Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day Trip to Oxford

In front of the Radcliffe Camera  
We took a day trip to Oxford one weekend in September.  Since we'd been to Cambridge twice (on this trip and our previous trip), we wanted to show N. this other historic English university city.  And I spent my entire undergraduate junior year at Oxford as an Associate Student of New College, so I knew the city quite well at one point in my life.  I was eager to see it again, to see how well I remembered it, and to show N. around.

We walked through the town center and walked by many colleges and down little lanes.  We saw the Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, the Hertford College "bridge of sighs" (which, as I expected, N. loved), University Church of St. Mary's, Christ Church Meadow, The Turf Tavern.  It wasn't yet term time, so there was just a smattering of students among the tourists thronging the streets, but I enjoyed telling N. about how in just a week or so the intersections would be packed 50-deep with students on bicycles in the mornings as they rode from their digs to lectures or libraries.  We peered in the gates of many colleges, but balked at paying the entry fees for visitors.  It turned out that Lincoln College didn't charge admission, so N. got a good sense from touring Lincoln of these charmed little worlds with their narrow staircases, lofty dining halls, and ancient chapels.

We spent a long time in Blackwells bookstore, which I was sorry to find is not nearly as comprehensive as I recall (I bought so many books there my junior year!); as in all bookstores, books have yielded floor space to an internal coffee shop.  But N. bought a couple Tintin books and he and Tim happily browsed the music section.

We didn't get to some of the prime highlights, such as the Ashmolean Museum or Duke Humphry's Library in the Bodleian.  N. would have enjoyed both of these, but between early closing times and all our wandering and browsing elsewhere, we ran out of time!  Oh well.

We had a lovely, memorable "cream tea" -- N.'s first! -- at a little cafe near Christ Church.  Later we scrambled to find somewhere quick and cheap to eat supper before catching our train back to London.  We are always terrible at finding restaurants; the hungrier we (I!) get, the more impossible it becomes to make a decision that will satisfy all three of us.  I took us to FREUD, a cafe-bar far from the city center (Jericho neighborhood) in an old church (N. would love this!) but discovered they stopped serving food at 4:30.  Then the well-known pubs (such as The Eagle and Child, C.S. Lewis's haunt) were too crowded to serve us before 7 pm when children were no longer allowed (not a problem I had to worry about in my student days!).  We finally chose a cafe, ate quickly, and hurried back to the train station in the rain -- a rather hectic conclusion to an otherwise leisurely day.

Christ Church

Freud cafe-bar, where we did not eat supper.

1 comment:

CMR said...

No photo of Abingdon rd? ;-)