Thursday, March 14, 2019

England: Oxford -- On the River

I love the water. Being able to look out the window first thing in the morning from our Oxford hotel and see the River Thames was such a treat. Especially given the fact that in a few months we knew all we would see in the outdoor water line would be ice!


So on this beautiful late-October day in Oxford, Rick and I just had to take a short boat cruise!


We walked across the bridge to Salter's Steamers, bought an eight pound ticket for a 40 minute cruise and there we were!


One of the first differences I noted was the large amount of rowers on the river. Certainly these were groups from the university practicing.


Some were small groups of two; others, much bigger.


And they had loads and loads of boat storage areas.


All of these buildings were packed with boats with viewing decks above. If I hadn't already known that this was a popular sport in Britain (you learn a lot from reading mysteries and watching Midsomer Murders), I would know it now!


Our guide told us that if we went down under the bridge (below), we'd be on the part of the river where where Lewis Carroll was said to have first told Alice Liddell the story of Alice in Wonderland. I'm not sure if that's right or not -- he may say that to all the tourists -- but I know it was somewhere around here. Jenny Woolf, if you're reading this and can illuminate in the comments, please do! (Jenny wrote a wonderful biography of Carroll. It's fascinating.)


Whether it's right or not, it certainly is a pretty bridge!


We past lovely houseboats at barges. I've been trying to paint this one but I think it will be an epic fail! So far, not great.


One family had bird treats -- and the birds loved it!


The scenery was beautiful. I really recommend short boat trips if you are visiting a river town!


Especially if the day is as lovely as our day was.


As we turned around and were returning to the boat launch, we could eventually see the beautiful Christ College Meadow...


...and some of the handsome buildings in the distance.


Alas. We had to disembark. (This wasn't God's gift to easy exiting. But I made it off without a dip in the river! At least I was the camera so there are no photos of that!)


Then it was time to eat. It wasn't a far walk to The Bear Inn.


This is Oxford's oldest and longest operated pub, having first started out in 1242 as The Tabard.


According to their menu info, the name changed because the Earls of Warwick patronized the hostelry and it was named after their ancient emblem. Occasional short intervals found different names but it returned to the Bear long ago.


 This just had the real feel of what I imagined an English pub to be. A spot for darts (no one playing, though!) and fun things on the wall. See those cases behind Rick?


Those are bits of neckties cut off of guests who came to the pub. There are more than 4,500, "donated voluntarily, or sometimes less so, for a measure of beer."

Speaking of which, the beer was very good. We don't have Fuller's beer over here, or I haven't found it if we do. We had it several times and I liked it. It tasted like beer. Not like grapefruit juice with beer, which is what a lot of them tend to be these days!


It was a lovely way to wrap a great day. We knew the next one would be pretty darned busy, as we had an afternoon train to catch. So, we'll see more Oxford next time! (So, are most of these pix "soft" focus because we were in a moving boat or I was shooting too fast? Or camera issues? Still trying to decide.)

32 comments:

Valerie-Jael said...

Nothing nicer than 'messing about on the river', especially in Oxford. Glad you enjoyed it so much!I've always lived near rivers, as I feel I need to be by the water. Hugs, Valerie

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Your trip was really long! I'd be homesick about know if I had been with you.

I need to wake up more before reading blogs. I got stuck on the "8 pound ticket", forgetting England's pound is different than our pound. LOL

David Gascoigne said...

I think that the excursion on the river was especially meaningful because it enabled you to watch the oarsmen in training. The annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge is a legendary sporting event, steeped in history, and free of the commercialism surrounding professional sport, which is of course purely a business with the athletes almost seconday to the whole thing. The annual race between these two eminent universities seems to me to reflect the best of Britain, it conveys a link to the past, a spirit of determined yet gentlemanly competition, pride in your university, the honour of being part of the team. I appreciate the coverage of the birds, Jeanie, but I am surprised that a royal swan did not make into the pictures. Great job in presenting an aspect of Britain seldom featured in other reports. You really did get the best out of this trip. You got to understand the country, not just gawk at tourist attractions.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, beautiful river scenes and photos. The geese being fed is a neat sighting. I would like this river boat tour. I remember on my London trip taking a pub tour, that was fun. The Bear Inn reminded me of our pub tour.
Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

Miss Val's Creations said...

What a lovely river cruise. It looks like a wonderful way to observe the locals (which I love to do when traveling). I have always wondered what it would be like to live on a house boat. Topping the excursion off with local beer sounds like perfection! I imagine men are a little tipsy who cut off a piece of their tie to display there. Funny!

bobbie said...

