Monday, March 11, 2019

England: Oxford -- A Perfect Morning

So what does one do on the first morning in Oxford? Breakfast, of course!


The Head of the River does breakfast well. The dining area is lovely with both pleasant seating areas with views of the river and a breakfast bar.


We enjoyed the full English. I have nothing recorded in my journal about having lunch so I'm thinking this massive breakfast must have held us well!


Then we headed into the center of town and stopped first at St. Mary the Virgin Church.


This beautiful structure had quite an un-beautiful past. It was the site of where several Protestant martyrs, including Archbishop Thomas Cramner, were tried.


If the history of religion in England and the torture of the Protestant martyrs is a subject that interests you (it fascinates me but I'm not terribly well versed on it), I suggest skipping over to Mike's post at A Bit About Britain HERE. He has a great post on this and my time at St. Mary's was the richer for having read it.


And no, we didn't climb to the tower. But I hear the view is spectacular! Inside was lovely enough.


We moved on, hoping to stroll through the Bodlian library, which is quite like the Library of Congress in scope. That's it on the left. However the only way one could tour was to take the official tour and neither pocketbooks or feet felt so inclined. (They did, however, have a very nice gift shop. I do love a good gift shop!)


The architectural detail in places like this is so beautiful.


Loads of gates from which to peer, wondering what is on the other side!


The library has a large courtyard. If you look at that arch, there is a booth where one could get tickets to tour the library.


This plaque was also in that alcove. I took the photo below for Rick who is interested in the subject of slavery and the transport of slaves to the West Indies, where Acklin Island is.


Academic cities fascinate me. You see such interesting people. Trust me, I never see this in Lansing, Michigan!


Across the courtyard from the Bodlian, we also admired Radcliffe Camera, a new-classical style building that houses the Radcliffe Science Library. It was built in 1737 (to 1749) and is quite impressive.


But we couldn't go in here, either!


Then we found the beautiful Bridge of Sighs.


But then we hit the mother lode -- the fabulous Blackwell's Book Shop.


Blackwell's is a terrific bookstore, founded in 1879. The Oxford shop is its first and flagship location. Although though it's facade didn't look particularly large, it was surprisingly big inside. There was lots of good browsing and we both made purchases!


While Rick was checking out music at Blackwell's music shop, I couldn't help but check out the pub next door called The White Horse.


 It was the sign in front that called me, as it had the fellow in the photo above!


It has been in Morse, Lewis and Endeavour programs and I had to have a selfie with a sign!


My feet were pooping out so we passed up the Ashmolean museum (darn, but necessary). Instead, we had decided to do a river cruise in the afternoon and as we walked back toward the hotel before, we saw the Bate Musical Instrument museum.


It was fascinating -- loads of vintage instruments going back to the 1600s.


I was rather intrigued by some of the beautiful and interesting pianos, like this one...


...and this.


And check out this detail from within the "lid" of one of the instruments. Gorgeous!


A music student was playing the harpsichord and he was making it sing, big time!


Rick chatted with him and an instrument builder, too.


Then it was time for the river on yet another gorgeous fall day. But more on that later!

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41 comments:

Yael said...

Your travel journals are marvelous Jeanie! :-)

Red Rose Alley said...

What a charming breakfast place this is, Jeanie. Love all that brick! What a grand library! Nel would love browsing through there. I was wondering what the religion was of St. Mary the Virgin Church? This is a cute photo of you and The White Horse sign. The instrument museum caught my eye, and looks so interesting. Although I don't have any musical talent, I still would love to go inside. You are having many special moments on your travels, Jeanie.

~Sheri

Miss Val's Creations said...

What a perfect visit Jeanie! I would have really enjoyed the old instruments and wondering how they sound. The breakfast place is so charming. Such beautiful architecture everywhere too!

Valerie-Jael said...

Wow, you sure got to see a lot during your time in Oxford, thanks for sharing the wonderful photos and bringing back some good memories. Hugs, Valerie

Regine Karpel said...

