbert Scott building, feature William Hunter’s collection with archaeology, paleontology, geology, and zoology being just a few of the fields of interest housed in this area.

Bute Hall is where graduation ceremonies are held at the University of Glasgow.

The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow is located on the West Quadrangle.

It was consecrated on October 4, 1929 and dedicated to the former students and staff who lost their lives in World Wars I and II.

The Chapel was designed by Sir John James Burnet and the stained-glass windows were created by Douglas Strachan.



The Memorial Chapel is one of the few locations in Scotland where marriages in the Protestant and Reformed or Roman Catholic faith can be celebrated.  Weddings conducted by humanist celebrants can also be held in the University Chapel.


Many graduation celebrations are hosted on the East and West Quadrangles.

It’s traditionally bad luck to walk on the grass prior to graduation so taking advantage of that with graduation goes along with their newfound freedom.

I highly recommend the University of Glasgow being on your itinerary for any trip to Glasgow.

I’d recommend getting there earlier in the day to be able to take advantage of touring the museum.

It was a last minute decision for our visit, but it’s definitely on my list of return to spots when I next travel to Scotland!

Have you traveled to Glasgow? If so, what was your favorite spot to visit?

What do you think? Would the Cloisters at the University of Glasgow be on your must see list?

Let your light shine!



WPC: textures

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

During my trip to Scotland, I knew that our time in Glasgow would be limited. In what little research I did, I knew that if it were at all possible, I wanted to see the University of Glasgow.

After my mother and I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which I shared about in this post, we decided that we were close enough to walk up to the University of Glasgow.

We left the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum when it closed at 5:00 p.m.

We could see the tower, but following Google maps was a little tricky since the campus is spread out. We ended up crossing the River Kelvin and entering through the South Gate. The climb up Dumbarton Way was steadily uphill and quite strenuous after an entire day of walking.

I ended up with so many photos that today will be an exterior walk.

The University of Glasgow. It is the fourth oldest University in the United Kingdom and the second oldest in Scotland.

The University of Glasgow also has more listed buildings than any other University in the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1451 by a charter or papal bull from Pope Nicholas V, at the suggestion of King James II, the original campus was located in the city’s High Street.

The University relocated to Gilmorehill in 1870 and this was the location of the building that I was hoping to see.

The Gilbert Scott building is named after its designer, Sir George Gilbert Scott. He designed many of the University’s buildings during the Gothic Revival movement of the late 19th century.

He died before the building was finished, but his son John Oldrid Scott completed the building in 1891.

The tower is a Glasgow landmark and stands 278 feet high.

Once we made it to the top, we rested at a bench by the University Flagpole. There are great views of the city and from here we could see the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and how far uphill that we had come.

After resting a bit, and planning how we were going to make it back to the hotel after such a long day, I decided to explore a few more doorways.

The University offers guided tours and even lists a self-guided tour. Unfortunately, I did not find out about that until much later. If I’ve learned anything about traveling, it’s to do a lot more research on the front end. Since this part of the trip was due to a last minute change in plans, there isn’t much I could have changed about this visit.

However, I did get lucky and stumble upon the architectural masterpiece that was the  original catalyst in my desire to visit this building.

I saw some people walk through this entrance and decided to see where it led.

…Be still my heart.

Check back tomorrow afternoon when I take you through this entrance of the University of Glasgow and show you what was on the other side.

Let your light shine!



Say What?!

When you travel there is bound to be some type hilarious encounter.

Quite often due to a breakdown in communication between languages.

But what if that breakdown is in your native language?

Well that can make it unexpected and garner even more giggles!

It's Monday, so I thought that if you're anything like me you could use a little humor in your life today.

Even in the United States, sometimes trying to understand what a person from the Deep South or from New England is saying may take them repeating it a few times before you catch on to what they are saying. If they throw in some local slang, it may become even harder!

We had already experienced working through differences in the English language on our first overseas trip. We were relieved that everyone in Amsterdam spoke English, but differences in colloquialisms came into play on a trip to Starbucks. One of the teenagers asked for a squirt of chocolate in their frappuccino. You could tell by the look the barista's face that she wasn't really sure what "squirt" meant. Some hand gestures later and it was agreed upon that "pump" was the term that she was familiar with. Which only makes sense given that is the term Starbucks uses. It was a wonderful learning experience for the teenager in how to work through language barriers.

However, the best breakdown between English languages was experienced on my trip to Scotland. Given that English is their primary language, it never occurred to me that there might be any issues. Understanding their accent, maybe some issues. Complete cluelessness about language, never.

In this post, where I took you on the tour of the Murals of Glasgow, I mentioned that while we were in Glasgow we decided to take the train to Shotts to watch some of the Highland Games.

