Weekend Getaway

Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
Trip End Sep 17, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, April 29, 2011

Hi All,

I'm the first to admit that I never saw the UK as a great tourist destination. When I moved to the UK I saw it more as the gateway to Europe and a place that allowed me to work and speak my own lanaguage an still travel.

Four years later and I'm still living the UK. Somthing that when I started my journey I never envisioned so I figured that it was about time I stopped to see the beautiful city I live in and the surrounding aread. The royal wedding gave me the perfect opportunity to get out and about. Two bank holidays on top of the weekend meant four days of freedom. I spent the Friday roaming around Oxford where I live as unlike me Laurent had to work that day.

To set the scene Laurent and I have a small apartment that is city centre in Oxford. It literally couldnt get more central as its only a two minute walk to the high street. I look out my kitchen window and I can see the back of the Oxford castle.

The town is really quaint, the main shopping road is always swamped with touriss but the minute you step off the road it takes on a whole new feeling. I love the cobbled streets and building older thank my whole country, its history come to life. I have two favourite in all of Oxford, the first is the Radcliffe Camera, the round building stands amid a green field and just seems so grand and elegant. It's part of the old Bodleian library.

My second favourite building is just acorss from the Old Oxford University Press-Home of the Oxford English Dictionary and world's largest producer of the King James bible. It's a bar called Frevd and is an ld decommissioned Greek orthodox church. It's old and falling to bits but with candlelight and stained glass windows its just beautiful and if I ever got married it would be high on my list of venues. It's old worldy and romantic and eeir all in one.

I love all the old colleges and in particular Christchurch college. It's on of the oldest in Oxford and is set between a meadow and the river It happens to be home to the dining room in the Harry Potter movies and more recenty Masterchef. Every weekend there are hundreds of tourists queueing to to get in to take a peek not to see the old building but see where Harry Potter once ate.

The meadow was full th the brim of happy picnicers and I must admit I sat down for a wee rest and woke up three hours later. On the river you see the athletes practicing their rowing and it just seems so pictureque. To me the town most similr to Christchurch back home..or at least the way it was pre earthquake.

After my doze in the park I returned home to meet Laurent and prepare for the first and hopefully not last barbeque of the season. When the sun shines England is beautiful and Oxford in particular a million miles away from the concrete jungle that is London.

The following day Laurent and I packed the car and headed for a roadtrip down south to stay in Southampton for a few nights. It was where Laurent studied at University so gave me a taste of what his life was like while studying.

The town to me was like any other, it had a large mall with the usual oversealous teenagers but what it did have was some old ruins, a giant Freddie Mercury statue and several memorials for teh Titanic which set sail from Southampton many moons ago. Laurent's interesting fact of the day was that Kanya West was from Southampton but I'm not so sure on that, isnt he American? We spent the evening having a few drinks and dinner on the trendy Oxforrd St home to independant restaurants, pubs and bard. It had some dodgy streets in the walk home to the hotel, but honestly what city doesnt?

The next day we figured we should make the most of the warm weather and head to nearby Bournemouth for a taste of the traditional British seaside resort. It was really quaint with the little coloured changing cabins for hire, stripy deck chairs and a sead f wind breakers while the atmosphere was supercharged with excited youngsters it just made me  appreciate how lucky I am coming from a country where you can have a stunning beach to yourself and not have to share it a thousand others.

We left the beach much earier than expected and headed to the quaint New Forest village of Lyndhurst, gosh was it cute. Buildings with thatched roofs and narrow roads and parks with roaming wild horses. It was absolutely beautiful and when I felt the pull to dive into a couple of the local antique shops too see what treasures hid inside I realised how much like my mother I am.

Instead of retiring to Southampton we headed to Portsmouth for dinner and again had a few drinks while soaking in the view at Gunquay wharf. The large Spinnaker was amazing to watch change colours after the sun had set.

On our last day we decided to hhead to the Isle of Wight just a short 50 minute ferry ride away. We had good weather for our first couple of hours but unfortunately it was quick to disappear. We visited local winery and had a tasting before heading to the Garlic Farm to see the largest garlic grown outside of North America. Needless to say thhis activity was my choice seeing Kaurent hates the stuff but I had a ball. We headed to the famous Needles ot take some photos. I fast came to realise that despite the island being beautiful whhen teh sun was shining that this could very qucikly become isolating and could potentiatlly be a bit depressing when the sun went down. Its funny how the weater can change the atmosphere of things so quickly.

After our ferry ride it was time to head back home and prepare for the next day at work. Out mini break was just what the doctor had ordered and I'm pleased I have made the effort to start discovering whats on my doorstep, after all I have the chance to visit places that people back home dream of.

It's only three weeks until my next weekend trip away to Geneva...watch this space!
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