Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oxford, England

When planning our annual work trip to London, my co-worker Lauren and I decided to go a day early and spend a Sunday Funday in Oxford before the madness of that week began. (I was working on three separate projects in four work days, so yea, it was pretty hectic!) Lauren studied abroad in Oxford for a summer while she was in college, so she was excited to go back and visit. Bo has been twice, but I had never been before and was glad to tag along with my own personal tour guide. It was about an hour train ride from Paddington Station to Oxford, just enough time to eat lunch and enjoy the scenery.

It was a gorgeous day, so we walked from the train station into Oxford, which is a very pretty, small college town.

River Thames

Sheldonian Theatre

Bodleian Library

As we walked out of the courtyard, there were a few tourists in front of us asking if we knew where the Bridge of Sighs was. At first we wanted to reply, "umm, sorry you're in the wrong country, that's in Venice" - and then we turned the corner and saw this:

Hertford Bridge (at Hertford College) is also known as the Bridge of Sighs, due to its similarity to the one in Venice, which I saw last summer :)  We walked under the bridge and down a somewhat sketchy alley to grab a pint at Turf Tavern. This is the pub where Bill Clinton allegedly "did not inhale" while he was studying at Oxford ~ they even have a sign for this out on the patio!

Next up, we toured through Trinity College campus, where Lauren attended. It was beautiful!

the dining hall

The grounds were absolutely immaculate. Apparently you aren't allowed to drink red wine out there because if you spill, it might stain the grass. I mean...seriously??!?!

From there we walked toward the River Thames. We passed Christ Church, which is where many of the scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. We had no cash and didn't feel like spending the entire rest of our day in the ridiculously long line, so we just took pictures from the gardens. So pretty.

Afterward, we hung out at a pub called The Head of the River, which as the name suggests, sits right on the Thames. I had my first Pimm's cup and watched some other tourists go punting. It was a very cliche afternoon ;)

don't mind if I do!

After our Pimm's, we made our way back towards the train station. We stopped by two pubs where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to be regulars. There were all kinds of plaques and signs with some cool information about their group of writers that I have since forgotten. Perhaps it was that last pint... ;)

photo op!

We had such a great day in Oxford and I'm lucky to have a co-worker who is fun to travel with. We were especially glad we planned for this day trip ahead of time, since we had no real free time during the week to explore London. We've both been there a few times before (see my past trips to London here), so we were fine having a low-key week until our last night. After four very busy days in the office, we spent Thursday evening in the Trafalgar Square area and enjoyed quite a few pints - we deserved it! :)

And once again my crazy travel luck kicked in big time on the way home.  Our flight was overbooked, so when we checked in, they were asking for volunteers to take the next flight which was only an hour and a half later. I put my name on the list and was super excited when I was selected - I figured a little extra time at the airport was totally worth $500 in travel vouchers. (I do this quite often, which helps fund some of our vacations.)  Even better, I got on the plane and was bumped up to first class! I mean, seriously - you can pay me to sit up there every time. Please and thank you, Delta.

Though I have to admit I was rather spoiled after our Emirates flight, and Delta could not even compare. Since it was free I was paid to sit there, I really can't complain - except that at almost six feet tall, there was not enough room for me to completely lay down, so that was rather disappointing. But sleeping at an almost-full-incline is better than sleeping entirely upright in coach, I suppose. I'll just say the flight wasn't worthy of it's own blog post, and leave it at that :)


  1. Oh I wish I could go back in time and go to school there! How beautiful are those old buildings :) I'd feel brilliant just walking around that place ;) you really have some serious travel luck!

  2. Your trip sounds beautiful, Lisa! I'm so glad you had an extra day to sight-see. I would love to visit one day. My daughter has been anxious to go. My husband and I were thinking about taking her as a graduation gift. Thanks for the tour. Lucky you to get bumped up to first class!

  3. Haha how funny - I was just thinking that the dining hall looked like Hogwarts, and then 3 pictures later you mentioned Harry Potter!! Looks like a great time, as usual!

  4. I flew Emirates business class once and remember thinking how annoying it was to try to fall asleep while watching a movie because the TV monitor was too big and bright, haha. Foreign carriers just seem to do it better, unfortunately.

    I did a day trip to Oxford with my dad a few ears ago and we did that little boat tour on the canal - it was beautiful there!


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