So, I went to Oxford
So, I went to Oxford this past Friday and Saturday. It was a flash trip to one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. Oxford is beautiful. We spend two days among books, and some hours enjoying the Tolkien Maker of Middle Earth exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. It was small but incredibly full of contents. As a fan of everything Elvish and Hobbit, I had to go to this exhibition. [I cannot share any pictures since taking them was strictly forbidden.]
Oxford has a lot to offer, but if you have a radiant sun on your head, you better take the chance and walk as much as you can. Visit every single street in the center, and dare to explore pubs and hidden bookshops. As a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I had to go into the shop I found as well. So: walk, walk, walk.
And, if there’s good weather, go to the Carfax Tower. It had great views of Oxford. There’s only some issue with the tower: the stairs are narrow, and it can feel claustrophobic. More so if you’re carrying three bags! As I said, I went only for two days, and I was taking my bag, and then the extra shopping that happened along the way. If you’re to enjoy the Carfax Tower, please don’t go up like a donkey, because the stairs are spooky!
Architecture is impressive, and bookshops are sinful places. I promised myself that I would only buy one book. I sinned, and I ended up with seven books.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- The Tao of Nature by Chuang Tzu [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (the original manuscript) [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- Trickster Makes This World : How Disruptive Imagination Creates Culture by Lewis Hyde [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- Renegades by Marissa Meyer [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
- All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater [The Book Depository] [Waterstones]
I went to Waterstones and Blackwell’s, and I couldn’t stop myself from buying some exciting books. I love fantasy and young adults, but I also love anthropology and tricksters. So, it’s not surprising that my chosen books are touching all those topics.
However, I noticed something interesting comparing the Waterstones in Oxford and the one in Brighton. The one in Brighton is smaller, however, is still big enough to have a great selection of books. And yet, they don’t. While I could find almost everything in Waterstones Oxford, the one in Brighton is more focused on fiction books. Reference bookshelves are small, and they have just a tiny selection. However, Oxford’s Waterstones is heaven if you love reference books. It shouldn’t strike me as such since Oxford’s University’s influence can be found virtually throughout the city. Brighton is more for vacations and relax, hence what people tend to read is at odds from one town to the other. And yet, I wished that in Brighton they had a better selection.
However, what struck me the most was the size of the streets. Oxford streets are wide. Well, at least in the center, and the part of the city that I walked. However, Brighton is quite narrow. It’s funny because the only explanation that I can come up with is commerce. If Brighton has always been a destination for tourists, then wider streets weren’t necessary. You need wide streets when chariots have to go both ways. Not so much if you’re relaxing. While Oxford might have been busy with students and commerce, Brighton not so much. [This is a theory, but the reality is that I have no clue about why. If you know, please leave it in comments. Thank you!]
And of course, I ate a lot of pub food. Dare to explore the different pubs in Oxford, and enjoy the atmosphere. I’d do that in any town in the UK, to be honest. Just go into pubs!
All in all, the trip was brilliant. I had a lot of fun, but my feet ended up being very painful. Despite having very comfortable shoes, walking like a mad-human isn’t a great idea. If you plan to visit any city in a flash, remember to stop from time to time or your feet will end up being like Hobbit feet.
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