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Oxford - 1

Amazingly enough, I've already been here more than a week (arrived on the 13th). This first week has been very much about getting the lay of the land; making a mental map of the city centre and how to get to places from the flat I'm renting (right by the Castle Mound, virginia_bell). I'll be moving into the Malmaison Hotel (a former prison) for my last two nights here, but for a longer stay, self-catering is the only way to go. This place literally has all the comforts of home, including a bathroom with underfloor heating, a kitchen with every electronic gadget imaginable, two televisions, in-flat laundry facilities, and a library of books and DVDs. And I love being able to shop and do my own cooking.

There's been some sightseeing as well: The Ashmolean Museum (have to go back to finish it and take some photos), the Alice Shop, Oriel, Corpus Christi, and Merton Colleges (had to be casually snuck past the Merton porter, trying to look as un-touristy as possible; Merton isn't open to the public, as visitors are considered a distraction to the students). There have been three visits so far to Christ Church (with more pending) and a walk around the Christ Church Meadows (including feeding bread to ducks and one extremely fat grey squirrel along the Isis), and last night I got to see the lighting of Christ Church's first Christmas tree. Just one out-of-Oxford foray so far, and that was yesterday afternoon to Blenheim Palace where a "Living Crafts for Christmas" fair was being hosted. Blenheim itself will get a visit of its own.

Have to close now and head over to Gloucester Green, where Tavi and I are going to meet and head off to London for the day. There'll be some sightseeing this afternoon, and then this evening we're going to see Roger Federer's first match in the round robin portion of the ATP World Tour Finals. :-)))

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
ccoralacid
Nov. 21st, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
wow you are having a great time--because i know oxford so well i can imagine you there--i miss the craft fair at Blienham--nothing in Lincolnshire compares to it.
aswanargent
Nov. 22nd, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm having a terrific time. Today was a first visit to London; we spent a few hours walking around Westminster (will have to save the Abbey for another day, as on Sundays it's open only for worship), then it was on to the Millenium Dome for dinner and tennis. I just got back to the flat a few minutes ago.
jenni_snake
Nov. 21st, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Sounds loooovely!!! If you're doing your own cooking, and haven't done so yet, see if they have lamb chops at the local butcher - we had some fantastic ones at a small town outside of Cambridge (don't tell Tavi that I said the 'C' word) called Saffron Walden. Come to think of it, better not tell Tavi I said 'lamb chops'...
aswanargent
Nov. 22nd, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
I'll have to check tomorrow at the Covered Market. My lips are sealed about both things, but you know she's probably going to be reading this....

What are you up to? Still in China? (I saw your FB entries about the plane delays; much better to have working landing gear, even if it means your departure is delayed!)
jenni_snake
Nov. 22nd, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
Still in China for another day and a half - we've been skipping out on a session of our conference to go take in a bit of the city and a bit of the shopping - otherwise they have 'us' scheduled from morning to night, and we're in the Calabasas of Beijing with less services! It's some remote conference centre two hours from the centre with very lovely scenery but not much else surrounding. So us rebel Calgary teachers have been sneaking out a bit. It's more fun that way! I would be updating on my facebook, but it and YouTube are blocked, so no luck there. Still, having a good, jet-lagged time! Ready to meet the jet-lag challenge again when I get back! Enjoy the lovely markets! Bet you don't have to haggle like here...
luvmax1
Nov. 21st, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're having such an amaing time, sweetie. And if I keep telling myself that I'm not jealous, I might even belive it! (Well, probably not, but I'll keep trying.) Take lots of pictures!
aswanargent
Nov. 22nd, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
One of the things I'm enjoying the most is bundling up for the chilly weather. It's been in the low 40s ever since I got here, and there might even be snow flurries on Thursday. I know you're probably going "Snow?" *yawn*, but remember that it's beach weather year-round in Los Angeles, so this would be a real treat for me.
jenni_snake
Nov. 22nd, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
Come to Calgary again if you're into that - it's been snowing and -20C for the past five days! Beijing has been much milder! (Sorry if I'm double posting, but as far as I could tell, it ate my last comment.)
aswanargent
Nov. 22nd, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
LOL! I just read babycakesin's post about going for a training run in the snow in Edmonton (and about having her hair freeze). I remember when we went to Lake Louise and there were a few snowflakes; it was magical. :-)
jenni_snake
Nov. 22nd, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
It's magical if you're visiting... like Disneyland. Or Shanghai. But you wouldn't want to live there! (Laura can tell you about that - she broke her ankle slipping on ice on Sunday!!! :-()
aswanargent
Nov. 23rd, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear about Laura's ankle! That can't be fun. Have the cats started taking advantage of her limited mobility yet to be naughty?
luvmax1
Nov. 22nd, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Sweetie, I live in Southern Florida. It's beachier than LA here! I haven't seen snow in three years, and to be honest, I don't miss it a bit.
aswanargent
Nov. 22nd, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, but you lived in New York for all those years, so I think snow must be part of your DNA. I'm a native Californian; born in San Francisco, but have lived in southern California since before I started school. ;-)
luvmax1
Nov. 22nd, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
I was pretty much an all around all weather hater. Winter was too cold, summer too hot, and I never really appreciated snow once I entered the doubel digits. I think that's when I truly became mature- when I started seeing snow as an inconveinence instead of fun.
ccoralacid
Nov. 22nd, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
lots of snow in the UK last year and i love it--reminds me of the cold Canadian winters--only you know it is only for a few weeks-so you enjoy it while you can.Very wet and windy in UK --hope you took an umbrella--talking of food have you tried English sausages--go for a good quailty --and if you get a chance pork pies sometimes called melton mowbray pies.
Did you like Woodstock vilage and have you seen a thatched cottage yet.
aswanargent
Nov. 23rd, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
I really only got to see the Craft fair at Blenheim, and didn't even manage all of that (arrived too late in the day). I'm hoping that Tavi and I can plan an actual outing to Blenheim before I leave; apparently some of the rooms were used for the filming of the new Gulliver's Travels film that's being released on Christmas Day. Maybe we'll be able to explore Woodstock as well.

I haven't seen a thatched cottage here yet, but did see one two years ago when I went to Skye.

An umbrella is the first thing I pack! It's been used a couple of time already on this trip.

Thanks for the food tips! I'll have to check at the Covered Market; I always seem to be getting there just as the shops are closing for the day.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )