Zombie Shuffle

It’s that time of the year again, when all flock to Edinburgh. Festival season – explored in Angela Bartie’s new book The Edinburgh Festivals: Culture and Society in Post-War Britain.

Most of Central Belt Shuffler’s trips to the festivals also end with a flocking back west – and home – across the Central Belt to Glasgow. Such was one night, a couple of years ago.

Zombie GlasgowThe train drew into Queen Street after a foray over to the Edinburgh International Book Festival for a bit of bookish stimulation. Central Belt Shuffler emerged into a very different cityscape. Not the quotidian contrast of Edinburgh and Glasgow, but one with an additional skin. Glasgow had been temporarily turned into Philadelphia, for the filming of a zombie movie, released in 2013 as World War Z.

Glaswegians temporarily became tourists in their own city, having their photos taken with the Philadelphia street plans, signposts, and taxis. While Edinburgh was attracting thousands of visitors into its heart, Glasgow had transported itself 3000 miles away.

Coastal Shuffle

Piran CoachCentral Belt Shuffler has returned to her normal terrain, but – before the summer is over – would like fondly to report on another Slovene shuffle, though not on the train, but on the bus from Ljubljana to Piran.

Although the bus looks full of holiday-makers headed for the Slovenian and Croatian coastal destinations of Piran, Portoroz, Rovinj, and Pula (indeed it is), for Central Belt Shuffler, this was a work trip. This time, to interview a writer, former publisher and cultural policy-maker.

Piran vistaHe had invited me to the beautiful coastal town for lunch, and for an interview on his third-floor terrace, facing the shimmering seas of the Adriatic. Children played on the rocks below, a gentle breeze refreshed us (as did a glass of wine), and yachts and speedboats passed by. Nice work, if you can get it.

After a simple but delicious lunch (ending with fresh figs bought from an Albanian stall holder who asked that I bring him a Glasgow Rangers shirt next time I visit), I had some time to climb the old city walls, which afforded an even more stunning Museumvista over the town. The Museum of Underwater Activities lured me in, with the promise of Team Zissou-style adventure (though the reality was somewhat more prosaic).

Then, back to the bus station to wait in the hot early evening sun, ice-cream in hand, for the journey back to my temporary home.

Bus home