Another British Ramble – Day Eight

Distance Walked: 4.5 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 6 (I’m including the salmon and toast I had for breakfast)

Writing Soundtrack: The Music Man (watched – minimised in the bottom of the screen – while typing)

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

Another day in Oxford, another breakfast at the Vaults and Garden with a view of the Radcliffe Camera, after which I walked to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. I’d visited it on my last trip, but a month earlier in the year so I was curious to see the difference in what was blooming. Yes, I was mainly hoping for bluebells and I was not disappointed, even seeing a more purpleish-pinkish variation I never had before. I was also greeted by some golden poppies in the arid greenhouse (the California state flower that my front yard is filled with some 5,800 miles away) which made me smile. The Botanic Garden here is the smallest of the ones I’ve visited, but beautifully situated along the River Cherwell near the Magdalen Bridge and it’s an absolutely lovely place to wander for a couple of hours. Another favourite lovely nearby wander is the Christ Church Meadow Walk along the Cherwell, Thames (Isis), and (obviously) the Christ Church College Meadow. And I’d like to thank the gentleman sharing my bench along the Thames for tossing the last of his sandwich bread to the web-footed locals as he left which caused them to swarm (and stand and give me the stink eye for minutes on end when they realised that I had nothing to share with them). 😳

There’s delicious food to be had at Quod on Oxford’s High Street (and the apple tart is quite a yummy dessert).


Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 15

Distance travelled: 7.15 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 13 (but I also had salmon sushi for dinner so one could argue that salmon meals stand at 14)

Day Fifteen was my last full day in Oxford and even though I don’t leave until tomorrow afternoon, the thought of having to say goodbye makes me sad. I let myself sleep in again this morning and like yesterday, was on my way to breakfast at the Vaults and Garden around 10 am. The sun wasn’t out, but since it wasn’t raining, I couldn’t resist sitting outside to enjoy the view of the Radcliffe Camera again.

After breakfast, I went to the post office to mail home that box filled with Jaffa Cakes and caramel biscuits. They were busy again (I have a feeling that post office, being in the Oxford City Centre, is always busy), but it wasn’t too long until I was back on St. Aldate’s, heading toward the River Thames. I’d decided to dedicate as much time today as necessary to walk down to Iffley Lock, a location from my favourite episode of Inspector Lewis (“The Ramblin’ Boy”) that a friend showed me the way too during my visit last year. It’s just over a two mile walk each way along the tow path and I wasn’t in any hurry as I made my way along the river, stopping on my journey at a horse-filled meadow for a few minutes (although they were busy eating and ignored me).

I reached “The Bridge” at Iffley Lock and after snapping lots of photos, sat on a bench to watch the ducks for awhile (there were lots of ducks and I’m not sure who was more fascinated, me or them). 

After enjoying a trail mix bar and some water, I made my way back along the towpath, past the horses (who had either disappeared or all turned into geese), and across the Thames, deciding to take the daffodil path along the Cherwell again as a longer means of getting back to the Broad Walk at Christ Church College. After stopping at Paperchase for a luggage tag (funny that my luggage makes it to my destinations but my luggage tags don’t seem to), I headed to the Ashmolean Museum with the intention of seeing some of the exhibits I didn’t get to last year, but found it difficult with it as crowded as it was. So, I didn’t stay particularly long, visiting the museum shop before stopping at Boots and then Wasabi for some take away sushi for dinner (something not Costa), making my way back to my hotel via Market Street, Brasenose Lane, and Radcliffe Square.

Tomorrow I return to London for the final stop on my trip, one last week which I know will fly by no matter how desperately I wish time would slow down.

More Busy Wanderings: Another Big British Adventure – Day 12

Day Twelve was another long and busy day, so here’s another post that’s a day late. I had decided to take the bus back to Bampton, the village that’s used as the filming location of the village of Downton on Downton Abbey. I’d visited on a lovely sunny day last year – luckily timing it between filming days and tour groups – and thought perhaps I’d get as lucky again, able to wander around a second time without looking like quite so much of a tourist or crazed fangirl. So on a sunny Monday morning, I left the hotel, stopped into Pret a Manger for a (salmon) sandwich to eat later, and headed for the bus stop just around the corner on George Street, catching the 18 bus to Bampton. As was the case last year, the ride through the Oxfordshire countryside on a bus was quite an adventure, especially when passing through the various villages along the way – which have very narrow roads. After about an hour, the bus arrived in Bampton and I alighted near the church, a location that appears quite frequently in Downton Abbey, my favourite instance being for the wedding of Mr. Charles Carson and Mrs. Elsie Hughes, my two favourite characters (see posts about West Wittering and Bampton from last year’s trip for the full extent of my “Chelsie” – Charles+Elsie – fangirl madness). Luckily, I had managed to visit on another quiet day in the village, the only people about being a few locals here and there. I wandered around the village for awhile, revisiting the church, Church Gate House (“Crawley House”), and the Bampton library (the exterior of which is used as Downton Cottage Hospital), eventually settling on the bench on the green between all three to eat my sandwich.  

Having been before and Bampton not being particularly big, I didn’t stay too long and caught the next bus back to Oxford. The bus stopped right in front of Debenham’s and I popped up to the top floor to buy another suitcase for the flight home (a small, cabin-sized spinner that should be just about perfect for holding the few souvenirs I’m planning to buy during the rest of my stay as well as some things from PJ so that she isn’t over BA’s luggage weight limit). After dropping the newest member of my travel family at the hotel, I headed south back to the Lewis bench along the river, determined to enjoy the location on a sunny day for once. And wouldn’t you know, it was overcast by the time I’d walked there, a journey of only about ten minutes. But, I sat and enjoyed the River Thames for awhile, watching the ducks and geese do what Oxford ducks and geese do … you know, ducky, geesy things. Eventually, I began to make my way back, wandering north along the Christ Church Meadow Walk which affords beautiful views of Oxford’s spires and follows the River Cherwell, the banks of which were covered in swatches of bright yellow daffodils.        

After passing a mob of teenagers on a fleet of punts, the majority of which were screaming at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason, I passed Christ Church and Merton colleges, making my way through Radcliffe Square and back to the hotel for a bit of downtime before it was time to meet B for dinner and a night of theatre at the Oxford Playhouse, a wonderful production of Alan Bennett’s Single Spies starring Nicholas Farrell, Belinda Lang, and David Robb (another Downton Abbey fangirl favourite of mine). Shy and nervous as heck, but bolstered by having a friend with me, I waited at the stage door after the show finished and he very graciously stopped for a brief “Hello” (I think I managed not to swoon too badly, but I can’t be sure). After walking back to St. Michael’s Street, B and I said our goodbyes (thanks for a lovely visit, B!) and I just managed to get ready for bed before dropping off to sleep after a long and fun-filled day.