Photoblog originating from Gloucestershire, England.

Autumn seams to have come early this year where I live, with some of the leaves already going yellow over the last couple of weeks. It must be due to the particularly dry dummer we've had.


On Thursday I went to Oxford. I have never been to Oxford (as far as I can remember), yet it is only about 60 miles away from where I live. Oxford is probably one of England's most historic cities, and it contains the oldest university in the English speaking world. How it took me 27 whole years to find my way there, I have yet to find a plausible explanation. Rather than being a city containing a university, it feels more like a university containing a city. This place is at least on a par with Bath, a city much nearer to me and also full of history. I can't say it enough: I REALLY CAN'T BELEIVE I'VE NEVER BEEN TO OXFORD BEFORE!

Even more so than in London or Bath, I felt truly outnumbered amongst foreigners. Every person that passed me, either spoke in an American accent or used words I didn't understand. If it wasn't for the English shop names and the fact that the sight-seeing bus drivers were English, it would have been easy to accidentally forget that I was even in England at all.

Another thing I noticed: a severe lack of benches in the city centre. I bought a newspaper and was ready to settle down to eat some of my food, when I was overcome by the shocking realisation that there was nowhere to sit. All other towns and cities in England are full of benches - Bath, London, Bristol, any of them, they all have benches for people to sit down and, well, just enjoy relaxing. Oxford didn't. None. Oxford is designed for the following: university students, shopping, taking photographs, riding on tour buses, eating in expensive places. Most green areas are private sports fields. I walked for about an hour, and eventually found a green park area with trees dotted around, where several people seamed to be having their lunch under trees. I did the same, and a crowd of Japanese shoolgirls walked past.

But despite those couple of things, I still had a great time, and came away with the overwhelming feeling that Oxford really is a special place. One thing that particularly impressed me is the sight-seeing bus tour. You buy your ticket from a street vendor (£9), and then can hop on at any of the 20 special bus stops. Then you put on headphones (choice of about 10 different languages - I accidentally switched mine to Dutch at one point), and each time the bus stops at an attraction, you can get off and spend as much time there as you want, and then hop back on the next tour bus that passes by (about 10 or 15 minutes wait). The two places I spent time at were the museum (lots of lovely old paintings) and the Christ Church part of the University.

In Conclusion:
A great city, a great day out, but take your own deck chair.



On Wednesday I went to Afan Forest Park, which is in the Valleys area of South Wales. It's great, because the valleys area is like a slightly smaller scaled version of the Brecon Beacons, which are a bit further north. There is a visitors centre, with information and leaflets showing waymarked walks. Once up on a hill, you get the wonderful feeling of being in a mountain wilderness, but with the safety of clearly marked routes and the knowledge that you're never really that far away from where you started. Looking at my leaflet, I did the white route and the green route, which were next to each other and combined to make a walk of about 8 miles, with some steep mountain-like uphill walking and panoramic views.

Day out at the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.

For more photos, plus more details about each picture, please visit my Zoto Homepage

Yesterday, I went to the waterfalls area of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which is in Wales.

My Other Blog: Tell the Sky

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  • I'm Marcus
  • From Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
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