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.)
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