Unexpected lesson

Oxford Travel Blog

 › entry 15 of 23 › view all entries
Oxford school gate

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.

Punts on the Thames

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.
Sheldonium Oxford
  Somehow the scene should be slower paced and carriages on cobbles should be the only mode of transport making any clatter.  The air should also be filled with the ripe smell of horse dung.

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.
Christine, Primrose Hill London
  Perhaps a bit of a chick flic but for me the soundtrack was the greatest and I added it to my collection when I saw it on a shop shelf a few months later.

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.

Marius1981 says:
youre being featured! good job! whos the man?
Posted on: Dec 12, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Oxford school gate
Oxford school gate
Punts on the Thames
Punts on the Thames
Sheldonium Oxford
Sheldonium Oxford
Christine, Primrose Hill London
Christine, Primrose Hill London
photo by: petit_gooroo