Sunday, June 28, 2009

Full Circle!

We left the nigh-magical town of Nether Stowey to travel to our final stop – Oxford. Rather than take a direct as-the-crow-flies sort of route, we went scenic and traveled through some of the Disney-pretty villages of the Cotswolds. Really, this is where you get the burbling roadside brooks, thatched whitewashed cottages, and a profusion of vibrant blooms everywhere you turn. Almost suspiciously pretty, but maybe that’s me. A lot of browsing took place here and a particularly delicious pastry stop.

However, the final few miles into Oxford pretty much “damaged my calm,” as Jayne Cobb might put it. Oxford is a much larger town than the corresponding Cambridge and it’s much harder to maneuver in and about. We finally arrived at our dwelling and trundled the luggage up the requisite steep and narrow staircases and took a deep breath of relief.

Now, Oxford is a pretty town, full of the “dreaming spires” of Matthew Arnold. We were too late to visit many things – most shops were closed and the colleges are just finishing/finished their terms – but we managed to enjoy the Eagle & Child where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (probably along with some other initialed folks) hung out, discussed ideas, ate, drank, and occasionally wrote. We also visited the slightly hard-to-find Turf Tavern which has been around for centuries, even hosting the occasional cock fight way back when.

Yesterday we managed, with the help of two maps and the GPS, to get our of Oxford to drive back to Cambridge to return the car and catch the train back to London. Today is our last "full day," and we plan to explore a few places we couldn't get to earlier. Then, early tomorrow, it's to the airport with us to return home from our wanders.

Wonder if I'll remember which side of the road to drive on when I get there!

(Sorry for the bizarre appearance of this post. I can't explain it.)

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