Getting Settled in Oxford

 

We arrived to Heathrow airport on Monday September 12th in the early afternoon. We were amazed at the customs procedure. There were several entry stations where you enter singly and put your open passport in a scanner while a camera takes your photo. After the scan, if no red flags pop up, you proceed to the baggage claim area. No human interaction at this point. We were flabbergasted but happy with the streamlined procedure. Next we followed the signs to baggage claim and waited for our bags to appear on the moving belt. Again we were happy to see them both appear and then we looked for signs for the central bus station located at Heathrow Terminal 3 . It was a long walk and when we found the bus station we looked for the The Airline Bus, Oxford. The first bus we spotted was with a cranky bus driver who felt his bus was full but a few stalls down there was another bus with a happy bus driver ready to take our bags and let us know a return ticket would save us money. On board and ready to go. The journey would take at least 80 minutes with the stops involved along the way. When we got to Oxford it was a prime traffic time so the journey took longer. We got off the bus and got our luggage and proceeded to find our apartment. Our Airbnb hostess gave us great directions and instructions. It was only 0.2 miles to our apartment from the bus station.

To get into the apartment complex we had to enter a security code for the door to open.

We found our apartment and entered another code to get the key from a lock box. In and ready to dump our bags and settle in before we headed out to find a pub for a meal.

We found our way to New Inn Hall Street heading for St. Michael Street to find The Plough Pub on Cornmarket and St. Michael Street.

The Plough was closed so we headed back a few businesses on St. Michael to the Three Goats Head Pub. We found a table and placed our order.

We both enjoyed a Steak and Ale Pie and we had a conversation with a couple from Finland. Maybe half a conversation as we both tried to get beyond a language barrier.

On the way back we discovered a connection to the Wesley family on New Inn Hall Street.

Walking back on St. Michael you can see the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church on New Inn Hall Road.

Oxford is full of connections to the Wesley family. John and Charles Wesley followed their elder brother Samuel to Christ Church; their father, also Samuel, was a student at Exeter College; and their grandfather John studied at New Inn Hall (from which New Inn Hall Street takes its name).

If you follow this link you will find some interesting history of the Wesley family in Oxford and beyond.

On the same road we passed St. Peter’s College.

This was the apartment building where our airbnb apartment was located on the Oxford Castle and Prison location (part ruined Norman Castle).  The Swan and Castle is a pub in the Wetherspoon Pub chain. A cheaper pub that is open from 9am until 1pm. We weren’t aware of this fact before we booked our apartment. This wasn’t the type of pub we would choose.

The second balcony up is our apartment. Outside tables were situated below our balcony and windows. The drinking age in the UK is 18 and because this pub was one of the cheaper pubs many young people congregated to drink and smoke and enjoy themselves loudly each night. OYE. Such a nice apartment in a wonderful location with this downside. Thankfully we packed earplugs and there was a fan in our bedroom that we utilized for white noise. It was quiet from 2am until 8am so that was a plus. We decided to go with the flow and enjoy the upside to this apartment and not get in a snit about the downside.

Looking out our apartment window we said goodnight to our first day in the United Kingdom.

Back to the present we are getting more acclimated and feeling less tired. Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep longer into the morning, too.

Birthday Dinner on the ‘Coast’

Our kids on the coast planned a birthday dinner for their dad since we had to travel to that side of the state to fly out on Sunday. It was a lovely dinner and time together. I wanted to document it before Oxford takes over in my posts. Our kids on our side of the mountains had a delicious meal for Gramps on his day and we didn’t take a photo. Addy and JJ made cards for Gramps. All the kids went in on a very nice gift, too.

Off we go. We arrived and we are settling into our apartment for the next 9 days.

After we got settled we stepped out to find something for dinner. We passed the Wesley Memorial Methodist church. I’m always attracted to old substantial doors and doorways.

We enjoyed a traditional steak and ale pie and conversation with a couple from Finland and a young lady from Thailand.

Hopefully we’ll have a good nights sleep after being up for many hours and crossing too many time zones. Cheers!

Cheers From England ~ The End

Today Wednesday July 16th was our last full day in England. Tomorrow we will head to the car rental agency to return the car and to Heathrow.

We leave here noonish on Thursday and arrive home at 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. So weird.

We enjoyed an early walk on the property where we are staying and then headed into central Windsor to see about catching a boat ride on the river Thames. We arrived in time for the first 40 minute boat ride of the day which meant we weren’t packed in like sardines and enjoyed a relatively empty boat. We met a couple from Australia and exchanged our travel experiences.

The Thames 062

The Thames 048This was our turn around point. To go farther on the river we would have had to wait for the locks.

The Thames 049

The Thames 074On our way back to the dock we got a great view of Windsor Castle.

The Thames 082We did our last minute shopping in Windsor and enjoyed our last very English meal at the Duchess of Cambridge.

2014-07-16 The ThamesA steak and ale pie on top of a bed of mashed potatoes and peas smothered in gravy for me and fish and chips for Dear.

We walked by this next shop and decided to attempt a Selfie which is not easy with a big Nikon camera and a 4 inch lens on it. Are you suppose to look dorky on a selfie?

The Thames 089We are really enjoying this last spot we chose and have had some good relaxation before we head home to the reality of a lawn that needs mowing and renovation work that begins full swing on Monday. Thanks for following along with us in real time. Your comments are always encouraging to me. The next time I post will be from Pacific Time. I have so much more to share from England. Cheers for now from Jolly Old England!