Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oxford Abridged

Oxford is a melting pot. The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Britain, and one of the most ethnically diverse.

We alighted from the bus on Magdalene (pronounced maudlin) Street and waded into a sea of humanity. It was difficult to take in the sights since you didn't dare stop walking for fear of being run over. A very kind gentleman on the bus, corrected our pronunciation of the street we were on and directed us over a couple of blocks to what he referred to as the prettiest street in Oxford.  He wasn't wrong.

Catte Street turns off the High Street and takes you to the quintessential Oxford. Walking along, we passed All Souls College, the Codrington Library, the Radcliffe Camera (not something you take photos with), the Bodleian Library, Hertford College, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the Museum of the History of Science.

After walking for a bit we went to Debenham's for a cup of tea, and to check out the view from the 3rd floor. Back out on Magdalene Street we headed to the Ashmolean Museum.  The Ashmolean Museum (in full the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology) is the world's first university museum. Its first building was erected in 1678–1683 to house the cabinet of curiosities that Elias Ashmole gave to the University of Oxford in 1677. There is no charge to visit the museum, which I think is excellent!

After wandering through ancient, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and English artifacts, we decided to head over to the Lamb and Flag to try some Old Peculier which has been brewed by Theakston Brewery since 1890. We got their too late to order food, so we darted across the street and stopped in at the Eagle and Child pub.

The Eagle and Child, also referred to as the Bird and Baby, was a hangout for a writer's group called the Inklings, of which CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein were members. They were out of Guinness (why?) and so we settled for a half pint of Hobgoblin, which was not bad. We also ordered the roast sirloin with all the trimmings. It was nowhere near as good as what we had at Heligan, but it was hot and edible. After our meal break we had time to kill before catching the bus back to Banbury, so we wandered in and out of some shops, and then waited at the bus stop.

Now it's time to read, relax, and then try to sleep. (The beds are very firm.) Tomorrow we travel to Blenheim Palace to visit the Park and Gardens.

Stay tuned...

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