Wednesday, May 27, 2009

oxford (with bob and rae)

we have been extremely blessed to have had so many opportunities to see bob and rae out here in europe. they've been here five times in the last three years, if you can believe it!

5. just now.

adam and gracie and i went to oxford in late april so that adam could do some networking at both oxford and at the royal society in london, as well as have an opportunity to meet his publisher at cambridge. all told, we were there for about 10 days, most of which we spent on our own exploring the city and going on picnics in christchurch meadow. oxford is a beautiful city, don't get me wrong, but i was honestly starting to get a little bored. there are only so many spires i can look at before i start to wonder what gracie is going to do for fun. i can't just go to the pubs all day and drink with my 15-month-old. and i can't climb all the cathedral towers with her either. so i was REALLY happy when oma and opa arrived with books and toys and tickles for gracie!

they arrived at breakfast time, which was AWESOME cuz that meant that we got to spend the whole day with them! and gracie, omg, she was the star of the show. that girl was showing off and flirting like there was no tomorrow! it was so nice to see that she actually remembered her oma and opa -- gracie has been going through a serious case of stranger anxiety (which is a good thing, i have to keep reminding myself), so both adam and i were nervous that she wouldn't react so nicely around the folks when they got here. but that was definitely not the case! swear to god, whenever opa sat down, gracie would RUN to him so that she could either sit on his lap, or have her squeeze her between his knees (omg she loves that). she loved showing oma how smart she was, playing "so big!" and making all her animal sounds (gracie, what does the rooster say? "biddi biddi biddi" she answers! not exactly, but close enough! gracie, what does the horsey say? "pppffffft!" gracie, what does the dinosaur say? "rrraaaawr!" ). she loves her oma and opa!

the first day was pretty chill since the folks were still jet lagged. we went to the grocery store, headed into the center, and met up with adam. i don't exactly recall what we did that first day, but i think we mostly just walked around. we went to eat at the eagle and child, which is the same pub where we ate with my friend carol a few days earlier. (remember that famous pub where c.s. lewis and j.r.r. tolkein hung out? yes, that's the one.) i think we also spent a good amount of time inside the covered market, since it was so blustery and cold outside.

the next day was our only full day together in oxford, so we made the most of it: we went to see christchurch cathedral and the famous dining hall where much of the harry potter movie was filmed.

the dining hall is still in use today, and this is the menu of what they had for lunch on the day we visited. i wonder, if you get to eat in this cool dining hall all the time, would you eventually get sick of it? like, would you be all, "oh, man, shepherd's pie AGAIN?!" or would you think that pretty much anything you eat in the dining hall is the most amazing food you've ever had? and, did you know that lewis carroll ate like 8,000 meals here? that's amazing! do you think he got sick of the bangers and mash too? or maybe he was totally inspired by the food there, because he did end up writing alice in wonderland, after all...

i had been waiting all week to do this with someone, and it was well worth the wait. i had thought about going by myself a few days earlier when adam was working, but i'm really glad i didn't: not only is it more fun to share it with someone, but also there are SO MANY STEPS that i couldn't have taken the stroller with me. (seriously, the english have to do something about all those steps -- there were very few places in oxford, and even in london, that were completely accessible to stroller, wheelchairs, or walkers. NOT COOL, GUYS! no wonder so many english pensioners move to crete -- they wouldn't be able to leave their flats if they stayed in england! yikes!)

but anyway, enough complaining about the steps. seriously, christchurch was amazing. we had already gone to church there the sunday prior to this visit, but this time i really got to take my time examining the cathedral and walking up and down the corridors of the college. and i found this one sign with a very unfortunate name on it. poor guy.

oh, and then adam and bob climbed to the top of some famous tower to get a better look of the city. adam loves doing stuff like that, so i'm glad he had someone to go with him!

then we took the train to scotland...

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