Week #2 in Oxford is flying by, but at least it is packing itself full of goodness.
The first goodness began on Monday with an afternoon spent walking from the center of Oxford to The Trout Inn, stopping at interesting sites/spots/pubs along the way. The theme of our lovely walk through the countryside was authors of note, including: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, etc. We first wandered into the “Eagle and Child” (where I sipped on cider later in the night, see below), a spot where Tolkien and Lewis used to drink and discuss. Then we walked through Jericho and out of town along a path where perhaps Lewis Carroll recited “Alice and Wonderland”.
There was a little history, too, which was brought to our attention when we came across the 16th century ruins of an old Abbey. Oh hey, really old decrepit building! (Full of cow poop on the inside.) By the side of the Isis river, we learned what a ‘lock’ is (not a ‘loch’). We stopped for a pint (half pint in my case) at The Perch Inn, which you got to by stepping off the main path –not road, definitely just a path — and into a very green path strewn with metal arches that took you to an outdoor area of picnic tables under weeping willows. The pub itself had a fake sheep ‘perched’ on its roof (hence the name). Very adorable, very cozy, quite lovely. After we had finished our drinks we headed back onto the main path along the river and towards The Trout Inn, which is where many an Inspector Morse episode takes place. There was a live peacock and some very good crisp cyder (only a half pint for me, please!). Most of the group who headed out took cabs back, but 5 of us opted for the 3 mile scenic route back to Brasenose. I do not regret it in the least.
The second goodness was an entire day (Tuesday) spent in Bath, with a good couple hours of that day in the Museum of the Roman Baths.
After the fantastic self-guided audio tour of Roman Bath (which included its archaeology, the entire bath complex, and reconstructions of the complex and the temple architectural sculptures), I walked around the town as I made my way towards the Circus and Royal Crescent (anyone familiar with Jane Austen should get excited). There I encountered two of the girls from the OU Honours program, and we walked around the Queen’s Park (Victoria, that is), enjoying the freshly mowed grass, the dogs being walked, the children playing, the flowers blooming, and all that’s lovely about Bath. Then we made our way back to the train station, but, having 45 minutes to spare before the next train, stopped in at “The Hobgoblin” (awesome looking ‘pub’ that turned out to have this creeptastic punk vibe to it with skull decorations everywhere and a basement level called “The Crypt”), and had a half-pint of Hobgoblin Ale (not too bitter with a nice ruby colour).
Spent after a full day at Bath, some of us found ourselves enjoying a pint (or two) at the Eagle and Child pub (previously called “The Bird and Baby”), a favorite watering hole for Inklings J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
The final goodness is a British PB. Not peanut-butter, but a “personal best” (what we call a PR [‘personal record’] in the States). After a mentally rough day of lifting on Sunday, I came to the gym Wednesday and finally hit 72.5 kg (160lbs) for a clean and jerk (I had previously cleaned successfully at that weight, and jerked successfully, but had never managed to put the two together). It only took two attempts (got a little scared on the jerk the first time around and bailed back), but I stuck it!!! It’s nice to have an Oly gym around; this is something I will miss for the next 6 weeks while traveling around Europe (should have this luxury again once I’m in Athens).