Stop me if I’m losing it here, but when someone says the words "mini break" you think of the great European cities - Paris, Rome, Barcelona - right?
"But Glasgow is a great European city," my partner says.
Of course it is. But it’s only 50 minutes away by car. That’s not a mini-break. You have to board an aeroplane first, or at least a hovercraft or ferry before it’s a real mini-break, I reply, smugly. "We’re going this weekend, like it or not," she snaps.
So there I was, speeding along the M8, past The Horn at Polkemmet County Park and past David Mach’s Big Heids. This is not right, I thought. We should have a hire car and the junctions should read "Montmartre" or "Villa Borghese".
To me (and several east coast friends) Glasgow is where you go to watch Scotland being humiliated at football. Where good concerts are held and where you go shopping. But as soon as the event is over, you jump back on the train or into your car. You wouldn’t ever actually stay there ...
I cheered up when I saw our room on the third floor of Langs Hotel, in the heart of the city centre, was sleek and minimalist with CD player, multi-jet shower and PlayStation.
After an hour surveying our new "urban retreat" - all trendy pebbles and fat pillows - we shopped our way through the "Golden Z": Glasgow’s shopping zone of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street.
The city’s compact grid plan makes it easy to punctuate shopping with stops at museums and galleries. We gazed at the frontage of the famous art deco Rogano restaurant, browsed in Borders bookshop, and laughed as hen parties began to gather in George Square.
After six hours, our wallets were lighter and our arms weary from lugging bags. We retreated to Langs where my frazzled partner went to the hotel’s Oshi spa for a hot stone massage. It was at this point I realised I was enjoying myself. Glasgow’s Smiles Better, I thought.
That evening we walked to Quigley’s, the trendy eaterie on Bath Street. The setting is dramatic and the food is exquisite. The bill came to a modest 23 a head, excluding wine. The night was rounded off at Jongleurs comedy club, near the hotel.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, The Burrell Collection and The Scottish Football Museum at Hampden are all great days out but, on Sunday, we chose the new 75 million Glasgow Science Centre, on the south bank of the Clyde.
Unfortunately, the IMAX theatre and Glasgow tower were closed and several of the interactive exhibits were out of order. However, with hundreds of displays we ended up spending four hours enjoying the venue.
On Monday, we checked out, more relaxed than in a long time. "Have a good time?" she asked.
I smiled, grudgingly.
Glasgow, it’s mini break heaven.
• Langs Hotel, Port Dundas Place; 0141-352 2452, www.langshotels.co.uk. From 55.00 pp bed & breakfast. There is currently a special offer which includes a guide to Princes Square which allows the bearer - discounts & special offers in a list of shops, coffee on arrival, complimentary wine with lunch in any of Princes Square’s restaurants and taxi provided returning to Langs.
• Quigleys, Bath Street; 0141-331 4061. Closed Sunday. Three courses for around 20.
• Jongleurs Comedy Club, Renfrew Street; 0870 787 0707, www.jongleurs.co.uk. Entry 12.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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