I’m back from my long weekend in Glasgow, Scotland.
The West End, where I stayed, is a vibrant and attractive part of the city, with the River Kelvin running through it on its way downhill to join the much larger River Clyde.
It’s home to ‘the’ university, though there are other universities in other parts of town. Besides the dreaming spires, you’ll find the Botanical Gardens (where I learnt a lot about carnivorous plants) and various other attractions.
On the advice of Marion, a club member, my daughter and I took in the main attraction at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, a 1951 painting by Salvador Dali.
Beh, maybe you have to be religious to get the point. I’m not. But entry is free, at least, and it was a cold day.
After the art, we sat comfortably in the warmth of what is unarguably an impressive example of ninteenth century bling. There was an organ recital going on.
Rested, we poked around the museum, which has lots to discover.
I liked the section on Scottish wildlife and would have spent more time there, but my daughter was getting politely twitchy. Did you know that rabbits were introduced to Britain by the Normans? For meat and fur? Neither did I.
In any case, I was keen to see the fascinating exhibition of armour and swords: rapiers, small swords, broadswords, an aborigine sword made from wood, a Polynesian sword, also wood but edged with sharks’ teeth, and so on.
Full of culture, it was time to explore the pubs and eateries!
Over the weekend I ate (in approximate order) a black pudding sausage roll (basically, a day’s worth of calories for about three dollars), Vietnamese food at the well-known Hanoi Bike Shop, various attempts at the perfect bacon roll, then finally, Korean food in a little back street place staffed by Scots but patronised by Asian students.
I’d link to it – as the food seemed authentic, was tasty, and cost much less than I expected – but I have no idea what it was called or exactly where it was. Guess you’ll have to seek it out for yourself!
I flew into Scotland from Italy via Edinburgh airport. Edinburgh is on the east coast of the country. Getting across to Glasgow, a little way in from the west coast, took approximately an hour by frequent and friendly airport bus, and cost less than we had paid on a previous visit for a taxi from Edinburgh airport into Edinburgh itself.
Edinburgh is, of course, Scotland’s main attraction. But that makes it touristy and probably more costly to rent rooms in.
Whereas Glasgow, just a short bus ride away, is a more worldly alternative. Definitely one to cross off your bucket list, if you can.
And so, back to business.
Monday’s post about re-doing our ‘School Finder’ section, Lovingly-crafted by interns, produced a good response. Thanks to everyone who contacted me with suggestions.
One particularly helpful woman, whose name now escapes me but she’ll know who she is, checked all the links from her city and concluded that none of the ‘schools’ actually existed.
I checked, and she was right! They were all agencies, none of them ‘real’ schools or offering actual face-to-face language teaching in the area.
I checked other cities and found the same thing. Agencies, agencies, agencies, barely a genuine school, course or teacher amongst them.
So, yesterday afternoon, I went through and deleted them all.
Take a look at the UK page (even if you’re not from the UK) as an example:
What remains are the links that actually lead to something that looked credible, plus the information that club members have sent me since Monday.
OK, it’s ugly like this, but a much better basis for going forward than a list of fake schools that’ll just confuse people.
So far I’ve only done the UK and Ireland pages (Ireland now has its own page!) and not touched the rest of the world.
But the plan is this – send in your suggestions (criteria below). As they accumulate, I’ll take a look at your country, deleting all the obvious commercial crap and any dead links, and adding your recommendations.
So what will then be left will be a genuine overview of what Italian teaching is available in your area, for anyone who might be interested.
Criteria for (free) inclusion?
Anything LOCAL – that is to say, private language schools (like mine), adult education courses, freelance teachers offering their own groups or individual lessons, that sort of thing.
That doesn’t exclude national chains with a teaching location in your city, if there are any. But they have to be actually offering courses themselves. I’ll be looking for details of WHERE the teaching is done.
Got that? If you’ve taken a course in your town, or know of a local teacher who would value the publicity, then email me the details. If nothing else, it’s a way to do your teacher a good turn.
Where people have added comments (see the UK page above for examples), I’ve included those, too. I’ll only be adding positive comments, asssuming I get any – nothing denigrating, as making a living teaching languages to adults is quite hard enough already.
One day we may end up with a genuine ‘Online Italian Club Guide’ to places you can learn Italian.
That’s the idea anyway. Do take a look, then send your ideas.
And if you don’t see your town, city or state?
Don’t let that stop you. I’ll find a way to add your info.
Start from the ‘countries list’ here (remember it’s very much a work in progress…)
And one last thing – don’t forget to take a look at Tuesday’s Easy Italian News, which is back online after the 8th December holiday.
A venerdì, allora.