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Monday 25th August 2008

We'd kept putting off an intended trip to Oxford, but this weekend we just decided to go for it and see what happened. Gill's packed itinerary included: looking around all of the ancient college buildings, going up the tower of St Mary the Virgin to take in the view of the "city of dreaming spires", walking along the Isis and through the Christ Church meadow, seeing the Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian library, and finally a trip to the nearby village of Iffley to see the church and the lock on the Thames.
We managed to do all of this and more as Oxford is so easy to get round on foot. The centre covers only a small area and the Thames is only a ten minute walk away. We found it all clean, tidy, cheap and also unencumbered by street sellers and souvenir shops. You can go in and look at all of the colleges, although some charge a couple of quid to get in. Just looking at all of the gargoyles and grotesques on the outside of the buildings could keep you occupied for days. The colleges are covered in things that seem to be trying to scare you away, but when you walk inside they are very welcoming, friendly places. It cost us 3 to go up in the tower, which already seemed overcrowded when we got up there, but the view was well worth the careful navigation past the many people on the spiral staircase and narrow viewpoints.
We found a really good place (clean, cheap and delicious) to snack called La Croissanterie in St Aldates Street just opposite the Museum of Oxford. We had HUGE ciabbatas full of egg mayonnaise and crispy bacon.
The only sour note in the whole day was getting a parking ticket. I'm still not sure what I did wrong!

The bridge of sighs. A copy of the one in Venice.

Gargoyles and grotesques

The snuff taker

The tower of St Mary the Virgin

One of the views from up on the (very crowded) tower

Fellows punting on the Isis

Oxford seen from Christ Church meadow

Iffley church

Window details on Iffley church

Green man

Iffley lock