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Thursday, December 24, 2009

European Escapes Day 2 (Part II): Oxford - A Little Romance In A Little Place!

Again, we travelled from Bath to Oxford with First Great Western train.  From Bath Spa, we changed trains at Didcot Parkway and finally got off at Oxford Rail station. The train journey was about 1 hour 10 minutes, from 2.43pm-3.50pm.

 IMG_1201IMG_1205IMG_1226IMG_12701) My experience of universities is of campuses with fairly clear boundaries: central administration offices and lecture theatres, all clearly signposted. Oxford is not that kind of university. The whole town is the university – it is hidden in pieces around the city’s central business district. 

 IMG_1210IMG_1238IMG_1243IMG_1246 2) Oxford is peppered with churches, towers and spires.

 IMG_1303 3) St Mary the Virgin church.



4) Bridge of Sighs

 IMG_12345) It was a very windy and cold day, which hampered our visit and, being the Christmas eve, many of the buildings we wanted to look in were closed to visitors. But Oxford is definitely a place I would love to go back to and spend a bit more time in. I get the feeling it is a rich and deep place that we barely scratched the surface of.


We took First Great Western train back to London Paddington from 9.01pm-9.58pm.

European Escapes Day 2 (Part I): Arrival in Bath

At first sight, Bath was attractive because it's close to London (only 99 miles away or 159 km) and I heard that it boasted some wonderful Roman Baths. But I was far from imagining how beautiful Bath could be. No doubt it became a World Heritage Site in 1987!

We left Finchley Central Station at 6.00am. Finchley Central is on the Northern Line, Zone 4. We wanted to buy Oyster Cards for underground but the manned ticket office that sell the Oyster Card was closed; probably it was still too early.

Without delay, we bought a single ticket travelling from Zone 4 to Zone 1 (£4.00 per person). King's Cross St. Pancras and Paddington are located in Zone 1.

We changed trains at King's Cross St. Pancras, quickly bought 2 Oyster Cards at the ticket counter and finally got off the tube at Paddington.

We had bought First Great Western train tickets in advance from Paddington National Rail Station to Bath (

Oyster Card is a pre-paid fare card just like ez-link in Singapore. It costs a 3-pound deposit plus whatever you want to pre-pay for rides. The fares are lower than single-ticket fares. On leaving London, you can redeem your card for the deposit, plus whatever money is left up to £10.00. Both of us forgot to do so on our last day in London.

IMG_0712eIMG_0719eIMG_0730e 1) We emerged from the station at Bath Spa to be immediately struck by the amazing Bath architecture. Everywhere beautiful Georgian buildings with limestone facades. Very elegant in an understated way.

IMG_0929  2) Roman Baths @ £11.50 per person

IMG_0768_thumb[1]IMG_0780_thumb[1] IMG_0786_thumb[1] IMG_0790_thumbIMG_0887_thumbIMG_0902_thumb[1] IMG_0905_thumb[1]

3) The way the history of the baths was presented was outstanding and very informative. It took us through from why the Romans chose this place because it was and still is the only natural hot water spring in England and how important it was as a temple with its healing powers.

IMG_0924_thumb[1] IMG_0938_thumb[1] 4) Steam rising from the Great Bath. The water seemed a bit murky when we were there.

 DSC02003 DSC01998 DSC02000 DSC02001 DSC02002 5) Nice sausage.


IMG_0979_thumbIMG_1063_thumbIMG_1119_thumbIMG_0999_thumb[4] IMG_1039_thumb[1]IMG_1066_thumb[1] 6) Bath street view

 IMG_1077_thumb[1] 7) The Circus

  DSC02059 DSC02061 IMG_1158_thumb[1]8) Bath oldest house and home for Sally Lunn’s bun. To be frank, it was nothing spectacular.


To be continued…European Escapes Day 2: Part II

Saturday, November 14, 2009