Oxford and Beckenham
22.10.2012 14 °C
This morning we got up early and had our picnic breakfast in the hotel. We walked to the Park and Ride which is just around the corner from the hotel where we spent the night. Just as we were going to walk over there, the desk clerk from the hotel was showing another woman how to get to the Park and Ride. We walked over there together and ended up talking to her for the entire time until we all got off the bus in the centre of Oxford. Her father lives in the Toronto area and she had been to Canada a few times. She was in Oxford to audit a branch of a charitable organization for which she works. This organization helps people to navigate their way around government red tape and get the benefits and information to which they are entitled. She is originally from Jamaica and plans to go back there when she retires in a few years. As we were waiting for the bus our little group also got to talking with a woman who lives in the Oxford area and she told us where to get off the bus and how to get to our destinations. It felt like a really good start to the day. Once we got to Oxford we went to the Information Centre to get a map and figure out where we wanted to go. The first place we went was the Bodleian library. The old library was out of bounds but we were able to see a wonderful exhibit about the work of Charles Dickens at the new library. They even had original copies of the books he wrote. They all came out in small booklets so that even those who didn't have much money could afford to buy them. We then wandered around a bit and looked at some of the colleges. They all seem to be constructed in the shape of a quadrangle, much like Simon Fraser University where I got my first degree. And I thought the architecture of SFU was so modern! Oxford has a really good feel to it. There are lots of young men and women walking purposefully along the streets. One thing that we found out today, that we didn't know before, was that each college here is completely independent and grants it's own degrees. And I thought they were all part of the same university. We had a delicious panini lunch at a little restaurant in the covered market off one of the main streets. After investigating some more we decided to head back to the Park and Ride because we were going to come back to Beckenham today. The bus took us back and we drove off after emailing Kate to tell her we were on our way. The GPS didn't take us on the ring road that runs along outside of London, but took us through the city on various roads through residential neighbourhoods. It took forever! When we got home, Kate asked us which route we followed because if you go into the centre of the city you have to pay a fine. If you pay the fine on-line the same day, it only costs about $15.00Cdn. but if you let them notify you it costs mega! We got out the maps and figured out that the GPS had skirted the city centre and we were in the clear. Glad to be back in the land of home cooking. Robert made delicious veggie soup tonight. Tomorrow we are off early to Stone Henge.