Wednesday, January 11, 2012

12 Dec 2011 Monday - Oxford

We took the 9.21 am train from Paddington to Oxford ( 26 GBP return / offpeak with F&F railpass ) , a 50 min train ride west of London. Despite weather warnings, Oxford was resplendent in glorious sunshine and vibrant with the youthful energy of young people in the little college town. It was odd to see among Victorian buildings, lots of Chinese and the occasional  Singapore accented English could be heard if we listened hard enough.

We walked from the train station to the main thoroughfare at George Street. I decided to ditch plans of the free tours by and opted to snoop around town, since we were already hungry and could not bear the thought of following a walking tour on empty stomachs. We went up the cupola of the Sheldonian theatre, the graduation hall built by Christopher Wren, located opposite the Bodlein College. ( 2.50 / 1 GBP ) It offered a nice view of Oxford's dreaming spires even  though Sheldonian is not the tallest in town. The only disappointment is that it is not an open air viewing gallery.

We had our first pub lunch at the touristy White Horse, opposite the theatre. English food of toad-in-the-hole, meat pie and vegetable  quiche were pretty good and not as salty as I feared. We had carbohydrate overload, with mash and crispy chips. The bill came up to a hefty 30 GBP ; I should have tried the quieter but cheaper ( ? )  Kings Arms.

Radcliff Camera
Then it was time for  a walk around the town center. We visited the Radcliff Camera, Bodlein library premises, both stunning places of learning which made me envy those who studied there. Down Catte St, w e turned to High St and took in the grand facade of Christ Church college. Now at 3pm, we decided against a paid  visit to Christ Church College. Instead we looked at the cows grazing across the college , then looped around Merton Grove and Magpie Lane before ending back at High St. Mr G guest starred in photo shoots in front of the Christchurch Cathedral.

Christ Church College
Past Corpus Christi, we rejoined High St and made a short vi sit to the Covered Market ,where we had our second cupcake this holiday ( the first at Covent Garden ). It was pretty good at a decent price of 1.60GBP. Down Cornmarket St, we traced  our steps back to George St and visited miles of Blackwell books and music, Oxford stores, by the end of which we were proud owners of 2 huge bags of cloths, T shirts and books.

Oxford is not a place for mush heads
For the Oxford finale, we had tea and scones with clotted cream at Coffee Republic. It was not the greatest English tea experience but nevertheless our first, despite our many visits to the country. The cream was rich and scones milky . What would make the experience complete would be Wedgewood chinaware and loose leaf tea instead of bags.

As scheduled, we took the 5.31 pm train from Oxford to London's Paddington, an uneventful hour ride. We wound up the day, dinning at home after carting 15 GBP worth of dinner stuff from Waitrose.

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