Soundtrack Glasgow is a great idea. It's pretty unique and I have had the opportunity to stumble over it recently. The idea is to better the relationship the people of Glasgow have with the city. The aim is to explore this wonderful relationship through sound. The creator is still working on the idea but he has some great focuses for moving forward.
I'm not sure exactly where Soundtrack Glasgow will lead to but I'll certainly be watching closely. A youtube video of the general idea can be found HERE.
Glasgow has a lot of sounds. I was trying to sum up some the sounds I hear daily around my general route in the city and it is no easy task.
Head over and check out Soundtrack Glasgow HERE for more information.
Glasgow and the case of the missing easter egg and rabbit
The Big Easter Egg Hunt UK gets more than it bargained for in Glasgow
It's a genius idea: take 101 giant Easter Eggs and some bunnies and hide them around Glasgow. Raise some money for charity and give everyone a chance to have fun - it's an innocent idea at heart. The Big Egg Hunt (sponsored by Lindt) has hidden 101 eggs (and possibly a secret 102nd) around Glasgow. You buy a map and can go find them all. Needless to say I'm excited and looking forward to doing it on Monday.
However, there is a problem - Glasgow. By the time the event started today egg number 53 was gone. Only the plinth outside the Tron Church on Buchanan Street remained. News broke soon after that one of the St. Enoch Square bunnies was missing too, I highly doubt they have eloped, but you never know!
It's a sad fact that this kind of thing happens in Glasgow. There are a few Glasgow Parks missing their signs and I can think of more than a few friends who have a traffic cone in their homes. Glasgow seems to attract this kind of thing. I can only hope that the egg is found and that the bunny rabbit survives the experience.
If you want to join the hunt you can do so until Wedneday. More information HERE.
When giving up your favourite drink takes you over the edge
The task seemed simple enough, "Gary, I bet you couldn't give up Irn Bru for Lent". Well, challenge accepted. I'm never one to pass on a challenge that I think taxes me. Irn Bru is my life blood - it's what keeps me ginger. More importantly it keeps me sane. Irn Bru makes the world go round. On Ash Wednesday, in February 2013, I gave up the one thing that keeps me going, Irn Bru (as well as all fizzy drinks).
I'd like to say that I'm going off the stuff for life but I know I couldn't do that. So Lent was a close second. For forty days and forty nights, Gary Robert Brown shall drink no more Irn Bru. It's now the fifteenth of March and I'm struggling. I've been thinking of all the good times. Sipping a chilled can of Irn Bru at the summit of the Goatfell in the Isle of Arran; guzzling a sweet cool gallon or two on the way up the three sisters pass in Glencoe or simply rewarding myself between emails with a bottle or two. Irn Bru is my life. It helps define me. I am lost without it.
I had a moment of weakness last weekend. I tried Irn Bru ice cream both days. It tastes NOTHING like Irn Bru. I was happy for not breaking my fast but sad at not getting that kick that I so dearly crave. The good people at BARR have no idea what will hit them at the end of March. I will be back. I will need Irn Bru. I will drink your supplies dry. The ginger is coming. Prepare yourselves Irn Bru. Prepare youselves.
Alisa regularly blogs for Student Tours Scotland giving some wisdom to current students. Here is the latest tip from her on travelling while studying in the UK.
Possibly the best advice I can give you whilst you're on exchange is: travel. Once again, whether it's with Student Tours Scotland or another operator just get out there. In Scotland alone there are so many beautiful things to see. But don't just stop there.
I know a lot of you are from Europe, and some of you may already have a ton of travel experience - but I always feel you can never have enough. For those of you who have come across from North America like myself, or other far away places (or maybe you even live in Europe but just haven't done that much travel) get out there!
I am a huge advocate of doing and seeing as much as you possibly can, and I used my exchange as an excuse to get a bunch of it in. So, to help you all have amazing experiences as well, I have put together a list of helpful websites and tips to get you cheap travel. You may already know some of these, but if you don't- they will change your life.
Ryanair - Literally the "Greyhound of the Sky" as one of my friends put it. I won't bother lying to you - it is the worst airline you will ever come across, but it is super cheap if you can do it with only a moderate sized backpack as luggage. Anything else, they will charge you. Forget to print off your own ticket? They will charge you. Basically, if they can - they will charge you extra. I managed to do most of my travel with them for super cheap and yes there were times when I had to wear six layers and put all the contents of my purse in my pockets so I could squish it in the bag (sorry ladies, purse is an extra bag too), but it was all worth it to get by on the cheapest possible fares. Sometimes it will be a hit and a miss, but it never hurts to check it first as it will generally give you a cheaper flight than anyone else. Another caution though - always google the airport they get you into as it is usually the most obscure location humanly possible, but there is always a cheap bus into the city centre. Just know where you are headed.
Another one to check out is EasyJet - Same basic idea as Ryanair, but a step up, and usually will get you into a main airport. I've found it cheaper before, but the times are usually less convenient. Once again, always good to check.
HostelWorld - I personally think hostels are the best way to travel while you're young. For those of you who may not of stayed in one before, here are some pros and cons.
Pros: Cheap; Great locations worldwide; An awesome place to meet people (especially if they have a bar); They usually all either put on events, or know where they are happening (pub crawls are a hostel favourite); Most hostels have kitchens so you can cook your own food to keep it cheap; You and a friend/ partner have the option of a private room so you still have your own space, but you can still mingle; Run by travellers like you, so you get great advice on where to go and how to do it cheaply; Often hostels have this special map that highlights all of the attractions- I've never seen them in any hotel, but they are incredibly useful and the staff will usually take the time to explain it to you.
