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.
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
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
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