I didn’t have any plans for Day Eleven other than to spend more time wandering around Oxford, so I decided not to set an alarm (it is Sunday, after all) and to just sleep in … until 7:30. But since I was awake, I figured I should slowly start my morning ritual of un-zombie-fying myself and a couple of hours later, I was ready to face the world. My curiosity and a recommendation yesterday from B led me to visit the Ashmolean, “the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683” that contains “objects dating from 8000 BC to the present day.” I spent a couple of hours wandering through the various amazing collections before making my way to the Ashmolean Dining Room on the top floor for some tea. Eventually, it was time to wander on and I headed down Broad Street to Catte Street (noticing on the way that the bluebells have just begun to bloom) past the Bridge of Sighs, and into Radcliffe Square, passing the Radcliffe Camera.
My destination was the University Church, not for religious reasons, but because the views of Oxford offered from its tower are unbeatable. There was a queue with approximately a 25 minute wait when I got there and while that wasn’t a deterrent, I began to consider just how uncomfortable I am with narrow, winding stairs. After the girl in the gift shop confirmed that that was indeed what led up to the tower, I decided, sadly, that it was probably best to give it a miss. So I was off to wander some more, retracing part of yesterday’s walk back to the River Thames to visit the other Lewis spot from yesterday: a bench along the towpath.
As I sat on that bench, watching the river and people go by, I was joined by a couple who stopped and rested for awhile. We got to chatting and I learned they’re visiting Oxford – as they do every year – from the Lake District, and their faces lit up when I mentioned that I’d just come from there. After a bit of lovely conversation, they decided to resume their walk as a large tour group was heading our way. I sat and enjoyed the scenery a little while longer, but eventually, I couldn’t feel my face or my bum (it was very chilly), so reluctantly, I wandered back toward the centre of town, stopping into Alice’s Shop on the way, a store filled with all things Alice in Wonderland (This is, after all, Lewis Carroll territory). I made my way past the partially ruined Oxford Castle and the castle mound, which you can climb for £1. Since my plan to view Oxford from the top of the church tower didn’t work out, I paid a pound, but didn’t stay up very long as being up so high freaked me out more than I expected. After carefully making my way back down, I wandered around some more before stopping into Debenham’s to scout out luggage, since like with my last trip, I may have to buy another suitcase for the return journey; I haven’t really bought much at all, but I worry that PJ is over the 51 lbs weight limit. Luckily, Debenham’s is having a massive sale and if I get another suitcase, I’ll have room for Jaffa Cakes.