Yesterday I caught the 14:02 train into Glasgow. As I stood waiting for what felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life in the freezing cold at Uddingston Station, I quickly realized it was not going to be a comfortable train ride. Typically there may be a handful of people waiting on the platform, but not today. Herds of people waited for the next passing train and when it arrived it was an all out battle to squeeze through those tiny double doors. I knew this was a warning sign of what lie ahead.
A few stops later the train screeched into Argyle Street Station where walls of people made it impossible to even move toward the exit. Bodies and shopping bags were clashing, and mass chaos ensued. After a near nervous breakdown, I made my way onto Argyle Street, a main shopping street in the City Centre, playfully named “The Style Mile”. I have been to NYC during Christmas and I thought the chaos of the season in that city was unmatched, until I saw Glasgow.
People hurried about with shopping bags in hand. Crossing to the other side of the street was dangerous, not because of cars, but because the flow of people seemed to stop for nothing. Frantically they moved about from store to store, on a mission to cross all those items off their lists.
I made my way to St. Enoch Square, location of the famous Christmas Market. This delicious smelling outdoor market is full of tasty holiday treats from around the world. Stalls are lined with Christmas lights and flags waving for their native countries. I pushed through the crowds smelling my way through France’s stall of Turkish delights and cinnamon churros, Spain’s stall of spicy paella cooking in a huge caldron, Greece’s stall of smoked garlic, feta cheese, olives, and pastries. I continued on and the smell of bratwurst filled the air as I passed by Germany. The bratwurst was quickly overtaken by the delectable smell of exotic spices as I passed by an India curry stall, a favorite here in the UK. The smell of mulled wine crept into the picture and I stopped at Ireland for a hot glass of ginger wine.
There are Christmas lights everywhere. Every street, every square, storefronts, restaurants. Everywhere you look there are beautiful lights strung across buildings, in windows, and on light posts. I feel like a moth, like I’m drawn to the light and I can’t stop looking. There has always been something about Christmas lights that I love. They bring a warm, cozy feeling. I’m not sure I was ready for Christmas until those lights started pulling me into the holiday spirit.
I spent the afternoon pushing through crowds and watching the Christmas chaos ensue. I was a careful observer until the cold had taken the feeling from my fingers and toes. Even the warmth from my Peruvian alpaca gloves couldn’t quell the bite of the chill in the air. Exhausted from hours of wandering through the cold and crowds, I boarded the train back home.
I think I’ll stay inside or at least avoid the city until Christmas has passed. Or at least that’s what I say now, but it’ll be hard to keep me away from those beautiful Christmas lights.