Oxford, Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon

This Chinese New Year I decided to celebrate slightly differently by a trip up north of England. This trip is organised from A to Z by International Student House teaming up with Anderson Tours, and they did a fairly good job. So here are a few take-home notes from the trip:

– I made friends with another Vietnamese girl – what a coincidence! Her travelling spirit certainly makes me feel more motivated to mobilise in this oh-so-British rainy-windy weather:)

“Don’t worry about going on trips on your own. Because 10 out of 10 you can always make friends when you really want to.”

– Travelling in a tour saves you time and effort, but you will definitely miss some very important experiences. But it serves well as a introduction to the city such that you can decide where is worthwhile to visit during the nicer periods of the year.

We’re walking in the rain….:)

– England, again, convincingly amazes me with its rich culture. My new friend prefers the French culture, but I have to say the true beauty is the subtle one that you have to discovered yourself. In short, Oxford is famous for its universities while Stratford is the birthplace of Shakespeare ancestry and Cotswolds is famous for its wool and picturesque, beautiful, villagey sceneries.

When set foot on Oxford, immediately I was drawn to its quiet, tranquil feel which is so much different from London. Along the street you only get to see about a few passengers at most, possibly because it is Sunday morning, and the city is awakening. We walked past a number of colleges, but majorities of them are close or open later on Sunday. So advisedly Sunday morning is not an ideal option, as you will miss top sights such as Magdalene college (one of the most magnificent), Christ College (Harry Potter movie was filmed here), Trinity. It is quite a different feel to King’s, but to be honest I would not trade it for London¬†:)

As we only had two hours at this city we didn’t walk very far. Me and my new friend spent some time at the “Covered market” (a little bit like Old Spitalsfield Market) to satisfy our eyes with the little beautiful shops there. Authentic homely England (yay!<3), ended with a cranberry, turkey baguette (unexpectedly reminds me of “do chua” or crunchy pickled vegetables in Vietnamese baguettes!!).



Very unfortunately, we were not given much time to explore the city. Here are some photos of the street we walked; the information centre shows that it is wayyyy better on the outskirt of the city centre. Very sad indeed – look what we missed (image courtesy of…)

Here is where my brain, in addition to my eyes, worked vigorously to absorb a lot of heritage information. Although I am not familiar with the Ehglish literature in general and Shakespeare specifically, there are still a lot of interestingness.

Look at that 16th-18th century house of Anna Hathaway. It is a perfect reminder of how convenient life is in the 21st century! The dedicated staff lady there sparkled our imagination with her in-depth knowledge of the place. That cottage with thatch is typical of old village house style, and it amazed me with how bad the “building blocks” of these houses are with time. The wood/metal sticks are laid criss-cross in the wall and mud will be I didn’t quite know then, that England used to live solely on bread as there was no potatoes which later were imported once Christopher discovered the America. And so is black dye, such a difficult colour to make, and so if you want to show your prosperity what would you do? Choose specifically black-dyed thread for your embroidery. Just intricate.

All year around Christmas shop! Whoohoo

Little shops like this – can just lift you up on a rainy day.