When Eric returned from his business day-trip to Amsterdam, he informed me he needed to be in Oxford today and tomorrow and he’d like us to come along. So we rented a VW Golf and headed approximately 45 miles west to Oxford. It took us almost as long to get out of London as it did to actually get to Oxford. Did I mention there are not well posted street signs or any type of directional north/south east/west postings either? And quite frankly I don’t think it would help because none of the roads are straight and nothing is built on a grid. You really do need a good GPS that speaks the directions to you; and we didn’t have one. But we made it to Oxford after about 1 ½ hours and dear daughter slept the entire was and was out for the night, so that was good.

I am very much a planner and I have needed to let that go here. I didn’t know where we were going, what there was to do, where we were staying and in what proximity our lodging was to the city center. But I knew my husband would have the car and I shamefully don’t know how to drive a stick anyway; and nearly all vehicles in this country are manual transmission. But I remember my college year in Rome and I really think traveling to new places and “figuring it all out” is part of the fun; a little more complicated with a two-year-old, but still fun.
So we arrived at a lovely B&B called Remont Guest House. It has gorgeous, well sized rooms, with a small pull out sofa for the little one and a great breakfast. And located on a bus route to the city center of Oxford, it’s only about 10 minutes away by bus.IMG00657
I had no idea what to expect in Oxford, albeit one famous university. Oxford houses much more.   Today I toured Oxford Castle, dating back to 1071 when it was built for William the Conqueror, it was used as a prison, until – get this – 1996. In 2006 it re-opened into part swanky hotel and part tourist attraction. My two year-old and I had to pass on the 101 stairs to climb St. George’s Tower as visitors must be at least five years old, but at seven months pregnant, I didn’t mind that much. Our guide then lead us to the underground crypt where debtors were once kept, and while in prison, they racked up more debt as they were charged for their food and drink! Needless to say, many were never released.IMG00656
The castle grounds are quite vast and during the day there is an open air market with live music Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, along with a great selection of restaurants and cafes. There is also a nightly outdoor summer concert series. From what I am learning there are many musical concerts, outdoor theatre events, etc, in the summer months in Oxford; however many I’m afraid wouldn’t be two year-old friendly.
Anyway, I like Oxford so far and it has been a good day – and our first day – outside the city of London.

About expatmama

Karla Oselka Walsworth is a freelance writer/blogger, born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She has lived abroad twice, most recently in London, and keeps a blog on Expat living and traveling with children, www.expatmama.wordpress.com. Living in the last five years in four different cities, her writings tend to focus on challenges of moving/living with children while exposing them to all this planet has to offer. Karla, who has her MBA from the University of Illinois, and is also a certified 200 hour yoga instructor, has settled (for this moment) in the Midwest. As a recovering accountant and budding writer, she is actively raising two children with her husband Eric, hoping to give them as global a perspective as one can, at ages 7 and 4.
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4 Responses to Oxford

  1. Jan says:

    Trust you got a shirt on her before leaving 🙂 Loved that she was waiting at the front door to leave. It reminded me of my Dad telling of Eric “packed” and ready to go home with them after I went to the hospital to have Sarah. Glad you had a good time. Doubt a visit to Oxford will make sense in January, but it has been on my list of places to visit for years. Love the Blog – keep writing!

  2. Sarah says:

    I agree – keep writing… what a wonderful way to stay in touch but to experience the world with you 🙂 thanks for sharing…

  3. Pam Oselka says:

    Sounds like you really discovered a lot in Oxford–hope we can go there sometime when we visit. What was this about Eric being home every evening once you moved??? Glad you have been open to discovering, and great to see what a good traveler Ella is!

  4. Kathy Zmuda says:

    Karla, You write so naturally. It’s a treat to see England through your eyes. Imagine charging those in prison for their food. How would they ever pay their debts?

    Loved the adventurous spirit of being excited to figure out your way in a new place. smiles, Kathy

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