Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Day In Oxford

After our turbulent trip to town, we arrived in the center of Oxford. We entered the address of the restaurant where we would start our boat tour of the head waters of the Thames River into our trusty Sprint phone.

Downtown Oxford
I only mention this because we just changed over to Sprint, and the navigation on the new phones has been less than exemplary. In fact, we have had trouble navigating the unexplored frontiers of Los Angeles and Hollywood. If I can’t depend on it for finding my way in the vast wilderness of LA, how could I depend on the phone to find a simple restaurant on foreign soil?

Long Boat on the River

We were able to find the Folly Restaurant easily and arrived over an hour before our tour.
We decided to take a walk along the river. It was a very nice walk. The river is lined with docked long boats, most looking like they haven’t moved in years, maybe longer.

The walkway was uncrowded we only occasionally were met by other casual walkers, however, we had to be on constant watch for bicyclists zipping up from behind. Most of the time, they were only inches away when we heard the buzz of the tires on the pavement.

Along the path were the boat houses of the Oxford rowing teams. None of the teams were practicing while we were there, so the entire area was quiet. 

The Head of the River Pub

After our walk, we still had time to kill, so we stopped into the Head of the River Pub. Had a nice room temp beer and watched a bit of the World Rugby Championships.
After a short walk we boarded the boat at the Folly Restaurant.
It was a great time, more in the next entry.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Getting to Oxford, Would We Ever Return, Would We Ever Return or Would Our Fate Remain Unlearned?

We awoke this morning to rain and immediately checked the forecast. It was supposed to clear up and be pretty nice after the morning showers let up.

We went across the street and had “a proper English breakfast” at the “Beefeater Restaurant,” but that’s another entry for another day.

Well fed, we headed off for the park and ride outside of Oxford.

From what I have read prior to arriving here, it’s OK to drive in the “country,” but the cities are best traveled by public transport. Something about leaving it to the professionals. 

We looked to our trusty nav system to find a park and ride near oxford. We got only one choice -Thornhill - which seemed a bit odd, because I know that there are at least five. However, I recognized the name, so obviously that was the one we needed.

I was wrong. We ended up driving thru Oxford to the far end of the town, passing at least two closer park and rides. If that wasn’t enough fun, the crazy woman in the SatNav decided that we needed to drive thru a residential area.

As we drove thru the very narrow streets, lined with parked cars, I was reminded of the fun of navigating thru Boston’s well laid out and carefully planned streets. We weaved and bobbed thru the crowded roads, Pauline digging her nails into the fantastic Naugahyde interior of our trusty Vauxhall motorcar.

We careened thru the town, like the knight bus in Harry Potter, finally arriving, not at the promised park and ride, but at the end of a very nice cul-de-sac of tenement houses. We reset the SatNav, but it still told us we had achieved our requested destination. I thought about knocking on a door and checking if the resident would give us a ride to the city center, but I thought better of it.

Turns out the park and ride was just behind the houses, but to get to it, we had to back-track for several miles.

We managed to find our way and park the car, then boarded the bus for downtown Oxford.

A street view of the City Center, Oxford, UK

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Whenever I plan a trip, I might go just a bit overboard. First, I draft a loose plan on where we want to go, what to do and maybe plan some of where we want to eat.

This trip is no different. I knew that we wanted to go to England and spend part of our time in New England with family.

The idea was to spend one night in Boston on the way out and about a week on the return trip.
Well, it’s been said that no plan survives contact with the enemy, and this plan was no different.

Because the trip included two red-eye flights, we somehow managed to cut out the overnight stay in Boston. The result was we were up for almost 48 hours.

Needless to say, when we arrived at Heathrow airport, a full two days after leaving LAX, we were both beat.

Plans went to the wind, and we went to the hotel, checked in, found dinner and went to the room to pass-out.

We ate at the restaurant across the street, basically a modern English version of the Howard Johnson chain.

I had a steak, not the best steak ever, but totally passable.

Tomorrow, we head to Oxford for a river cruise.