Love.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

Wonderful tour and trip! Gorgeous buildings. The instrument museum is interesting. Your photos are wonderful. Happy Monday, have a great day and new week ahead!

Jann Olson said...

It does sound like a perfect morning Jeanie. I love English breakfast! Did you have scones? Hubby and I love historical tours and vacations. This is one we have not been on. He would love the book store! Me, I'd be searching for a thrift or antique store. :)
hugs,
Jann

bobbie said...

Another perfect day-trip!!

Pamela said...

Gorgeous photos! I feel like I am back there again.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Had to laugh at the footwear on the three guys in robes---one in scandals, one in running shoes.

Rick must have been in 7th heaven with all the musicians to talk with and instruments to see.

David Gascoigne said...

What a fabulous time you had, Jeanie. Now here is the big question. Did you have black pudding with your complete English breakfast? That is my "food to look forward to" when I visit the UK. I can understand skipping lunch. I think the whole breakfast would account for the Canada Food Guide requirements for a week! I doubt whether you could have dragged me out of that bookstore in less than two hours. I think you should go back there and take pictures of the natural history section so that I can see what they stocked. As for Rick and the instruments and the musicians to chat with, heaven obviously was easy to enter!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oxford is an amazing city and one that you have captured beautifully in your photos and words. It's so much to see and do there we were thinking of just spending a week there! Thank you for sharing your lovely experiences.

William Kendall said...

My dad would enjoy the pianos! Beautiful shots, particularly the architecture.

My name is Erika. said...

What cool photos today. I think finding the Inspector Morse sign board is good luck. I've never been to Oxford and it is great to see it is as fascinating as I thought it would be. Hope Rick is surviving with his broken foot. Talk about bad luck! Hugs-Erika

Susan Kane said...

Awe-inspiring to see those places and to share with us. thanks for giving us your journey.

Gina said...

So much to explore and delight in! I especially noticed all the beautiful wood floors and such in the breakfast bar/restaurant by the river. I can imagine many a lovely meals there!

Zaa said...

Good for you keeping a traveling journal...I love good old English breakfast...They keep you going all day long.
I would love to visit the musical museum to view all those fabulous instruments.WOW ..you really took in a lot of sites...I bet by the end of the day your beat and ready for a drink ( Ha Ha) You have captured everything so beautifully with your photos...I’ll have to back track and catch up ....Super post... THANKS for sharing....Hugs

Marilyn Miller said...

The music instruments do look beautiful and finding someone playing, what a treat. Love seeing the Bridge of Sighs. Churches and architectural features always intriguing. Love the pulpit with the stairs in the church too.

Iris Flavia said...

The breakfast place looks very inviting indeed! And it shows that beans for breakfast in England is but a clichée :-)
I never climb towers, I sadly can´t get down again, it´s ridiculous! But even my Niece is like that, was, when being only 6 years old...
The gate is beautiful! And leaves room for dreams.
Yes, there were and sadly still are dark sides in our lives, slavery is something I fail to understand, luckily.
Hmmm. Is it a coincidence? The funnily dressed people and the "Road closed"-sign?
The Bridge of Sighs is beautiful indeed!
And I love that selfie :-)
Oh, and the instruments!
Another great first part of a day!

Tracy said...

Oooo... I was sooo looking forward to your Oxford posts, Jeanie! Wow... what a time you had there!! Getting VERY teary here, as this brought back some wonderful memories when TJ & I were in Oxford many years ago--we had just one day one, and needed a week... haha! Just LOVE the cafe where you started your first day--what a nice beginning. Powerful stuff at beautiful St. Mary's... You got a good taste of going everywhere, Blackwell's too. Love your selfie with Morse! :) The Bate Musical Instrument Museum must be on out list for next time--somehow didn't know about that! Looking forward to more from you time in Oxford... Just LOVE Oxford--such rich variety there! :))) ((HUGS))

Sami said...

Beautiful grand buildings and I loved the Bridge of Sighs.
I thought it looked like "inspector Morse" in that sign, and it was :)
Nice photos Jeanie.

La Table De Nana said...

