Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, 22 Dec - Onwards to Oxford

I’ve already done so much these past few days, and yet there was more today to do! One place which I missed out on visiting when I was last in the UK was Oxford, city of dreaming spires. The town and the famous university that’s located there occupies such an important position in British history, and can be reached in less than two hours from London. And thanks to my dear friends here – HM, SSG, GNK+1 and his Other Half – I was able finally to visit Oxford today, being ferried on board SSG’s Hansum, her Audi A4, and guided by Jane, her calm and redoubtable GPS system.

We reached there in the late morning, shivering under a gloomy cloudy day, after having emerged from one of the most modern vehicle rest stop areas located just outside the city, where we had a heavy BK breakfast. Burgers and fries in the morning? I guess there’s always a first for everything. Also, strangely enough, I am a true rest area connoisseur, and I must say that after having come across so many dark and seedy facilities both in the UK and other countries, this one was truly, remarkably impressive.

We had time barely to walk for about a half hour around town, before leaving for the Oxford Retreat pub for lunch. Bangers and mash for me, washed down by a pint of Diet Coke, as usual, and then a cup of brewed coffee. At this point, I could already feel the stomach complaining, but I decided to overrule it.

OK lah. The afternoon was spent on some real culture and history. We toured the famous Christ Church College, walked past the striking Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the evocative Bridge of Sighs. We ended the day by touring the famous Ashmolean Museum, home to treasures ranging from classical antiquities to 19th century European visual arts.

This was certainly one of the most welcoming institutions I’ve been to. Free admission, a well stocked gift shop, and a very liberal camera policy. I was able to capture some images of a few lovely French impressionist masterpieces, but alas, without the right software, I’m not able to down load them onto this laptop for now.

We returned to London amidst a slight drizzle and headed back to the Primrose Hill area again for dinner. This time round, welcoming us was Lemonia, a noisy Greek-themed restaurant, where I came close to eating until I burst, which is something best not done in polite company. I had the tavva dish, comprising lamb cubes accompanied by onion, gravy and rice. But the rest had ordered a mezze set, which came with cold starters, warm starters, and then servings of mains – available for everyone around the table to share.

I think there’s a physical limit to how much more I could take in, and while I sat there there, fused to the seat, impressed by the bottomless pit that is GNK+1’s Other Half (and I meant that in a most affectionate and endearing way), I decided to toss in the towel, and dream instead of lingering on the sofa at HM and SSG’s later on, with a glass of chilled wine in hand. I can’t get these experiences in Singapore. I really need to think about when I can next return to London.


Anonymous lazy weekend said...

Wait for me!!!!!

6:15 AM  

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