Today was the day to actually see Oxford properly, and wow, it is stunningly British. Sandstone buildings everywhere, and I love a pretty building. To start our day off we went to the Westgate Shopping Area, which was literally 2 minutes from our hotel (everything seems very close in Oxford, but somehow it doesn’t have that slightly cramped feeling that I feel Cambridge has), and got sausage/bacon barms and hash browns, and did a bit of people watching whilst we sat outside eating them.
Then we went off to the main part of the trip, the Oxford River Cruise. Yes, it was as fancy as it sounds. A sweet little boat was slowly filled with people celebrating various wedding anniversaries of anything from 20+ years, and then us two awkward 18-year-olds come along, trying hard to seem as classy as the rest of the people on the river cruise. But we were the only ones to know who Philip Pullman is, as our very posh boat driver (who insisted he “didn’t really do school” then quoted a Hopkins poem by heart) quizzed us on various famous authors who had lived in the area, so we were basically the genius couple of the boat. Obviously.
The cruise was very lovely; 2 and a half hours of beautiful Oxford meadows along the Thames, including a stop off at one of the quaintest pubs I’ve ever been to. It was very chill (in fact it got quite cold, oh the hilarity!) and our tour guide/boat driver had the best beard in the world, and seemed to know an awful lot about… Well, everything (but he definitely didn’t do school).
After the very relaxing afternoon on the Thames we went to be even more British. Scones and a pot of tea seem to fit the bill, right? After stuffing our face as we usually do when we have the chance, we decided to work it off a bit and climb the gorgeous Carfax Tower. Now, my boyfriend had been up the tower before and insisted it was an amazing view of Oxford, but from the ground, the tower didn’t actually seem that tall. However, I think Oxford must be on a slight slant because blimey was he right. What a view. The best thing about the view, in my eyes, was that I could pinpoint exactly where I wanted to head next; the area where the gorgeous sandstone buildings seemed to accumulate, because like I said before, I love a pretty building.
Now what do we all think of when we say Oxford? The university, of course (I mean, maybe, I’m not trying to make radical assumptions or anything…)!! I was a tad insistent that we had to visit at least one college whilst we were there as I feel if you go to Oxford, it is shame not to. So, we stumbled upon Trinity College, and went in free of charge to have a wander around the grounds and pretend we were super smart Oxford students for a while. I have to say, Oxford Colleges are very impressive. Trinity, in particular, has absolutely gorgeous grounds and YOU CAN WALK ON THE GRASS!! (When I visited Cambridge, you couldn’t walk on a lot of the grass areas, so I was highly impressed by this
because I’m a bit strange). We also got to go into the dining room, which was of course like a mini Great Hall from Harry Potter, with amazing portraits hanging on the walls that made it seem so medieval. But nothing beat the chapel. A small, but somehow very grand chapel, this beautiful room had the most stunning wood carvings and a fresco that reminded you of how traditional the collegiate system is. Oh my, the resonance in that room was breathtaking too – what I would give to hear a choir sing there!
Our final trip of the day was to one of my favourite restaurants ‘Las Iguanas’, which specialises in Mexican, Spanish and Brazilian food. So basically the best food ever. We decided to get the tapas option and buy five dishes to share, and it was definitely a fantastic decision.
So the final menu of the night was as follows (get ready to be hungry):
- Totopos (Spice-dusted corn chips) with tomato salsa to nibble on, yum
- Nachos with Mexican smoked chipotle chicken (Decidedly THE BEST NACHOS EVER, and we eat a lot of nachos between us)
- Gambas (Prawns, om nom nom)
- Pato Taquito (“Rich shreds of roast duck & caramelised onion rolled in a flour tortilla & char-grilled, with a spicy cranberry salsa”)
- Spicy Chicken Quesadilla
- Chorizo in a spicy tomato sauce
Las Iguanas was a hit, and a perfect way to end our lovely time in Oxford.
What is the most ‘British’ thing you have done? And quite on the opposite end of the spectrum, any other Mexican food fans?
Thanks for reading! 🙂 x