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Report 2023: Two Weeks in the Cotswolds and London

By Deva from USA, Fall 2012

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Page 5 of 15: Day Five: Oxford

Another beautiful day of sun, blue skies, puffy clouds, and no rain. We surely did win the weather lottery!

I went out to ramble around town, picking us up pastries from a French shop. After our breakfast, we caught the bus to MiM, where we then took the train (we bought tickets at the station, very easily) to Oxford! Between bus and train this was a lot of travel for a single day, but it was worth it. Next to Chipping Campden, Oxford was probably my favorite place we visited during this week of our trip. The train station itself was rather hectic, but once we walked up to the university area, I fell in love. The towers, the hidden college squares, the narrow twisting streets. It helped that Oxford is associated with so many of my beloved literary works and authors (Tolkien and Lewis, and more recent works by Laurie King and Connie Willis, to name a few).

It was also a special day as I was able to meet up with a friend I know from online for the first time. She lives near the city, and suggested we meet for lunch at Turl Street Kitchen. This was conveniently near the Bodleian Library, so we stopped in there first to pick up tickets for a tour later that afternoon.

Turl Street Kitchen was delightful -- a modern, airy, open space with absolutely delicious food. This was one of the best meals of the trip for me. I had a casserole with butternut squash, potato, and cheese, with a side salad. So good! I wished I had the appetite for dessert!

After a lovely visit, my friend went her own way, and Bob and I returned to the library for our tour. The tour itself was rather dry and tedious in places, but it was the only way to see Duke Humphrey’s library, which I had very much wanted to visit. It was all I hoped it would be: mysterious and full of beautiful old books, and busy students hard at work!

The Divinity School was also gorgeous, and fun to see as it was used as a set in the Harry Potter movies! But I think I most loved just walking around the interior quadrangle of the Bodleian, looking up at the towering stony heights, and the small doorways with their old labels in Latin: Schola Metaphysicae, etc.

After our tour, we bought some souvenirs at the lovely gift shop, then proceeded on to explore more of the town. I really did wish I had more time in Oxford! As it was, we had only time to visit one college. I chose Magdalen, as this was where C S Lewis lived as a student, and I wanted to visit Addison’s Walk, a trail along the river where Lewis and Tolkien would walk and talk. If we had had more time I would have loved to go punting too!

Eventually we had to head back to catch our train. We stopped at the covered market, which was full of all sorts of interesting shops. I got a cookie from Ben’s Cookies, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, and a cupcake from a cake shop that was so dry and tasteless I threw it out after one bite. Bob’s Cadbury Cream Egg milkshake from Moo Moos was much better -- worth waiting in the huge and rather confusing line.

Back home we had takeaway from the Maharaja, watching Notting Hill (the apartment was provided with a collection of England-based DVDs).

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