Oxford Travel Blog› entry 15 of 23 › view all entries
Once I had wished everyone in Thornbury and Bristol a fond farewell I jumped a bus to Oxford.
Oxford is of course a well known university town, but I didn't realise that the whole town is made up of several colleges or learning institutions.
In New Zealand when we talk about our unis they only make up a single campus, so the idea that the whole of Oxford was scattered with places of learning took me by surprise.
I had come to look at the place, sure, but more importantly I had come to see my friend Christine. She was a woman I had met at a bus stop in Greece in 1993. We'd only spent a couple of hours together travelling on the bus but we had kept up our communication by post over the past 3 years and I was looking forward to having her show me around the place.
Christine was an archeological student and a poet. She had told me much about her Doctorial Thesis in her letters. I considered it all very interesting and the fact she was a wonderful writer added to my enjoyment of having her as a perfriend.
Christine had a full day of lectures when I arrived at Oxford so I booked myself into the Youth Hostel, which is a little out of town, and took a bus into the centre and enjoyed the afternoon sitting in a cafe watching the students over the rim of my coffee cup.
Christine was resident at Queens College and had told me to meet her at the gate at a certain time.
I wandered through the streets enjoying the architechture of the place.
I always find these gothic towns so confusing when traffic snarls up tarsealed streets, stopping at traffic signals and sounding horns.
Oscar Wilde is one of my favourite writers and I imagined him "fopping" along the street with an extravagant button-hole, loudly discharging his wit upon unsuspecting passers-by.
At the college gate I announced my arrival to the gate keeper and a few minutes later Christine met me.
We were both a little shy of course. Except for our correspondence we didn't really know each other. We immediately went out in search of a place to dine and later tried to find, unsuccessfully, her friends at a couple of clubs. In the end we settled for watching "Truth about cats and Dogs."
If you haven't seen the movie, it's a terrific.
After the movie we wandered back to the college arm in arm. It was late and I wondered if there was going to be a bus for me to catch or if I'd missed the last one for the day.
At Queens Christine said she wanted to show me her favourite garden in the moonlight. I guess I should have seen it coming but there was a distinct age agp between us and I didn't even think...
Well, standing in the moonlight, surrounded by the fragrence of all those roses, with a woman I had met 3 years earlier, by chance, on a dusty Greek bus.... does it get any more romantic than that?
She kissed me. It still kinda surprises me that I hadn't thought it might happen.
Anyway, after that I gave no further thought to my last bus.
A few years later I saw the Val Kilmer Movie, "The Saint". In the opening and closing credits there is a fly-over scene of Oxford. The camera centers on two windows at the front of Queens College. I have very fond memories of a couple of days and nights behind those two windows and I'm pleased such a romantic storyline in the film doesn't detract from the romance of my own experiences of the town.