After making my mother and aunt hike from the train station to the location of the Highland Games, we finally made it.

When we approached the sign stating the entry fees, I commented to my mother "it's 5£ each. There's something about concessions being 4£. I don't know if that means we have to purchase a ticket to be able to eat, but we'll figure it out when we get inside. We can always come back and get that later."

I hear all of you who are from the United Kingdom snickering already.

Don't worry, it gets better.

I pay for the three of us to get through the gate. Our accents give away the fact that we are not locals so they give my mother a collectible spoon that they have for people who've traveled a long way. I think "what about me?" for a second, but then am relieved because I'm a minimalist-in-training and collectibles are not what I'm striving toward.

It's already close to lunchtime so we know that we will be hungry soon. I see prices on the food trailers, but I'm still confused. My mom decides that she is going to go back to the gate and ask them if we need a ticket.

A few minutes later, she comes walking toward me. I can see that she is holding back tears of laughter. She tells me that I'm not going to believe what happened.

She asked them "what about the concessions?" and the lady taking the money says "well…" and the other lady in the booth steps into view, possibly concerned that my mother is going to become argumentative. The lady finishes her sentence "that's really for people who are older than you." To which my mother replies "oh, so it has nothing to do with food." And they all start laughing and assuring her that "no, it's not about food."

Apparently, "concessions" in Scotland is what we refer to in the United States as a "senior citizen discount" and my mother is not in her mid-60's or even 60 for that matter so they were surprised she was asking about the discount. In the United States "concessions" refers to a "concession stand", a place where you purchase food at events. We thought that we couldn't eat without a ticket to frequent the food trucks!

We laughed about that for days and still laugh every time we remember our "concession" experience.

I hope you found a good laugh in it too!

Oh.. and in case you're wondering what Scottish men wear under their kilts… that day it was compression shorts.

Happy Monday!

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral


Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is also called the High Kirk of Glasgow, St. Kentigern’s or St. Mungo’s Cathedral. The name St. Mungo may sound familiar if you read my post on the Murals of Glasgow where I shared my favorite mural of a modern day St. Mungo.

Around 550 A.D., St. Mungo, founded a religious community around a small church located in what would become known as Glasgow.

I shared some of the history of St. Mungo in that prior post.

He is a significant character in the history of Glasgow. He is the Patron Saint and his life is represented on Glasgow’s Coat of Arms.

You may recall that I had a change of plans due to disruptions in train service out of Glasgow. This left me time for a little more sightseeing, albeit not as well planned as I would have liked.  Our second afternoon there we decided to take the hop-on hop-off bus to St. Mungo’s Cathedral. As luck would have it, we just missed the time for the last interior tour. They literally locked the doors in the face of my aunt and mother as they peered through the closing gap (I was sidetracked taking photos, not realizing that the last admission had happened).

So an exterior tour it was…

Upon exiting the bus, I was captivated by the presence of this church. The doorway that was being locked is to the right. I assume the people over there were able to get in and tour the inside. Had I known what time they closed and the last admittances were 30 minutes prior to closing, I probably would have sprinted over there.

Of course, I was thinking of my Thursday Doors people and the doors on Glasgow Cathedral were quite magnificent.

Very little is known about the buildings that were on this site prior the present one.

The first stone building was consecrated in 1136 in the presence of King David I and occupied the area now covered by the Nave.

Damaged by fire, its replacement was consecrated in 1197 by Bishop Jocelin.

Work would be done throughout the 12th-15th Century.

You may be surprised to hear that it is one of the last of its kind in Scotland. Glasgow Cathedral is the only church on the Scottish mainland that survived the Protestant Reformation of 1560.

I’m always impressed by the intricate details of Gothic architecture. And this church does not disappoint.

From its magnificent stone work and stained glass…

…down to the door knockers.


Since I wasn’t going to be able to go inside, I strolled along the outside admiring the details of this imposing structure.

And I spied this door.

I find deep satisfaction in having found this door that appears to be rarely, if ever, accessed.

It holds me spellbound for a moment as I wonder who may have passed through this entrance.

Where does it lead? Perhaps someone who has been inside would know. But as a curious daydreamer, I could only stand there and guess as to the tales that this door held closely.

Had the hands of some 16th or 17th century woman lightly touched the stone as she passed through it arched entry? Did children hop from step to step, patiently waiting as their parents finished the conversations held after the weekly service? Was this door only used by those who served with the church? Or did mourners gather on the stairs after the burial of those within the grounds to the East?

I may never know those answers, but in a church with such a long history, the possibilities are endless.

I allow my mind to drift from the past to the present.

I think about how Glasgow Cathedral has stood the test of time.

Although the title of Cathedral is honorific since it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690, it is still the place of active worship for the Church of Scotland.

