Friday, August 22, 2008

The Churchill Series – Aug. 22, 2008

(One of a series of posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The last two series posts have focused on events in Churchill’s life which took place in Oxford and at Blenheim Palace, eight miles from the city of “dreaming spires.”

Today I want to tempt you to stay in Oxford for at least a few days, perhaps more.

I’ll walk you through a “virtual trip" there which begins with an arrival at Heathrow Airport. The "trip" is arranged so that you can do a great deal of visiting in and about Oxford without ever having to rent a car.

At Heathrow there’s a frequent, 24 hr. per day express motor coach service to Oxford.

The trip takes about 1:30. You travel on a modern motorway through attractive countryside on a comfortable coach. It enters Oxford on the High Street and makes frequent stops alone the street before the final one at the coach terminal.

If you look at this map (all those red areas are college buildings) you’ll see at the bottom right-hand corner the railroad station. The coach station is some few blocks to the right as you look at the map.

The map I’ve linked to is for overview purposes. There are many maps of Oxford and the surrounding area available on the Net. Particular places such as restaurants and hotels now almost always provide good maps at their sites as well.

That brings me to where to stay.

The guide books are available, including Michelin Red for Great Britain and Ireland.

Some people have great success searching the Net.

Let me offer an alternative to a hotel or B&B stay. Consider a self-catering short-stay apartment.

When we’re in Oxford we stay here. It’s very clean, comfortable, quiet and well-located. The rooms, while well- appointed, are on the smallish side. Also, there are no king size beds.

That said, you can save a good deal of money self-catering by cooking many of your meals; even packing a carry-along lunch as you head out for the day.

There’s something else that makes a self-catering stay in Oxford fun. You get to shop for food at the historic Cornmarket.

I should say here I’ve no financial interest in the apartments I’m recommending and if you tell them “John in Carolina sent me,” they won’t know what you’re talking about.

I’m simply trying to do you a good turn by suggesting that option.

Now I must break off this post or lose my best friend and the world’s greatest wife, all in one person.

Suppose we have special post Sunday in which I’ll finish our “trip.”

Look for a post around 3 PM ET with a title like “Visiting Oxford.”

See you then.

Enjoy Saturday.