Cons: Depending on prices you are looking at sharing a room with other people; Can be noisy as people get in at different times; Cleanliness (lots of people coming and going mean not everyone cleans up they're own mess); Always read reviews (I have heard horror stories of bed bugs and other germy dangers, but this can all be avoided by using your judgement and heading warnings when you see them in other people's comments); You have to be street smart (you never know who will be in there with you so locking up your stuff and sometimes even keeping them on you at all times is a good way to go).
Hostelworld is a fantastic site that will help you differentiate between the good and the bad. They lay out all the hostels matching your dates in the city and give you a description, list of amenities, map of the location, and a rating. I said it once but I'll say it again, always read the reviews! The review section is what makes this site so great because it gives you a chance to see what other people who have stayed there thought. Now, remember that there will always be that unfortunate case who got there and had the worst time of they're lives - don't always let this throw you off. The best way to judge a place is to scan through several reviews and try to come to a consensus of opinions. For example, I might find that the hostel has a great location, but that I should expect small rooms. Take it all into account, and you should be good.
Smaller cautions: Sometimes hostels take the "Ryanair Approach" and try to get you for extras. Try to find ones that have things like breakfast and linens (aka bedding and/or towels) included to get the best for your money.
If you don't think a hostel is for you, there are a million sites out there to help you find cheap hotel deals. All inclusive, 4 star for 2 star prices, you name it - it's out there somewhere. The best tip I can give you for this is to book early. Sometimes last minute bookings get you cheap rooms, but I find the earlier you book the better. If you want to take this route, just put some specific search terms into google and make sure you include words like 'cheap' or 'discounted' and you will get a bunch of results.
Hopefully those those main websites will get you started. I'm no expert, and I'm sure a lot of you have some great tips too, so be sure to pass around what works for you to others. The great thing about being on exchange is that you get to meet people from all over with completely different perspectives than you. And eventually when you go home, hopefully you will have made friends from all these wonderful places so that when you do go to visit them you have added incentive and a free place to stay with your own built in local tour guide. I have been so lucky to keep in touch with the people I met on my exchange, and next month alone I will be seeing several of them.
Basically, your time abroad is your oyster - make the most of it you can, because I can tell you from experience, it will fly by!
Student Tours Scotland Joins The Glasgow Experience Debate
The Glasgow Experience: 'Real' Glasgow
On Wednesday 20 March 2013, Student Tours Scotland's very own, Gary Robert Brown will be taking part in a debate hosted by the Glasgow City Heritage Trust. The topic seems simple enough, "What do you think shows visitors the 'real' Glasgow"?
It's not an easy topic to discuss in a city with the coloured and chequered history that Glasgow has. However, Student Tours Scotland has a lot of experience in the area. Thousands of students from across the world come here to experience 'real' Glasgow but many leave only seeing the City Centre of this wonderful place. In 2013 we have taken hundreds of students to lesser seen parts of Glasgow including: Sighthill Park Stone Circle; Castlemilk Park and Woodlands; King's Park Golf Course (Abandoned); Richmond Park and Oatlands; Dennistoun; Hogganfield Park and many more. Students are keen to see as much of the place as possible and as such, Student Tours Scotland has ended up with students who know more about the city than most of the Glaswegians who live here.
Hopefully we can bring something unique to the debate which will also feature Peter Russell, former Principal of the City’s International Office and advisor to the Provos; Anne Mulhern, Proprietress of the Willow Tea Rooms and Michael Traynor, former taxi tour-guide from Glasgow Taxis.
Tickets are £5/£3 and you can find out more about the event HERE or contact HERE for tickets.
Student Tours Scotland Regular Hosting a Fashion Show
One of the regulars at Student Tours Scotland events, Jacopo from Italy is hosting (as Jake's Mood alongside World Famous and Sugar Cube) an International Students Fahion Show (ISFS 2013) in Glasgow. The event is in support of Oxfam.
It's always awesome when one of our Internationals goes on to bigger and better things. All those interested in fashion should head along to Sugar Cube to check it out as it's looking to be a fantastic night with some great designers showcasing their wares.
It's set up to be a great night with "Glitz, Glamour, Red Carpets, great music and more". The night is even better as it focuses on local talent.
Designers showcased include: Rebecca Riddick; 21st Century Kilts; IvyKiss Ltd; Animinimal; The Pokey Hat; The Roosevelt Hundred Bow Ties; Joanna Chomicz; M.A.D. Clothing and Nothing.
To sign up you can join the facebook event HERE. Students get a discount and tickets are limited but if you're looking for something different to do in Glasgow on a Friday night, then this is the event for you.
Tickets: Limited numbers @ £5 (Students) (£7 Non Students). See the link above for information.
So it's another week and another edition of Lena Points. As is the case with these things, Lena and Student Tours Scotland go hunting around Glasgow for cool and unique things to show you. We had heard rumours of three hippos in Anderston which were made of stone. Naturally we were interested in finding out more. Turns out that, just like the Sighthill Park Stone Circle, they are threatened with demolition as Anderston is redeveloped. Always happy to highlight a good cause Lena and Student Tours Scotland took to the streets to hunt for them.
It was not easy to find these little critters. Despite a blobby image on Google Maps the hippos are well hidden from obvious sight. However fine them we did! The middle one even had a traffic cone on it's head just like the Duke of Wellington Statue on Queen Street. These little guys are cute and make a rather neglected area (could do with a clean up) quite pleasant. I highly recommend you check them out - if you can find them of course. Hehe.