Oxford is a 3.5 hours bus ride from Manchester but the tour group had taken a 45 minutes toilet break in between, making the journey longer than absolutely necessary. It pissed quite a few of us to lose those precious moments of daylight but hey, you’ve got to adapt to whatever you’re given.
We arrived at half past twelve. Oxford greeted me solemnly, a vast contrast from the warm Stratford-upon-Avon (though I’ll have to keep in mind to not compare them so harshly). It was raining, making everything wet and the atmosphere gloomy. To be honest, it was somewhat the kind of England I had in mind when reading the literature classics, so perhaps it had the benefit of lending me an ‘authentic’ English feel.
Must *feeling-feeling* also you know. 😛
Walking around Oxford is like stepping into an entirely different world/era/social class. The buildings are old yet have a dignified feel. They’re massive structures which emit the vibes of having stood their ground for centuries, self-assured of their roles in churning out the elites of the world.
There aren’t any obvious attempts to ‘modernise’ on the exterior; on the surface everything seemed like it is in the past. Some looked… crumbly even. Thankfully, the interior of majority of the buildings has been kept up to date with central heating, electricity, proper plumbing system and the likes! If not… yikes! 😛
There are so many things to remember about this trip, I don’t quite know how to organise these memories. Perhaps it’ll be best to just do it in chronological order… And in a series of entries.
But before all that jazz, let me remember a crucial part of the day: my travel partner.
Allison is a fellow exchange student from Missouri, USA, who is staying a couple of door away from me. We clicked in the first few days of meeting each other a couple of weeks ago, both being avid fans of literature and *cough cough* Harry Potter. She is an incredible sweetheart who has a good head and heart, with an open and matured worldview to boot.
We didn’t actually plan on visiting Oxford together but when we found out we’d both bought tickets for the same trip, it just made sense to go together!
The moment we arrived in Oxford, we broke away from the group and started wandering off on our own. A friend had suggested to us earlier to visit an old pub that… wait for it… C. S. Lewis & J. R. R. Tolkien used to hang out at while they were studying in Oxford so… THAT was the first thing we hunted down! (Plus we were starving and needed to chow down food asap! 😛 )
But of course, there’s always time for photos along the way! Finally found a decent phone booth to take a picture with – mandatory beb! Oh and I felt like such a preppy kid, with the satchel and all. 😛
Anyway, I’ve digressed…
limited map-reading and navigational skills, we managed to find the pub in good time!
I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT THE MOMENT I STEPPED FOOT IN IT!
It’s the narrowest pub I’ve been to and was extremely cosy. Popular too, from the bustling energy in it. We couldn’t even get a proper table!
To top it off, I had the best cheese melts sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. (This, after making sure they made it with no alcohol in the batter, so calm down your horses.)
Insanely good, I tell you! Well worth the £5 I spent on it. 😛
But it wasn’t really the food that intrigued me. It was the whole idea that the pub has been in existence for such a long time AND it used to be the hangout place of two of the most notable writers in English literature.
I mean… Seriously. Just sitting in the pub felt surreal.
I am such a sucker for these kinda walking-in-someone’s-footsteps history thingies and hey, I’m not ashamed of it. 😉
There was a walking tour of Oxford scheduled at 1.30pm but since we were too engrossed in enjoying the atmosphere and the meal, we decided to give it a miss. Hey, since we’re a duo, might as well explore on our own, right?
I fell in love with the buildings – so much detail!
We eventually found ourselves at Christ Church College – one of the many colleges in Oxford University – but that requires an entire entry devoted to itself. Trust me.
Till next time, live your life! ❤