I’ve never been to Oxford before. Well, I’ve never ‘properly’ been.
I was only there once in 2014, at the beautiful Blackwell’s bookshop to meet the talented, humble,inspirational astronaut Chris Hadfield who I followed for months on Social Media, taking and posting pictures of our beautiful planet from the International Space Station (including a snap of my gorgeous home island), doing live experiments and videos giving insights to the rest of us on how things work in space. That’s a whole other story though.
Five years later, a lot has changed since and it happened that my now best friend who grew up in Oxford moved back home and I went to see her this weekend. It’s amazing to think that she might have been at the bookshop that day, as it’s her favourite, I might have even bumped into her.
Saturday, 1:10pm. After a wonderful, peaceful train ride with a cup of tea, a book and music I made it to Oxford.
The city was buzzing with people, I forgot how busy it can get on a Saturday. First stop: Lunch.
The place Shebs had in mind was full so we discovered a little cafe on top of a bike shop that we now love, the Handle bar Cafe and Kitchen. It was busy but luckily a sweet man who waited at the bar for a table offered us his so we didn’t have to wait.
The decoration was just beautiful with bikes hanging on the wall, a very rustic, cosy vibe and the food was in-cre-di-ble.
Shebs had the coconut pancake stack with berries and I had the smashing avocado on toast. If you know me, you know that’s one of my favourite brunch/lunch meals and I often order it, so I tried it in a lot of places. The one I had at Handle Bar was by far the best. It wasn’t just a typical avo on toast with a poached egg on top. There was feta, chilli, paprika, almonds, seeds and beetroot hummus, it was on another level.
After that we wandered into the city centre and Shebs took me to the most beautiful shop I’ve ever been. I need not say anything else. Just have a look.
We of course went to Blackwell’s bookshop and browsed for a while and since it was too dark to admire the architecture and it was getting closer to the time we had to be at the theatre, we went for dinner at a great Spanish restaurant, Al-Andalus tapas bar. Another awesome meal. Every single tapas we had was bursting with flavour. We had freshly baked bread served with Catalan style tomato sauce and olives on the side and we went for four different tapas: Pincho de Tortilla (spanish omelette), Brochetas De La Huerta (grilled vegetables), Bunuelos De Bacalao (cod fritters with garlic, parsley and ali oli) and Albondigas (meatballs) and a jug of light, refreshing Sangria. We were so full we couldn’t finish all of it.
After this wonderful dinner we met Sheb’s adorable mum and we had a laugh and sang along to Sister Act- the musical at the Oxford playhouse.
We were in no rush on Sunday morning, so we enjoyed a cup of coffee at home before heading out in town.
On Sunday we mostly did sightseeing, passing by the Bridge of Sighs, Hertford college and the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. I was in awe of the architecture and the wealth of history.
Before I headed home we went for a quick lunch at one of the most beautiful cafes I’ve ever been, the Vaults and garden cafe, which used to be an old church. We both had the Goat cheese rarebit, delicious.
Sunday, 1:15pm. A day later, I hugged Shebs goodbye and I got the train back to Southampton. What an amazing day it has been. There’s so much to see and do, 24 hours are not enough, there’ll be more next time I visit.
I usually dread Mondays but today I feel blessed. Blessed I had such a wonderful day with my best friend, chatting and laughing whilst wandering in such a stunning city. Oxford is definitely worth a visit.