Oxford Scholars

Trip Start Oct 14, 2010
Trip End Nov 07, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well it had been a very busy and stressful few weeks...Tasha having a tough time searching for work and Steve wishing sometimes that he was searching for work...

We decided that we needed a break, a change of scenery! The idea of Oxford seemed an idea as good as any and Tasha booked us in! A look over the schedules and prices and we decided it would be a train out and a bus back. A day trip!

An early Sunday morning, very early in fact, luckily it had been a quiet night the night before! Always a casually slow start on a Sunday morning, helped a little by a couple of coffee stops on the way. We made our way to Paddington station for an early connection out to Oxford. Oxford is West of London and with a couple of minor hiccups on the way we arrive at Oxford around 90 minutes later.

When you step out of the station at Oxford the first thing you notice is that next to the train station there are literally hundreds of bicycles moored at the station...it resembles Amsterdam...even more so as we start to walk towards the city centre. If the bicycles aren't parked somewhere they are being ridden around everywhere...not just by the large student population but clearly the older locals as well.

Oxford has a population of around 160,000, perhaps the size of a Bendigo...similar distance from the capital too...however, as many as 20,000 of these are represented by the student population, attending one of the campuses amongst the vast Oxford University. As we walk around the streets, the architecture already, is absolutely amazing! The most impressive of the buildings belong to the immense University...some of the remaining older buildings are also the churches.

We covered plenty of ground...went to the remnants of Oxford Castle, circa 1070...not that there is much left...and any of the remaining foundations exist next to what is truly a town planning disaster! A boring looking 1960's construction housing an office block. It never ceases to amaze me how poorly managed some of the town planning is in England...how anyone can approve some of the nonsense that goes on directly adjacent to centuries old architecture is beyond me!

As we continue to wander around you begin to take for granted what is some seriously impressively old masonry! I am certain there are some great ghost stories to be told out of a few of these back alleys! Would be interesting in the evening I imagine! We consulted our little Oxford guide to take some advice on a good stop for lunch. Plenty of pubs around, for many of which, once had their own extensive brewing regime. There is little to no brewing that still takes place in Oxford but still plenty of good watering holes, all with their own stories and tales, many of which involving ghosts! We opted for the less ghouly versions, trying for the Eagle and Child...but as it was busy settling on the Lamb and Flag. Both of which are owned by one of the schools so profits go towards funding academic scholarships...glad we could do our bit with a couple of pints and a Sunday roast...hopefully it doesn't contribute towards another future Tory prime minister...grrr.

Highlights of the morning walk started with the High Street with St Michaels Tower at one end, the oldest buidling in Oxford, dating back to the Saxons in around 1040. A climb of the 13th Century Carfax Tower at the opposite end shows off the stunning views of Oxford allowing you to find your bearings. Between the two towers you have the interesting if not a little weird site of some amazing medieval facades, only containing many of the big franchises...Pret, Mobile World, Nerro Coffee...town planning gone a little mad again! Radcliffe Camera, Christ Church and Magdalen College and Bridge amongst the more impressive stops.

After lunch it was to the History Museum...featuring some really impressive dinosaur skeletons...another of the regions more famous features! And I'm a sucker for a bit of dinosaur action...just a big kid really! It wasn't all that long before the walking became a little much and we had worked up a thirst again (pretty easy for me!)...another of the novelty stops has to be the Bear...the oldest pub in Oxford, dating back to 1242...couldn't imagine too many squeezing in here on uni night but a pretty impressive little sight with a couple of stellar ales on tap!

We stayed put for a little before eventually making our way back to intercept our bus for the trip back. A couple of hours back on a nice coach, sleeping most of the way...

A great day out and a good distraction...!!

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Bron & Anth on

Great to hear an update guys! Hang in there Tash, I'm sure luck will turn around soon and you'll be hanging out for holidays again! We loved our little taste of Oxford while we were campervan hunting too, what an interesting place. Catch up soon xx

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