Today is our first official free day so I have decided to visit Rachum in Oxford. This was all rushed because when I checked the night before nothing came up. I was afraid that the bank holiday and strike meant that nothing was leaving. Thank God I was wrong and I was able to high tail it over to Paddington for a quick train out. I had just enough time to stop and get a yogurt, blueberries, and a coffee for the trip over. One of the best breakfasts I have had here.
I'm so excited to be going to Oxford to see Rachel because we have not seen each other since Pakistan in 2010 for Selu's wedding. It's a semi-semi-reunion for Flat 4AB!
Rachel picks me up from the airport and we go straight to her house so I can lighten my load before we see the Oxford sights. I have been to Oxford before but I didn't really know what to look for or where to go. This time I have an Oxford grad to show me her stomping grounds.
On our walk to her house, we had to take detour because the Oxford Park that she wanted us to walk through was closed and Police were all over the entrances to the park. We have no idea what's going on, hopefully they will open the park soon.
The first we visited was the botanical gardens. I did not even realize that Oxford had botanical gardens! This place was so serene and beautiful. I love British gardens. They are so interesting in their formation and flora and fauna. I got some amazing pictures over here.
Yes, I admit it. This is the first time I've had real high tea in the UK. But in my defense it's expensive and I was not sure if it was worth that. However this trip is different, it's a chance for me to try and see the UK things that I did not or could not do when I was here the first time. It's redemption. So here I am doing the high tea thing in Oxford. It's quite fitting. This place is one of the oldest cafes in Oxford! It's gorgeous and busy. Really busy. I didn't think I would like the little finger sandwiches or scones with clotted cream and preserves, but I did. I really did. It was yummy and worth the experience. Now I can say I truly did high tea.
Oxford is your quintessential college campuses. You know the type of college campus that just makes you feel smarter. It has an energy to it that other special places in this world emanates. Most of the college campuses were closed for final exams but Rachel was able to get us past the guard because she is an alum and staff member. Trinity College is the first one we visited. It is right in the city center close to the Bodleian Library. It's funny that she ended up here because it was the last Catholic college of Oxford University and Trinity University was the uni her mum wanted her to attend. She did not even choose it, it just happened. I guess it was destiny.
University Gardens like this would never survive in your normal university campus in the US. They are so picturesque!
We did not really have an itinerary for the day. We just wanted to catch up with each other and see some beautiful sights along the way. So we wandered in out of the difference college campuses.
Man, if UC San Diego looked like this I think I would have stayed on campus longer. These campuses are absolutely gorgeous. It's kind of like each of them are mini secret gardens each of them having something different and unique to offer the viewer.
This was the last college visited, but it was the largest and most extensive that we saw today. The other colleges were pretty but crammed into small spaces. It made for some uniques layouts, but very cloistered. Which makes sense since Oxford was a monastery and university when it started. Merton was the complete opposite. It had larger square and gardens, they even had a large playing field just outside it's walls along the water! So beautiful.
Even outside the campus walls Oxford is such a picturesque city. It has a huge commuter population, but it still maintains this quaint town feel. It's a nice break from the hustle and bustle of London.
We've had a long day and we need a little break. Peter is on his way back from London so it only makes sense that we take a break at this local pub on the High Street to meet Peter and discuss our plans for the night.
Of all the cuisines that I thought I could eat in Oxford, Chinese was not one of them. Apparently more and more of Oxford's, students are coming from East Asia especially China. Rachel and Peter were telling me that other than American style BBQ, Chinese restaurants are sprouting up fast. We ordered some pork, veggies, dumpling soup, and tofu. It was all spicy yuminess. I loved it.