Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oxford, one weekend..

It was one of those rare weekends that had slipped through the sieve plan-less. So what does the forecast say I wonder . Sunny!
Everybody else has plans. London seems to be on an exodus to the coasts and other bright places spilling with the sun! This is going to be the last bank holiday for a long time yet. So we head out...
Its amazing how last minute plans work like a charm. Oxford is not too far off. Perfect for a one day excursion. So we catch the bus from Victoria in the morning and drive into this perfect university town...

First sights..
First sights, and am in love. The architecture is exquisite. Every building standing tall with its head in the sky. Clouds of impending grey hover around the horizon and the teasing sun seems to effortlessly slip through careless cracks in the canopy. We walk along Queen's street. The town comes alive as the sun is out. At the very end is Bonn Square, pretty and quaint. Named after the German city of Bonn, on the square stands Carfax tower. Am immediately drawn to the clock piece that adorns its face. Two tin soldiers stand attentive , as the keepers of time.
View from Carfax tower..
Inside the square we walk up a flight of circular stairs and from on top  we see Oxford spread out in front of us. In a distance is the circular grey dome of the Radcliffe camera, built in 1737 by James Gibbs and which houses the Radcliffe science library. We would around the library later in the day and stand amazing by the perfect symmetry. I read much later that the camera finds reference in popular culture and was refereed to by TRR Tolkein  as resembling Suron's temple to Mugroth and Numenor in the Lord of the Rings.  There are other buildings dotting the skyline , each distinct and beautiful , markers of the landscape here.
A different perspective..
The clock face..
After a quarter of an hour we find ourself walking through the many lanes, past Radcliffe camera and then we stop in front of something it seems we;ve seen before at another place , another time!
The Bridge of Sighs,  so named cause it resembles its more famous cousin in Venice and is a skyway over New college lane.  Its hard to spot the similarity unless told so minus the gondolas and the water and Venetien colour.
The bridge of sighs..
Turning into a narrow alley, we find ourselves in one of the oldest pubs here. The Turf Tavern , an education in intoxication reads the sign and we follow. Its a beautifully quaint place with exquisite chalk drawings on the outside. All that walking has made us hungry and we lunch here before heading out again
The Turf Tavern, one of the oldest pubs in Oxford...
The exquisite chalk drawing..
We walk down the street and ask for directions. Its still the season for punting and we would like to try our hand. We hire boats at the Magdalen River Boat House. We could punt by ourselves, looks simple enough. But we are not so sure and ask for a chauffeur.
Let the Punting begin..
We are on River Charwall, a tributary of the Thames.  It has the same green serene waters that we saw in Redding. Once built for angling , a punt is nothing more than a small flat bottomed boat, propelled by a long pole by pushing it against the river bed. We ask for a quick lesson. And we are told theres nothing much to learn. The pole doubles up as a rudder and S tries his hand.
That look of concentration..
We go past the beautiful Botanic gardens and Christ college meadows. The river gets busy. The setting is beautiful and was the inspiration for Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass. We pass the Magdelene college tower.
The very beautiful bridge..
Watching scores of rowers punt..
The market square..
Happy after all the sun and punt, we take the road across and take a walk inside one of the oxford colleges. Its so incredibly pretty. Its spring everywhere and everything is green and young and full of life. We sit here a while. The sun is setting and it gets a little chilly.
A piece of history, walking inside one of the university campuses..

We decide to head back safe in the knowledge that Oxford is only an hour away..! I would never have known

 Meena Venkataraman


  1. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  2. Oxford is indeed a beautiful place! Did you see the deer in the gardens of Magdalene College? :)

    p.s. Have you visited Bath?

    1. Yup I've visited Bath...another really pretty place

  3. Kalyan -Thanks :)
    idrinkmyteasweet - yup..Its a lovely lovely place :)... I didn't know there were deer in the gardens of Magdelene college... :(..Thanks for telling always I have a list of things to do next time ;)

  4. Looks charming like everything European. Feeling nostalgic now!



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