Oxford 2015: A stroll down memory lane...
July 22-23, 2015
A quick train trip from Southampton had us in glorious, old, magical, Oxford. I lived here when I was in Grade 7 ("Year 8") and it was a major blast from the past to return. I was surprised how well I remembered a few key places, and also how odd it was how small and quaint Oxford felt as compared to my memories of its size. We lived in a part of North Oxford called Summertown, and I remember it felt a long ways to go all the way downtown. As it turns out, it's not really all that far! I also felt like downtown used to be a HUGE area... and it's sortof only a few blocks long and a few blocks wide. Very funny to see this and compare it to my memories. My favourite part was visiting places I remember so well and having the memories flood back in. What a special experience, and I was so glad to share it with my parents and with Michal.
We at first got settled in a grad-studenty place we were renting from some random college. Yep, seems like the full Oxford experience!
|Literally the most Oxford-y shot ever|
|A stroll into town via the... Oxford University Engineering Building!!!! I sent my first ever email from that building!!|
|This was the one Engineering building|
|And this was the other one, a little more memorable to me. I think my Dad's office was in one and the computer lab in the other, if I remember correctly.|
|WOW look at the main street of Oxford!! Wandering Woodstock Rd and Banbury Road sure was familiar. My family and I used to walk from our house down to my Dad's office on weekends, go for picnics... etc. Awesome times.|
It was already a bit of a long day getting in on the boat and so, so we took a wander and saw the main downtown area and the famous Magdalen College.
|Again, another VERY Oxford-y sign|
|We haven't been around too too long, just since 1654|
|And of course, I instantly honed in on the local old-fashioned sweet shop|
|Punting!! I remember doing this once, it was hard to control the boat!|
|Little Oxford laneways|
|Magnificient Magdalen College|
|The Bodleian Library!|
|The coat of arms of Oxford University -- this is a famous design on millions of campus sweatshirts in existence!|
|A perfect time to come see Magdalen College, in the "magic hour" when it glows. :)|
|Fun to show Michal all of these places I grew up.|
We had dinner at a new place (lots of new restaurants here in the last 20 years) and had a good chat and a nice walk. My parents went to bed and Michal and I headed out to go wander the streets a bit further. I found my old burger place where I used to go with my buddy Kristjan. We couldn't really afford meat that year as the British pound was so strong against the Canadian dollar (and all for the best, as this is the time where Mad Cow Disease was discovered in Britain!) But, nonetheless, I do remember Kristjan's parents kindly giving us money for burgers at this place (as the Norwegian Kroner was much stronger against the British Pound, plus his parents were awesome). That was always a treat and I remember the few burgers we got there VERY VERY well. Amazing the things you remember... anyway it was still there, exactly as it has always been. I was sad that it was unfortunately already closed, but it sure was awesome to see it.
For some reason I didn't take a photo of the burger place, it is called "Peppers Burgers" on Walton St. I *instantly* remembered it, and the burger we used to get. There were three "hot" burgers, I forget the name of #1 and #2, but the hottest one, #3, was called "White Shark". As teenage boys you're always trying to prove your badassery, so I feel like we always used to go for either #2 or the White Shark one if we were feeling particularly brave that day. Aww what a great place. It was such a pleasure to see it still there, with the same exact menu (I feel like it is literally the SAME menu), 21 years later. Wow. I was sad we didn't get to eat one, since they were closed, but it sure was awesome to see this place again.
Michal and I went to a little pub and then walked back to our place near Green Templeton College.
The next morning we headed downtown to go to see the Covered Market, and do some more wandering in the City Centre. The walk down Woodstock Road was very familiar, though dotted with a few more fancy food places than I remember. I stopped to get a fancy coffee from a food truck, just to feed my San Francisco cultural necessity.
|SOOOO MANY FUN Oxford University souvenier stores!!!! Ahh I remember these :)|
|Some fun "Very Short Introduction" books at the Oxford University Press store.|
|Another VERY Oxford photo|
|"Silence please" hahaha|
|The Bodleian Library|
|And as always, England delivers on the crazy chip flavours|
|The place I used to go swimming all the time|
We then arrived at Frideswide Middle School... now officially merged with The Cherwell School! That was surprising to see. There were some workers in there doing some maintenance, so the doors were actually open. We asked if we could wander inside. It was sooooo cool to go in there. What a strange feeling and reminder of the past.
|Outside the main gate -- I don't remember this gate being there before.|
|The hallway in the front door and along to the right to the library|
|The random enclosed hallway along to the "newer" classrooms, I think? I think my homeroom was along that way.|
|Closeup of the library|
|The.... tiny library!!! In my mind this was WAY bigger, and had 2 floors in it?! I guess not! So wild.|
|Along the hallway to the gym|
|This was crazy as I acted in a school play that was in this gym, a wartime drama and I was some sort of American, I think. I feel like I remember wearing a hat and I had some lines to do in an American accent.|
|Farewell, old friend.|
|There was a tennis court back here which I practiced on a couple of times way back.|
|Look!! Our old house!!!!!!!!!!!|
|This was SO fun to be here.|
|My bedroom was the tiny closet at the top of the stairs. Looks like they finally converted it into a shower!!! That's about all it really had space for!|
|Against that far wall was where I spent a formative year learning how to install computer parts and program in QuickBasic.|
|Dad looking into the backyard from the neighbour's driveway|
|Our little backyard.|
We took a nice long walk and it was great, walking past some old familiar roads, and onto the little Scout Island we used to have our meetings on and launch some boat trips from.
|My OTHER old favourite Fish and Chip shop is now also something else :(|
|Ahh yes, another British sign|
|The walk along to the Godstow Lock|
|The Godstow Lock!! I had to walk over this to get to the Scout Island. We went to go take a look.|
|Ahh, our old storage shed! I think we used to store some of the boats in there.|
And after a nice long walk, we went back to The Trout pub (which is now most certainly a fancy "gastropub" -- England sure has turned it up a notch in the food dept. since we lived here!)
|A great spot to sit along the water and relax.|
|Michal, of course, ordered an Elderflower drink.|
|Eton Mess may be my favourite thing ever.|
We bid adieu to my parents who were off to London the next day, and we headed to London to go catch the Eurostar to Paris. Old-fashioned British penny sweets in-hand, of course.