Oxford Dreaming

Since 2009, the Philosopher and I have made our home in Oxford, England while he racks up a few more letters after his name. If you’ve never been to England but it’s on your hit list, please mark down our city as a priority! Some might argue that the-other-place-which-shall-not-be-named is a worthy rival… with which I would heartily agree. But Oxford allows you a gateway into the Cotswolds, one of England’s most stunning areas of natural beauty if nature is your thing. And let’s face it, nature is everyone’s thing.

For those of you with a hit list which is more of a dream than a plan, let me show you around. For those of you en route, here are a couple days worth of itinerary.

As you walk into town up the Abingdon Road, Christ Church College rises into view.

Turn right through the gates for a beautiful walk along the river.

You can refuel post-stroll at bustling Café Loco with overpriced but well-located cream teas. For the Yanks among you, cream tea is the term for a pot of tea and two small scones served with jam and clotted cream or butter. If you are my father, clotted cream and butter. Cream teas are unparalleled in that category of foods which induce smug smiles, tummy-patting, and excessive sighs of happiness. Follow our cream tea quest here!

Continue up St Aldate’s toward Oxford city centre until you reach the heart of town – Queen’s Street to the left (God save her), Cornmarket Street straight ahead, and the  High Street to the right. I love these colored buildings on the High.

Shop your heart out at the Pike Place of Oxford: the Covered Market, entrances on High Street and Cornmarket.

Thirsty? Stop at Chocology inside the Covered Market for devilishly delicious liquid chocolate. Guaranteed to only increase your thirst, but worth it nonetheless.

Or is cold chocolate more your thing? I can whole-heartedly recommend Moo Moo’s, for the customizable milkshake of your wildest dreams.

Need some gifts for family at home? Make a stop at Whittard’s for a blend of tea and whimsy.

Head up Cornmarket until you reach the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. It’s free! And architecturally grand, inside and out.

At this point, you could take a detour up the road to Walton Street and head into the charmingly named Jericho area for Branca’s great Italian lunch menu, but let’s assume you’ve had your fill of starch-based foods already today. So strap on your walking shoes and head back down The High until you reach Magdalen College. Whip out your wallet to pay – it’s worth all your spare change.

C.S. Lewis taught at Magdalen College for 20-some years, and often strolled the magnificent grounds before picking up the pen.

It’s perhaps most stunning in the spring and summer months, but the buildings are grand enough, even without decorative flora.

And we have fauna on display too! Magdalen boasts (and proudly) its native deer.

After an hour or so lounging in the grass and taking pictures of yourself promenading the grounds a la C.S., the appetite for something more…shall we say, hip, may have developed. Stay tuned! Something marvelous is just around the bend.

[To be continued…]

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