Another great trip! 1262 ~ it is hard to wrap my head around that! You guys sure lucked out on the weather, didn't you?!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Thanks for taking me on your river boat ride with you through you pictures!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a delightful boat ride! I love taking boat rides in cities, too. We've done that in Chicago (the architectural tour) and Paris. Both stand out as favorite things I've done in those cities! The Paris boat ride was part of a bike tour and the guides gave us wine. So fun!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - these pictures with green grass and trees with leaves are saving my life right now! It's so overcast and rainy here. Better than snow, I guess, but it's kind of a downer to look out the window right now!

DUTA said...

Your post is full of beautiful colors, and of pictures of everyday items we love and cherish: glasses of beer, bridge, geese, boats, meadow.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, what a gorgeous autumn day to cruise the River Thames! The views were so lovely and how fun to eat in the oldest pub in Oxford, 1242 is quite old. I love these posts from Oxford!

Olka said...

Wow!
I would like to try to swim with this boat! Have you tried?

English pubs - to be honest, they have the best climate ever. I've never been in any better pubs than the English ones. I mean - everywhere in the UK (not only in England) there is nice atmosphere in pubs.
If I could pick one region to settle in I would choose Scotland I think. I'm in love with Scotland, haha :)

William Kendall said...

A good trip to make on the water!

Barb said...

I love water and your shots show a lovely day. Funny how some pubs and restaurants have gimmicks (like the cut tie) that are fun. My friends took me took me to a restaurant for my 50th birthday where the waiter threw a whole lemon merengue pie in my face (that I wasn't expecting...). Since I still remember it vividly nearly 15 years later, I guess the gimmick worked. It was a memorable birthday!

Joanne Huffman said...

Hooray for time spent on and near the river!

krishna said...

Such a beautiful serene place.

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, I love it, too and we have rowers here, also. I could never do it, would be afraid to skip over and loose my glasses, though (and contacts are out of the question as well).
Your pictures really make me want to have a brunch on river Oker once it´s warmer, never done that!
"The bear" :-) What a name! Sounds wonderful, their offer! I did smile :-) Six centuries, wow. And socializing face to face is always a good idea. Tie clippings for a beer, LOL.

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Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I agree that being on the water (of any kind) makes everything better. Lovely photos!

La Table De Nana said...

Love being on the water! Lovely tour!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Such a lovely trip. The river had to be beautiful. Love traveling with you.

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds lovely.

I had a boat ride on the Thames when I was a child. I don't remember what part of it though. I remember enjoying it, and being excited about seeing, "Rosie and Jim boats," (river barges... If you don't know why I called them that, look up the TV show Rosie and Jim) but I remember little else from it.

Sami said...

Loved the bridge photos and the green scenery, such wonderful country scenes Jeanie.

Barbara Windle said...

Hi Jeanie
Nice to read about Oxford. What a wonderful trip you and Rick had.

Pam Jackson said...

Wow...that looked like fun. Looks like garages on the water! Neat.

Carola Bartz said...

I have to say that I love the Thames, it is such a lovely river. What a lovely thing to have a little river cruise! All your photos show how beautiful it is.
Rowing is a big sport in Germany, too - my Dad was a rower in his youth and rowed on the University team as well.
I agree on the grapefruit juice flavor in beer - I'm certainly not a fan. I also don't like all the IPAs that seem to be so popular these days - too hoppy for my taste. Honestly - nothing beats a delicious German beer.

My name is Erika. said...

Just gorgeous view of the river. Not being a geography expert myself, I didn't know the river in oxford was the Thames. How cool is that. You could take a boat right down to London if there was nothing impeding travel. You got some fabulous photos Jeanie. I felt like I was there with you. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend. Hugs-Erika

roughterrain crane said...

I love rivers, too. Water refreshes me.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Isn't it amazing how things can look so different from the water? What a wonderful way to enjoy this area, and the pub sounds fantastic! Loved the bridge and thoughts of Alice in Wonderland!
Jenna

BB said...

1242 is OLD. When something is a few hundred years old around here, we think it's old.

These are the most beautiful photos. It looks like a lovely day. The light is soft. So pretty. Some of the pictures of the bridge look golden with the trees and the reflection in the water.

shoreacres said...

Every now and then in good weather I look out my window and see rowers in the marina fairway. It's great fun--a little bit of England here in Texas. But being IN England would be ever so much better. What a wonderful day you had!

Nikki-ann said...

Wonderful photos and such beautiful weather (compared to the very wet and windy week we've had here!). I've yet to visit Oxford, but hope to get there (and Cambridge) soon.

handmade by amalia said...

This looks like such a fun day, good for you! The photos are great and the weather seems to have played along nicely.
Amalia
xo

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