Thursday, May 31, 2012

History, naturally.


In order to get to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, you first have to get through the natural history museum. WHAT A HARDSHIP. I figured I'd make a beeline for the former, but I got terribly distracted by the latter. It's a marvelous space.


Kakapo! 
 
 
140,000,000 years old! 
29 years old! A baby!
And then, as you can tell by my creepily excited face, it was time to move on to the museum of my dreams!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pub crawl.

There were a couple of pubs in Oxford that I needed to hit up -- David had no problem fulfilling this dream of mine. The first was the Turf Tavern, reached through a series of terrifying passageways. 
My favorite bit was the note under the sign: "...although this looks nothing like him, due to our one eyed, left handed sign writer. Sorry, Kev."
Favs. Feel free to call me, either of you.
Next up, slightly more highbrow: The Eagle & Child, hangout of the Inklings, the literary group that comprised a couple of folks like C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. And yes, the pub also features in a "Lewis" episode. Pimm's Cups and gin & tonics for all!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oxford.

























Oxford is precisely the kind of place that makes me want to go back to school and study useless but romantic subjects. It's small and wonderfully walkable, and oh, the history that is packed into that little town! The River Thames, the university, the museums. I just want to open a tea shop there, write a novel in a dim flat, and call it a day. 
We stayed in a lovely inn just down the road from the main area; it was a gorgeous walk, rain or shine. We started our adventures along the river, where we watched this fellow...
...stalk and devour a frog:
A murder in Oxford was actually a good start, as we were set to take an Inspector Morse/Inspector Lewis tour a few hours later. "Lewis" is one of my favorite shows, and it is 100% filmed in Oxford. David is very patient with my dorky interests. The walking tour turned out to be a fantastic way to get to know the place.
AHHHH ALMOST TIME FOR THE TOOOOOOUR!!
I spent an awful lot of Oxford with that expression on my face.

Something to aspire to.
Covered market.
Great Hall at Christ Church [HP, anyone?]
Continuing on the HP theme... a familiar stone staircase.
Their coins are far superior to the US.

Friday, May 25, 2012

London town.


So behind on this blog! I'm off to Prague this weekend, but I'll continue on with the UK adventures until I'm caught up. And this leads me to... London. Oh, London. I...don't particularly care about you one way or another. I've spent a couple of weeks there before, and while it's perfectly lovely, it simply doesn't charm me like other cities have. Still, not a bad way to spend a suddenly sunny weekend. We stayed in Kensington, which made for lots of picnics in the nearby parks. We also practiced our "not impressed" faces at various landmarks.



 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Highlands.

We decided that we really ought to get out and see a bit more of Scotland while we had a chance, so we booked a wonderful day tour and headed out to the Highlands. I've never done an official sight-seeing tour beyond an hour or so, and I was slightly unnerved by the prospect of twelve hours on a bus with strangers -- I shouldn't have been. It was a small, comfy Mercedes van with 15 world-travelers and a charming [tiny] Scottish guide who kept us entertained with endless stories and personal anecdotes. I'd have been happy listening to that accent for many more hours.
Anyway. The Highlands. We had a bizarrely grey, misty morning, which softened the craggy peaks and moors into a fairytale setting that was a perfect backdrop for the endless stories. Glencoe, Rannoch Moor, Loch Ness, with stops at towns along the way [and let's not forget the hairy coos!]. You'll notice two things: one, by this point I had traded any pretense of style for coziness and water protection, and two, the sun broke out for a moment or two, with glorious results.
Coffee becomes important when you begin a 12 hour tour at 7:45 in the morning. 


LOCH NESS, ladies and gentlemen.


GOT HER. 

IN the loch.






A lovely moment in Pitlochry.
A terrifying moment in Pitlochry.

We finished up our long day with snacks at The Elephant House and drinks and a nearby pub. It was a perfectly wonderful Scottish introduction. But on to London!