I wander around looking at the nearby gravestones and then head to the nearby Necropolis, the burial grounds of an estimated 50,000 people.

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!


Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House

When I traveled to Amsterdam in April, I knew my time there would be brief. Less than 36 hours brief. Factoring in that I had no idea what to expect from my first overseas trip and that jet lag is rough…way too brief!

But the one place that I wanted to be sure to visit was the Anne Frank House.

In fact, this museum was the only thing specifically booked into our itinerary (outside of hotels, flights, and the train from Amsterdam to Paris) when we left the U.S.

I had heard that the cues can get very long at the Anne Frank House and our limited time left no room for long cues. If I were to see it, it must be booked. However, when you hear to book your tickets well in advance…do so. When I first went to book them (three weeks early), they were already sold out. It was then that I discovered that the tickets are released two months in advance. I was so disappointed.


There are tickets that include a 30 minute introduction. These tickets are released two weeks in advance. I was overjoyed that I was able to secure these tickets.


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank

Our hotel was located on P.C. Hooftstraat near Vondelpark. The night before we debated on walking, but were concerned that there may be rain so we chose to take a nearby tram to Dam Square and walk the remaining way to the Anne Frank House, which is on Prinsengracht.

The museum is open 7 days a week, year round, except Yom Kippur. From 9am-3:30pm, only advanced purchase ticket holders with a time slot are admitted. After 3:30, the cue begins. The closing time varies depending on the time of year, but you can check the hours at their website.

The prices for standard entry are 9€ for adults, 4.50€ for ages 10-17 and free for ages 0-9. With the added 30 minute introductory session the entry fee is 14€ for adults, 9.50€ for ages 10-17 and 5€ for ages 0-9.


We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. -Anne Frank

The 30 minute introduction gives the life story of Anne Frank in the context of the Second World War and the Holocaust. It also gives an overview of the museum prior to touring it. There is no photography allowed in the museum so I was surprised at the end of the introduction when we were allowed to take photos of the items in the room where the presentation is held.

You can see that the  story of Anne Frank is explained along the timeline above and the corresponding things happening under Hitler are shown along the bottom of the timeline. For my teenagers, most of this information was exactly what they were studying in history class. For me, it has been many years since I’ve had history classes and history was one of my weaker subjects.


No one has ever become poor by giving. -Anne Frank

I found the introductory session to be highly informative and am glad that the other tickets weren’t available so that this became my option.


Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! -Anne Frank.


I was born well after this time period so there will always be some level that I don’t understand, just as those born here in the U.S. who were babies or not yet born don’t have the same understanding and experience of 9/11 as mine.

For me, the time spent hearing this story prepared me for what lay ahead.

The deep sense of this horrific reality.

Nothing I write will fully convey the history as I am no history expert, but I hope to be able to bring you along as a journey through the museum.

One caution I would give is to know your level of claustrophobia. We discovered that two of our teenagers are claustrophobic. Theirs was more about being in crowded spaces. My claustrophobia has to with lack of access to fresh air and I felt fine through most of it.


I don’t think of all of the misery, but of all the beauty that remains. -Anne Frank

The Jewish began to have to wear these stars as a way of distinguishing them from the Nazis.


Whoever is happy will make others happy too. -Anne Frank

Their passports were stamped with a “J” to point out the fact that they were Jewish.

Jewish people could no longer own businesses so Otto Frank appoints his Dutch colleagues as the business owners and runs the business behind the scenes.


In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. -Anne Frank

When they receive a letter about what Margot will need to pack for a camp, they know that they will need to go into hiding.


You can always give something, even if it is only kindness. -Anne Frank

If you are familiar with the story, then you know that they lived in the secret annex behind the bookcase. Since it was a secret area attached to the business, they had to be extremely quiet during the day lest anyone should hear them.

We would travel up a set of wooden stairs.

We would travel through some of rooms of the office building…

And then we would pass through the open bookcase.

The air in this space had a palpable feeling being separate.


You could sense what it would be like to try to have lived in this space. The quiet hush of the crowds as they walked along reading the plaques and looking at the items. Each footstep amplified by the wooden space and lack of voices to drown out any other noises.

How their hearts must have pounded in their ears if a chair accidentally scraped across the floor or somebody set a plate down a little too roughly.

Did they hold their breath when they heard the house settling in the night?

While in bed at night, did they cry silent tears in order to put on a brave face again the next day?

All these thoughts and more raced through my head as I wondered from room to room.

I have been a thirteen year old girl.

Miss Sunshine is now a thirteen year old girl.

And so I find that I place myself in Anne’s shoes (as I often do with the main character when I read a story).


I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. -Anne Frank

But on the other side of the viewing platform was this commentary from the hubby.

