June 2012

We needed to get away after Benson's demise and fortunately both had time off due to the double bank holiday.  We found a last-minute vacancy at a hotel in Oxford, a city with an interesting reputation that Steve had once visited on a course but that Phil had never been to before.

We travelled by train, and walked from the station to our chosen hotel.  We stayed at the Malmaison, which had been cleverly converted from the former city gaol (although our room was in the 'Governor's House', rather than in the main cell block). Next door to the hotel was Oxford Castle which, as well as being a visitor attraction, allowed us a view over Oxford's famous skyline - albeit a rather wet one, given the weekend's almost non-stop rain.

As well as wandering around admiring the city's many beautiful buildings, we also explored one of the university's most famous colleges, Christ Church.  And we spent an hour at the unique Pitt Rivers museum, crammed full of interesting anthropological stuff from around the world.

Our explorations stretched into the evenings, when we ate one night at Al-Shami (a great Lebanese) and the second at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant - and one morning when we brunched at Maison Blanc, Raymond Blanc's patisserie.

  Approach to the Malmaison Hotel Prison Wing Hotel Interior View of Hotel Roof Garden from Castle Mound
View from Castle Roof View from Castle Roof with Steve Steve in Prison Guard Uniform
Raymond Blanc's Patisserie Jamie's Italian Restaurant Christ Church Meadow
Steve in Christ Church Hall Phil in Christ Church Hall Christ Church Quadrangle
Steve in Christ Church Quadrangle Radcliffe Camera Hertford College's 'Bridge of Sighs'


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