Sunday, October 23, 2016

London: Day 4

Bodleian Library
When planning this trip -- and there wasn't a whole lot of planning, other than buying tickets and arranging for the flat -- we talked about day trips.  With such a short time there, we only wanted to do one,m and one not too far away so as not to waste too much time on the train.

Mario's vote was for Oxford.  He wanted to see inside the libraries, look at some original illuminated manuscripts, and just see the setting for a ton of British movies.

I had been there before, but a long while back, and was happy to go again.  On the advice of a friend, we purchased our train tickets in advance (at somewhat of a discount -- if you're going, do it as early as you can).

The express train only took an hour, depositing us at the station just before 11 a.m.  We got our bearings and walked around town, fetching up at the Bodleian Library, repository of all the things Mario wanted to see.  They don't allow happy wanderers, however, and when offered the option of a tour or a solo trip down the street to the Weston Library to see the limited collection they had on display, he opted for that, figuring we could walk back for the tour if we still wanted to.

Interior courtyard
The collection was only limited in number, not in scope.  From an original Magna Carta to illuminated medieval texts to a 12th century map of Britain, along with other, more modern pieces, it satisfied his curiosity and we turned to see what else Oxford had to offer (a lot).

We spent an hour or so in the covered market, where I happily explored the butchers' and fishmongers' offerings -- things not for sale at home (pluck your own grouse, anyone?).

Mario found a cheesemonger and a nice block followed us back to our flat and got devoured that evening before bedtime.

Oxford from above
After a restorative cream tea at a pub, we headed for the Ashmolean Museum.  It was large and close to the train station, so we thought that we could fill the rest of the visit there and not have to watch the time too carefully, but alas, they were closed on Mondays.

Instead, we walked through town in the other direction, toward the Thames, encountering a 10th century tower (and climbing it -- amazing views of the city), watching a street performer with a dancing hawk, stopping in a Scottish woolens shop, where I tried on and fell in love with several pieces of Harris tweed, and finding and exploring Christ Church Cathedral and its lovely gardens.

Street musician & his hawk
We made it back to the station with 10 minutes to spare, and journeyed back to London tired and full of interesting sights.  (Plus a rainbow.  It didn't rain on our parade, but it must have somewhere).

Dinner that night was at a small Indian restaurant around the corner from the flat, only 8 tables, rather nondescript from the street, but possibly the best Indian food I've had -- at least since the last time I was in London.  **Per request, it was called the Golden Shalimar, on Spring Street near Paddington.

Afterward, we stopped at a corner shop for a bottle of beer and a tiny bottle of wine, which we consumed with our cheese, sitting cross-legged on the bed, discussing our day and catching up on the latest election news (the 2nd debate was the night before, so we indulged in a little politics before sleep, probably not the best thing for our digestion).

English gardening at its prettiest

Another view of the gardens

Pluck your own dinner

Meat pies at the covered market

The Thames in Oxford

Beautiful timbered building


Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds amazing. What is the name and location of the Indian restaurant, please. I'm always on the lookout for a great Indian meal and would love to have something to look forward to on my next trip to London.

Karen said...

It was called the Golden Shalimar, on Spring Street near Paddington Station.

Irene said...

I am really enjoying this armchair travelogue! Don't know when I'll get the chance to go anywhere (if ever), but it's such a pleasure to read about the sights and to see pictures.

Catherine said...

This is so wonderful to live vicariously thorough your travels. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

annie said...

Oxford is the best. I spent some time there studying. When you mentioned the covered market and cheese I remembered my first experience with Reblochon. Thanks for the pictures and some great memories.

Vicki said...

Oxford looks fascinating. So English in a lovely way.