41/365: Vacation talk

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Photos, Places
Tags: , , ,

Topic for today: Describe your dream vacation.
Bonus topic: Describe your last vacation.

Got some bad news from home a little while back so not at all in a mood to dream away a vacation. Thus, I’ll take the easy way out and share a brief of my last (very short) vacation – the trip to Oxford.

Rags had a few days off towards end of December and wanted to get out of town. However, given the seasonal traffic rush and the backlogs caused by the heavy snow, flying out anywhere far was out of consideration. I had suggested Oxford to Rags a few times but she wasn’t interested in going to another ‘European’ city with beautiful buildings and nothing to do. That suddenly changed after she read Equinox, which is based around Oxford, and so we headed off to the university town.

Thanks to Google and Trip Advisor, planning the stay was easy. Oxford Tube & Oxford Express, have a bus each from London to Oxford every 15 mins, so travel planning was trivial. Of course, I didn’t even bother about these – Rags is the trip planner for us.

The trip itself was short and sweet. The town centre is beautiful in the way of, as Rags would say, all historical European towns. I liked it. What I liked even more was that the major streets in town centre were pedestrian. What I liked most was the high share of cycling in intra-town transportation. And this heavy cycling use was when the colleges were off on Christmas break and the temperature averaged around freezing. Just the idea of how widespread cycling is during summer made me deeply fond of Oxford.

Since we didn’t have our cycles with us, we walked around quite a bit – a lot more than necessary, Rags would say. Thankfully, the weather had cleared so I was able to get a few good views (sorting the photos right now to upload here and on flickr) – the beautiful cathedral inside Christ Church College, views of the town from top of tower of Univ Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Radcliffe Camera, the Bridge of Sighs and the Turf Tavern Pub next to it. Didn’t get to visit the Botanical gardens, Mesopotamia or any of they many other beautiful parks around.

Even though we were staying a fair walk away from the town centre, our friendly host more than made up for it – we had a hearty discussion about Scotland (he’s from lowlands south of Glasgow), football (he supports Toons and, obviously, hates Sunderland) and Rugby (he and Rags both exasperated how can people tackling and pushing each other be called a game :D). I also found interesting the impact of large student populations and cycling on the town’s popular culture – pubs with cycles hanging, direction boards pointing in directions of pubs marked ‘enlightenment’ and even a street called ‘Logic Lane’ :)

On the food front, discovered and loved a new item – the Cornish Pasty. I’d read about it before so when I found a shop selling them (and for most part, just them), I gladly tried some. Liked it and had a couple more over the 2 days we were there. Had brunch at what we thought was just another classy college cafe – Vaults and Garden. It was only later I learnt that Guardian listed it as one of the places to eat in Oxford. Lucky us ;)

Over all, a short trip made on the spur of moment turned out to be great introduction. Of course, we intend to take the relationship further by visiting the town a few more times before – at least one of those many trips to be on a bike.

There, the post is done. It still lacks a few photos. Specially, given that I’ve got about 400 photos from the trip and haven’t yet uploaded one. Hope to do that later tonight and then update the post. Sorry about that.



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