Travel Tuesdays – S1E20 Oxford and Stratford

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Lateness of blog is due to babysitting my nieces. Shout out to moms who blog “you rock.”

I almost called this post “scholars and Shakespeare”. I love Oxford – the colleges, the gardens, the bicycles, thoughts of who walked the cobbled stones streets before you, who sat in the church you are seating in, who hung out in the same pub or cafe. Oxford is so rich in history, architecture, stories. Oxford is the place of my birth many years ago. My mum always says “she gave me a good start and after that I was on my own.” 🙂 I left England when I was under two years of age. Not sure I could glean much from Oxford at age 1. I will admit that when people hear where I was born, many times they say “really?!?”. I control myself and don’t respond “no, I was lying.” Anyway.

Radcliffe Infirmary where I born no longer exists. My mother’s cousin and I joked that after I was born there and then years later her son, there was no need to keep it open – the best had been delivered. lol. I hadn’t realized it was only a block away from where I had booked a dorm room during my visit this summer.

University rooms is a good website for finding dorm rooms to rent. http://www.oxfordrooms.co.uk. Bed and breakfasts and hotels in Oxford are pricey. My daughter, her hubby and I stayed one night at Keble College. Keble College is one of the 39 colleges that are part of Oxford University. It has the longest dining hall in Oxford. Think Harry Potter. Wow!! Full English breakfast is included with your nights stay and the atmosphere of the dining hall is worth every penny. Added bonus, the food was delicious and plentiful and the staff was delightful. One thing I noticed in each place I stayed in Britain was the rooms have a hot water pot, china cup and saucer, tea bags, biscuits aka cookies, milk and sugar all beautifully placed on a tray. It seems so much more civilized than the coffee pot and styrofoam cups in American hotel rooms. I also spent two nights at the Merifield Annex of Wadham College in an area of Oxford called Summertown. A 10 minute bus ride and I was in the city center. In England you don’t say “round trip” the term is “return.” Another lesson learned. Merifield Annex was very convenient to city center and the neighborhood included grocery stores, cafes, and even the community center with pool.

After Oxford, I headed to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare. Great black and white buildings, some with thatched roofs, swans on the river Avon, and boat tours all make Stratford a lovely place to visit. Shakespeare’s birthplace and visitor center is informative without being “stuffy”. http://www.shakespeare.org.uk You do have to watch a short video before you can proceed to the next room in the visitor center but the video is short and sweet. They actually do that with each room. There is information that is presented and the door to the next room doesn’t open until it is done. Not sure how everyone feels about this technique but I found it worthwhile and not overly long or boring. Most of the sights connected to Shakespeare are within easy walking distance. (Anne Hathway’s Cottage is not as centrally located as other sights. Learned that many years ago when a friend and I walked there. it was further than we thought it would be).You pay one admission for a couple of different sites and your admission price allows you to return within the year. Good deal.

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” As you like it

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