The bridge of sighs:) So lovely..oh you had a ball you two..you are perfect travel companions!

shoreacres said...

I'd never heard the expression "the full English" for a particular sort of breakfast. Of course the first thing that came to mind was the expression "the full Monty." I wondered if there could be an association, and found this great explanation. It seems no one's entirely sure where the phrase "full Monty" came from, but I enjoyed the suggestion that Field Marshall Montgomery's insistence on a full English breakfast led to the expression "full Monty" -- a conflation of his nickname, and a traditional meal.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Looks like another splendid travel day! Those pianos are beautiful. I'm a piano-lover so would have loved checking them out! A river cruise sounds like the perfect way to cover some ground and give your feet a rest!!

Marie Rayner said...

What a wonderful trip you and your partner had Jeanie! You certainly know how to get the most out of every location! You must have done a tremendous amount of research before you went. Oxford is a place I would love to go. I am a huge fan of Inspector Morse and Endeavor, so have seen a lot of Oxford via the shows, but oh so want to see it in person! We have stopped at the services on the motorway, but that is all! I am enjoying seeing it via your eyes! xoxo

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, what a treat this post was for me this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed every detail. I would have loved to be with you in the bookstore. The river cruise sounded like such a perfect way to enjoy the beauty and also perfect for your feet.

Again, a wonderful post ~ enjoy your week.

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, another beautiful part of your wonderful trip. I have always heard that English food was bland and not too tasty. Did you find that?..Happy Tuesday..Judy

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Looks like another fine day was had! The restaurant looks like it was a great way to start the day and I love the quaint brick arched entryway. The church looks like it was a wonderful place to visit- too bad it has such a history. Love the Bridge of Sighs. There is an Album and song from the 70’s by Robin Trower called Bridge of Sighs. I never knew there was a real place by that name! Looks and sounds like the book store was a big hit! Dan stayed at a Hotel or Inn with White Horse in the title back in the 70’s when he was there but we can’t find it on the map. The musical museum looks quite interesting. I got to hear someone play a harpsichord when I was a child and I remember it being quite a unique sound! I hope you enjoyed your river cruise!

Joanne Huffman said...

You really do a great job of seizing the moment and getting the most out of your travels.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

i have been following along, Jeanie, even though I haven't been leaving comments on all recent posts. You have had very full days and seeing all the photos and reading the posts makes me feel as if I have been traveling along, so thanks for the taking me (and all of us) along on your travels and we didn't even need to pay for airfare or lodgings.

Arti said...

I remember some of these places, visited Oxford a few years back. And yes, spent quite some time in that bookstore, and alas, forgot and left the charging plug for my iPhone there. Didn't have a chance to listen to any live harpsichord playing. Enjoy all your travel highlights.

BB said...

Interesting history of The White Horse. Yes, I read the sign.

It's so great that you journaled. We do forget so much over our lifetimes. When she wrote her book, Barbara Walters said how much she regretted not keeping a journal. Can you imagine having a life like her's, meeting so many people, and not remembering many of the details later.

Shelia said...

Honey, you just have too much fun except when Rick broke his foot! Thank you for sharing your travels with us.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Lowcarb team member said...

I so enjoy your posts, love the information you share and your wonderful photographs.

All the best Jan

Lynne said...

I love traveling with you . . .
And Blackwell’s . . . what a bookstorep, a real treat.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, another beautiful post in Oxford! I always love traveling with you and seeing a particular place through the eye of your camera. I hope Rick is healing well.

Jenny Woolf said...

Another lovely post! That keyboard with the dazzling keys won my heart, although I can imagine it being a little confusing to play. I have never even heard of that musical instrument museum, and when you think how often I have been to Oxford... so thanks for broadening my horizons! I will definitely go there next time. It is wonderful that they let people play the instruments, too. I hate to see them permanently locked in cases.

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Decor To Adore said...

Oh, what beauty. Oxford seems so idyllic. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Jeanie, your time in Oxford sounds like Heaven to me!!

Mother of 3 said...

I just love exploring old cities! Looks like a lovely day.

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