Monday, June 6, 2011

Walk Around Oxfordshire

Around a month ago, Heidi Thorsen, if I remember right, found a book in the study room called TimeOut: Country Walks: 52 Walks Within Easy Reach of London. It's an awesome book full of day hikes, one for each week of the year. We said we were going to start doing them, but we didn't.

Sunday morning a couple weeks ago, I rounded up everyone I could, who amounted to Christine and Kendra, both reluctant, and got them to go on one of the walks with me.

The walk went out west past the train station to the River Isis. We walked alongside the river for a while, crossing bridges and getting passed by crew boats. The trail led us out into the countryside, and we eventually came out next to Port Meadow, a giant open meadow a couple miles long with grazing cows and rivers on both sides of it.

We took a detour to the west to check out the little town of Binsey. We walked through an inn and onto a street next to thatched-roof houses and pastures with lots of grazing sheep. After walking for a while, we didn't get to the town, so we turned around and walked back, mostly unsuccessful. We got back to the trail next to Port Meadow and kept going until we got to the Trout Inn, where we stopped for lunch.

The Trout Inn was a super-cute, very popular little place. It is an old country inn that has been converted into a restaurant. The inside is all wooden, with low ceilings and lots of leather chairs. There's also a nice bar. The inside was full at first, so we got seated outside. The outside patio seating is next to a little offshoot of one of the rivers with a small waterwheel and waterfall. There is a bridge to the other bank of the river, where they keep a garden and a bunch of peacocks.

First the wind came, and then the rain began. We were under an umbrella, but it didn't do much with the wind, so we took shelter inside. The place looked full, but we eventually crowded around a small table meant for two.

Eventually the food came and was really delicious. We each ordered a different kind of pizza; mine was some sort of cheese and mushrooms. I got some pear cider to go with it. Brilliant.

After a long lunch, Christine and Kendra called a taxi to pick them up, since they both had a lot of work they had to get done and it was already 2pm or so. So I did the other half of the loop myself.

The walk led me through a little more of the town of Wolvercote and into Port Meadows.

I walked through the meadows for a while.

Eventually I reached the other side of the meadows and continued along the River Cherwell.

There is a long section of the river with tons of these houseboats just tied up on the bank. This is one of the less interesting ones, actually. I should have taken pictures of some of the more interestingly-decorated ones. Some of them weren't too well kept, though.

The river led me back to Oxford. I walked through some neighborhoods with old houses until I got to Wolfson College and the University Parks. The building pictured above is somewhere near the Pitt-Rivers Museum or Keble College. I'm not sure exactly what it was.

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