Oh Oxford…

Two weekends ago, Ellie and I decided to check out Oxford.

We spent the night at George’s moms on Friday night in Barnet which is north London, zone 6. She cooked us a nice dinner and we did our laundry and watched TV and lazed about and on Saturday, we rushed to the train station around noon to get onboard. When we got to the station, we printed out the wrong train tickets, which should have been a precursor for the day as when we arrived in Oxford amongst the chain restaurants and spires of the college, we tried to check into the wrong hostel. The girls at the hostel were very nice Canadians and explained to us that they get it all the time as they are the central backpackers and we needed the oxford backpackers. So after locating our correct hostel, the girl at the front desk, another Canadian, informed us that we had booked a 4 bed all female dorm when we though we had booked the 10 bed mixed gender dorm. Regardless, we took the room, checked it out and then threw our stuff down.

The rest of the day was spent aimlessly walking around Oxford, checking out the shopping district. Oxford is very chain oriented and I am not sure if that is because it’s a college town or what, but it was less enjoyable to see a McDonalds or gap or starbucks on every corner as well as the british chains. I prefer smaller stores that are unique to the area and have some local character.

The one thing we found that was amazing was this indoor market. It had every kind of store you can imagine. A cake store, an olive store, butchers, clothing stores, the cutest little vegetarian restaurant and the best cookies we have ever tasted in our lives. Unfortunately the market was not open on Sundays, same as most things in England. So we could only explore it for an hour or so, but on the way out bought a double chocolate chip cookie that I am still thinking about.

We also went to the Oxford Modern Art museum. They were having an art contest at the time so the gallery was a bit too cluttered but it was a wide range of art, but not nearly as powerful as the modern art in Bristol.

We walked around Oxford University for a while and it was absolutely the most beautiful university I have ever seen. Oxford is called the city of dreaming spires because of the architecture of the universities. It is hard to imagine that students actually claimed these buildings as their school. It certainly made UCF look dingey, but that is not surprising considering that Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world. Movies such as Harry Potter and the Golden Compass have been filmed at Oxford.

Afterwards, we got some dinner and cocktails and then we went back to the hostel to freshen up a bit before we hit the town. There were some odd people staying in this hostel, including this old man who must have been 55 and he was this small wrinkled old thing who was sprawled out on the couch sleeping and then this woman who looked like a 15 year old from the back but when she turned around It was like a horror
film as she appeared to be 60. We changed our clothes and then decided to grab some snake bites. The only problem is that apparently in places outside of London, they don’t sell snake bites. I am not sure if that is law but they always say, ” we are not allowed to make them.” We need to check into that, as a snake bite is just beer mixed with cider with some blackcurrant juice on top, not some lethal combination that will make you explode from the inside out. We had some pints at a couple of crappy pubs and then realized we forgot the code to get back in the hostel and the reception closes at midnight so we went back thinking we would get the code and come back out.

Just some fun getting ready in the hostel:

When we got back we met our two new roommates, Marita and Isabel. Both are originally from South Germany and we got along really well with both of them. They have recently moved to England around the same time as us. Marita lives in Essex which is a suburb outside of London and Isabel lives in Cornwall. Both are here teaching German and have education degrees. We ended up all sitting on our beds, talking about education, the school system and about home. Isabel is really familiar with Florida as she toured it for four weeks. She’s been to both St. Augustine and Key West, as well as Orlando, Miami, Gainesville (where she thought it was fun how much team spirit the gators had) and Tampa. They told us some places we should go in Germany as well as invited us to a beer festival that happens in their town at the end of May.

The next morning, Ellie and I took a walk along the Thames which runs through Oxford as well as London. It was peaceful and then we found this tower thing and paid the 2 pounds to climb to the top to see the spires of the city.

The tower

The view:

Afterwards, we met Marita and Isabel for a Sunday roast at a pub, their first one and then we joined them for amazing ice cream. We got some cream flavoured one mixed with chocolate and it was delicious. Their trains were leaving afterwards so we hugged our new friends and hoped that we would meet up with them in Germany sometime.

We did some shopping and then decided that we were better off catching an earlier bus so we caught our double decker bus and sprawled across the last row of seats on top until the bus conductor yelled at us over the microphone in front of everybody to get up and put our seat belts on. Who can blame us for trying to catch up on sleep?


1 Response to “Oh Oxford…”

  1. 1 Sara Elizabeth February 7, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Thank G-d for pictures of Kelly dancing.

    That is all.

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