On Friday night I got back home from a lovely trip to Oxford with my boyfriend. It was a birthday present, and although I knew we were off to Oxford and would be doing a River Cruise, I knew nothing about where we actually staying in Oxford. I’ve got to say, I love a good surprise, so this one was pretty great.
We had quite the adventure actually getting to Oxford. Our home town is in the North-West of England, so as you can imagine, it takes quite a while, and a fair few trains to get all the way down to Oxford. So we meet at our local station all excited at around 9.15 am, nothing too early, but early enough for two teenagers. The first train journey was nothing too arduous – less than hour to Liverpool South Parkway on the all too familiar grey and yellow Merseyrail train. No delays, we were chatting away, it was going great. We get to Liverpool, however, and this is when it all goes a little wrong… But we wouldn’t realise that for another hour and a half.
Our next stop would be Birmingham New Street, so we hop over to platform 2 and wait for our train. One train comes along, and I say to my boyfriend ‘Nope, not our train, next one’, and I was half right. So the next train comes along, and it is at the time we had expected our train to come. Has to be our train, right? So we get on, find seats with a table (Jackpot!!) and settle in to watch an episode of ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ on his iPad (which I highly recommend). Enthralled with the tantrums from the bride-to-be and “I’m sure £30 is enough for 10 bridesmaid dresses” from the groom-to-be (seriously, it is fantastic television), we don’t notice that the stations we are passing are not what we should be passing at all. Even when we stopped at Manchester Oxford Road for 15 minutes, reality TV had us too gripped to even blink an eyelid.
When the train started heading back the direction we came I was a little surprised, however. “It is probably just changing lines”, we assured ourselves. But we knew. Trying to ignore the obvious mistake we had made at first, we carried on watching our programme, but when it finished and I suddenly noticed that this would be the second time we passed Warrington Central, our mistake was proven and mobile phones were out checking the trainline to see which train we could catch to actually get to our actual destination.
2 hours or so later, and we’re finally back on track, with 2 more train journeys to go. We finally got there two hours later than expected, but we had a really good ham, cheese and honey mustard baguette from the Upper Crust at Birmingham, so I feel it was all okay. We are easily pleased.
So what about that surprise location where we would be staying? A prison. We stayed in a prison. But a really fancy one. Well, not quite. My boyfriend somehow managed to get a room at the Oxford Malmaison, which is an old prison reinvented into a gorgeous hotel, and it was so bloomin’ posh that our room was decorated with various tartan items and the complimentary tea included at least 4 green teas and a selection of fruit teas. I’m just used to good ol’ English Breakfast when it comes to free tea.
Once we got there we decided to go for a wander, and headed towards Christ Church Meadow. Before we got into the park area, we had to walk down a busy main road, but the sudden quietness as we walked into the park compared to the urban chatter only a minute away was amazing. You can see why so many people dream of studying there; the gorgeous setting is only further complimented by the complete silence you can find in so many places in the city. This beautiful meadow spanned for acres, and we only got a small glimpse of it, however within our little walk we saw people punting, fields of cows and the cutest ducks you could ever imagine.
My boyfriend had also booked a special offer we our very fancy hotel, so we were actually having a meal at the hotel that night. Now the one thing I told my boyfriend was more important than anything is that we eat good food, because we both like trying new food and basically eating in general (hence our excitement over the baguettes). I was not disappointed. First we ordered some fancy cocktails. Mine was lovely, but I wasn’t a fan of my boyfriend’s… Jalapeños in a cocktail, not for me. The rest of the meal was as follows:
- Crusty Bread, with Hummus, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and Butter to share
- Tomatoes and Mozzarella for me, Thai Chicken Wings for my boyfriend to start
- Chargrilled Chicken, with a Thai Salad and Roasted Peanuts for mains
- Sticky Toffee Pudding for me, Chocolate Soufflé for my boyfriend for dessert
Hungry yet? I am again…
All in all it was a pretty amazing meal, and the fact we were sat in this uber-swish cellar, with bars on the windows to remind you of this stunning building’s history made it even cooler. After the meal, we were pretty knackered from all the travelling so just went back to the room to watch some ‘Orange is the New Black’ (see, we have good taste in TV really).
Pretty detailed account of our first day, perhaps too detailed and boring, but documenting it all is partly for myself so I can read them back and remember the awesome trips I’ve had. I have been reading lots of other lovely blog posts these past few days and have seen that many people finish them with questions, so I think I might do the same.
Have any of you been to Oxford before? What travel mishaps have people had in the past? And what food have people been enjoying lately?
Rhiannon 🙂 x