Mitch Peiffer University of Aberdeen, Scotland


March 10, 2017

Last weekend, me and a friend took a bus to the city of Glasgow. It’s commonly known as the second-biggest population in Scotland, and the #1 in personality as well as (in my opinion) thick accents.

I stepped out of the train station and immediately saw an anime convention across the street from us. It didn’t take much wandering around before I found the city center and the shopping district. I enjoyed wandering around listening to the many street musicians, exploring the mall and all the local stores, and briefly talking to random people. For lunch, among other things, I tried for the first time a deep fried Mars (Milky way) bar; a stomach-rotting, beautiful local tradition.

I saw multiple museums in Glasgow. The first was the Huntington Gallery, inside the university. Inside is the collection of a man, William Hunter, who made advances in anatomical science. He was known for, among other things, fixing cases of rickets (misshapen bones) for people in Glasgow. Among his collection were examples of medical abnormalities as well as many Roman artifacts found in Scotland, from the time when they occupied it. I loved seeing both of these, despite being squeamish at the medical stuff. Also in the gallery was some skeletons of extinct creatures, including the North American Dire Wolf, a recreation of Lucy’s skeleton, and several others. Evolutionary history is fun to learn about.

Walking the streets, I discovered one of the things the city is known for is placing objects on statues. In front of the city hall, there’s a lady on a horse with an umbrella taped to her hand. Similarly, there’s a man on a horse, “The Duke,” with a bright orange traffic cone on his head, bravely guarding the museum of modern art. Tourist shops proudly sell fridge magnets and figurines of the Duke. It’s also a good place to go see street performers, if you’re into it. I saw a man dressed up like the duke, a couple different bagpipe groups, and a few fiddlers.

The gallery of modern art was filled with, as one would expect, modern art. It has a nice gift shop, and a charming library and coffee shop downstairs. It also included s video gallery, several 3D displays, and multiple painting galleries. Someone who appreciates this kind of art more than me would probably find it fun.

About accents: regional differences in dialect are much stronger than they are back home. Even within Scotland, there are distinct, localized accents. Some accents are very thick, and some sound almost like American accents. Whenever I go to the southern parts of Scotland, someone always asks me about how I can ever understand the accents in Aberdeen. To tell the truth, there was only ever one person whose Aberdeen accent I couldn’t understand at all. For accents that are hopelessly incomprehensible, the kind that Robin Williams makes fun of in his standup, Glasgow is the place to go. It is the most distinct of the distinct, and the most confusing of the confusing. People with Glasgow accents can be found all over Scotland making all non-locals give each other looks of confusion each time they open their mouths. Never so often will you ask someone to repeat themselves three times and still not comprehend the statement they made. Their only rival in unintelligibility comes from the kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, Burns-quoting old men who live in tiny towns scattered around the highlands. If you ever find yourself in Glasgow, you’ll quickly see why it’s #1 in personality and #1 in accents.


Scotland Semester Travel