We had never been to Oxford, and this weighed on me heavily. So armed with advance (cheap) tickets that I purchased on Trainline, we ubered to Paddington and hopped onto our train to Oxford. We were able to walk from the station to our hotel and then set out to meet our guide for our 3 hour bike tour of Oxford. We booked the tour through Viator and met our at the bike shop on Walton Street. Stephen was a screenwriter from Dublin, which of course launched some long conversations!
As we cycled gently through the university past the Oxford University Press and then along the canal and across the Port Meadow, we marveled at the animated center of Oxford with its many shops and pubs and were greatly impressed by the enormous stretch of public grazing meadow directly adjacent to the city. It was bequeathed to the citizens of Oxford in the 10th century in return for their bravery fighting off the marauding Danes. People still bring their cows and sheep here to graze, but people also stroll through, picnic, and enjoy swimming and boating on the clear water of the Thames, which flows right through it.
When Stephen learned we were fans of Inspector Morse, he pointed out some pubs that the brilliant but curmudgeonly inspector frequented in the legendary TV police drama. We stopped at one (the Old Bookbinders) for a drink and stayed for dinner! This morning we climbed the Saint Mary’s tower, stopped for tea and wandered back to our hotel. Soon we will be back on the train to London, an evening with Ray’s nephew Scott, and then on to Paris!