Like I said in the previous entry, Friday evening I made my way to Oxford. The first night was very chill, just dinner in a pub with Lauren and two of her three housemates, then back to her house for YouTube videos and sleep so that we’d be rested for Saturday’s wander around Oxford.
Saturday morning we got a good start and headed out for downtown. I’d been to Oxford before and wasn’t really there for anything in particular so much as to spend time with my friend, so we ended up at the Ashmolean to look at dead stuff. Or, more accurately, the pre-history rooms where they have skulls and other fascinating things. That was somewhere I hadn’t been, so it was excellent, but as I’d gone to the British Museum the day before I didn’t feel compelled to go farther.
Lauren wanted to take me punting, but the weather was drizzly, so we had to skip it. Another one of those things I’ll just have to make another trip for. Instead, the highlight of the day was the food. Lunch was particularly special because it was at The Eagle and Child, the pub where Tolkien hung out.
I’d never had Dandelion and Burdock before (it’s a very old English soda and exactly what it says on the bottle), so Lauren ordered it and let me have a taste. I’d heard that it’s an acquired taste and it is. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it, either. I am glad I had the chance to finally try it, though!
The other food adventure of the day, after popping into an antique bookstore and an Alice in Wonderland shop where I picked up a souvenir for someone, was proper cream tea. It was something else I’d never done before and we found a lovely little place for it, where we each got a pot of tea with milk, two warm scones, and an assortment of jams, butter, and clotted cream. It was glorious. A+ would definitely eat again.
And that was Oxford! Originally, the idea had been an Oxford weekend, but instead Lauren decided to come back to London with me so we could spend a day together there. We took the bus, which is cheaper than the train and, because the traffic was light, only took about 70 minutes. I really recommend it, actually. Not only will you save money, you’ll get to see a bit of countryside. There are plenty of sheep!
In London, we decided to walk up Regent’s Street to Piccadilly Circus and basically just pop around the shops. We took pictures, ate Japanese food for lunch at Mitsukoshi (so nostalgic), and ended up wandering into a St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was fun and unusual.
I also did most of my souvenir shopping at a great place called Cool Britannia. It’s in Piccadilly Circus and pretty much fantastic. I was able to get most of my shopping done all in one go. If you’re in London looking for souvenirs to take home, definitely check it out.
Late afternoon, Lauren had to get back on the bus to return to Oxford and I went back to my hotel to reconnect with Dana and Nicola. It was bittersweet – I was sad my time hanging out with her was over, but I still had a lot of stuff to look forward to. And I will be back soon with the next leg of the journey!