Not quite a full night of sleep, ended up waking again for an hour or so between 5 and 6. When I woke properly at 9am I eventually got up and had breakfast, and found I lost one of the buds for my earphones and packed a bit sad. I think I might be experiencing a little homesickness with my jetlag – I found my backup pair of earphones and called my partner, which made me feel better.
Cathy wanted to take me to feed the ducks at the park using Swang’s leftover bread, it had been raining all right and drizzled throughout the day, but we had enough time to walk through the park. I saw my first real live squirrel, and awkwardly snapped a bunch of photos on my camera.
Then we rounded he corner and Cathy began to feed the ducks. We had a laugh and threw bread at each other, trying to swarm each other with ducks – which was all fun and games, until the geese showed up. Then we walked through the rest of the park, saw another squirrel and admired the scenery while Cathy told me the story of a man who murdered his mother and sister, then killed himself in that park. Good times. On our way back there was a pretty pleasant looking cemetery just across the road from Cathy’s which I had never seen before, so I awkwardly snapped some photos of that.
I then had another couple of hours before I had to be at the bus station, so I walked up and down the main streets around where Cathy lives – I ended up going to the old Oxford Castle (it’s bow a series of other things such as restaurants and cafés, and a hotel. They do a tour through it, however the tour is guided and would take an hour (was £11 so probably worth it), I didn’t have enough time to go on a tour so instead I paid £1 to walk up the ‘Mound,’ a big hill. It was actually worth it for the views though, got some nice cityscape pictures.
On the way back I was going to go to a café for food, but I passed by the bus station so I went by and noticed a square full of covered market stalls. Went around and looked at all the food, deciding it was too expensive (and also remembering a party I had been eyeing at Tescos), I went to the supermarket and bought what is now my new favourite water, strawberry flavoured, as well as two pastries and 5 Cadbury Creme eggs for just under 4 pound, so like 7 bucks NZ. If only living here were as cheap as the supermarkets can be. I also saw a pleasant little monument in recognition of Bonn and Oxford being sister cities for 60 years of exchange. Maybe if I go to Bonn there will be one there…
Popped back to Cathy’s and walked down to the bus station with my luggage and some things I picked up for Swang – said a sad wee goodbye and left Cathy for the 2 or so hours bus trip through the countryside to London, where I got off at the last stop and walked my luggage across the bridge and to the hostel.
Snapped a quick shot in front of Big Ben (Cathy’s fun fact, it’s the bell that is called Big Ben, not the clock!) and was too sore to do any more sightseeing. At the hostel, (Walrus Bar and Hostel) I checked in, I have 15% off vouchers for drinks downstairs, and food down he road, plus breakfast each morning for free!
Up in my room I tried to throw some more money on my cash passport – originally not seeing the benefit to these cards, I’m glad I asked at the counter for more info. As it works like a credit card (MasterCard) I can load currencies onto it and then pay for things online without any fees associated with it, had I used my westpac card. There were no fees during setup (some one time deal thing I didn’t believe), and if I use a standard bank transfer to load money onto it, it costs a dollar NZ.
Unfortunately my bank wasn’t as friendly and I had to input a text that westpac had sent to my phone into the gap to prove I am me and want the transaction to go through. The catch? I had my UK Sim in my phone and couldn’t find anything to use to remove the sim and swap to my NZ Sim in order to receive the text. I used a bunch of things I had, but eventually found a drawing pin outside which I used to swap it over (I had been logged out and had to do it all again, but got it sorted). I just threw a bunch more euros on to be safe, and a little more GBP for when I return at the end of my journey. This has me feeling pretty sorted – the only downside would be ‘accidentally’ locking in a bad exchange rate when you put the money on your card.
I feel like I’m advertising for Travelex now so I’m gonna stop going on about how convenient it was.
For dinner I decided to use my 15% off voucher at a pub called the Horse and Stable – I went and ordered my food and promptly forgot about my voucher and posted full price. So, was only about 15 dollars NZ, so no biggie. I then went down there road to Tesco and got a jelly doughnut, some muesli bars and my new favorite strawberry water, and went back to the hostel to relax at the very late time of 7pm.
Once I settled down a girl was messing around with the plugs right after I plugged my USB adapter I bought special for this trip – there was a bang and a flash and now either the plugs aren’t working or she buggered my adapter, little dark about that as it was the only way for me to charge stuff in the UK. At least my phone is OK. Will need to buy another tomorrow – in the meantime using power from my prescious power banks. How dare she! I’m lying in bed eating my snacks loudly. That will teach her. Her, and the other twenty people in this dorm…
I really liked Oxford – one and a half days was not enough to do even the main things in the city, spending a little more (both time and money) would have been good – plus there were lots of things further out of the main city where you really need a car or at least a bike to reach. I think I wasted my sunny day going around indoor attractions and then had a miserable day for the gardens and the mound, but it was still a nice introduction to England.