“The museum was so powerful. I can’t imagine how Otto must have felt. To be a father,  the protector of the family, and be doing everything he could to keep his family safe and have the world keep closing in on them until they were caught and sent away to die.”

And then I see it through the lens of his eye.

And then I step in their mother’s shoes. The role of mothering teenagers is a role that I am becoming well versed in.


Parents can only give them good advice, or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. -Anne Frank

But it was not just Anne Frank.

We were reminded that Margot had a diary as well. It just was never found.

Everyone had a story to tell and not just in this home.

This is just a tiny glimpse into what was happening. The systematic persecution and execution of an estimated six million Jews.

Six Million.

I walk from room to room. I read the words. I sense their fear.

I watch videos and hear the words of survivors.

I feel their pain for all those that they have lost.

I understand a little more than I did the day before.


I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these all can help you. -Anne Frank

From here, we would walk to Oude Kerk. If you’ve read my post about that then you know it was a day packed with enlightment.

But in those moments after stepping outside of the Anne Frank House, before we began the next part of our journey, I looked across the canal as this vibrant city, and it was hard to believe that such horrific atrocities had taken place here.

But they did.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!



What does your chill time look like?

What does your chill time look like?

Chill. Relax.


Where, or when, or how, or with whom, do you find this place?

That’s what Nikki over at Flying Through Water has asked us to ponder this week.

Originally, I thought I’d say yoga.

Yoga Namaste

I shared a little about how yoga has been transformative in my life in this post. My practice mainly consists of Bodyflow classes at my gym, which is similar to some power yoga that I have taken.

I’ve been considering doing more with my practice after finding that I really enjoyed my Pilates class that focused on breath work. I don’t often practice at home because I like the verbal cues that keep me focused on the present moment. I’ve even thought I would enjoy teacher training, not because I have any desire to teach, but because then I would learn more of the depth of yoga from somebody with knowledge.

Yes. I do find my chill in yoga. My moments in savasana center me.

But I also have other places that I find my chill. And recently, I spent some time pondering them. I know some people going through some heavy stuff and sometimes after turning their heavy stuff around in my mind (because turning and turning is what I do), I find myself needing moments to analyze the meaning of life.

To examine my life.

To just be.

Alex and Ani Seek Solitude bracelet

And so yesterday… I just was.

I came home from Pilates and made Miss Sunshine breakfast. As I popped open the can of biscuits, I thought about how I should learn to make biscuits so there wouldn’t be all these strange ingredients. I watched as the bacon sizzled in my cast iron pan, waiting for it to get to the crispy, almost burnt way Miss Sunshine likes it. I cracked open the egg, popped its yolk, waiting until I knew the moment to flip it over. I put it all on the biscuit for Miss Sunshine.

I helped Miss Sunshine gather her things to meet some friends. I dropped her off.

I came home and made my late riser, Mr. D, some breakfast. I watched the bacon sizzle, remembering to take it off well before my crispy preference. As I placed it on the plate, I watched as it still sizzled. I cracked two eggs into the skillet, careful not to bust the yolk, watching for that moment to flip and finish out the over-medium eggs.

I did not go on Instagram (which for me is rare) and spent little time in the blog world. I needed a break from the pressure of trying to achieve. I was very open in this post about how part of my blogging journey was about discovering a passion that would eventually yield some form of income. And sometimes, I need to step back and reassess if I’m still walking and spending time on the path that feels like a soul call.

I did not do any of my 20 minute bursts of decluttering.

I read and read and read.

I studied some subjects of interest online and climbed deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of my insatiable thirst for knowledge.

I stood on my back porch while the puppy played with sticks and blew bubbles. I watched as the wind carried them and the sun made the magentas, and blues, and greens swirl round and round.

I was reminded of two photos taken while in Scotland.



An evening stroll took us onto the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. In the pedestrian area there were people everywhere. And amongst them, a man creating giant bubbles that the children loved to chase.

Bubble blowing of this magnitude is unusual to me. I do not live somewhere this is commonplace, and yet I also saw a man creating the same gigantic bubbles in Vondelpark while I was in Amsterdam.

For me, these moments create a connection in humanity.



That wherever we are, we find beauty and joy in something as simple as a bubble floating on the air.

As I thought about where I find my chill, I realized I find it in the little moments.

The moments where I am fully present.

Damselfly on a blade of grass

The little moments that take my breath away.

The little moments that make me grateful to be alive.

Yesterday somebody looked through quite a few of my old posts. I don’t know if they actually read them, but I went back and read quite a few of the ones they clicked on.

I can see how I’ve grown.

I can also see how I’m the same.

Ever deep in thought…always seeking the simplicity…learning to find the beauty in the chaos.


Let your light shine!