Since we were already in Oxford, my dear friend, Camille, got to accompany the students across the pond. I was thrilled! (I mean, I really, really love my people, but I have had a lot of good time with my people since July 13.) Camille and her family have gotten to spend two semesters abroad here, and we spent time visiting a few of her favorite places. We spent time poking around Oxford, and we day tripped to Salisbury and London.
Salisbury is one of England’s cathedral towns and is the tallest one in England. The lovely cathedral has cloister and centuries and centuries of culture. And a copy of the Magna Carta. We enjoyed wandering the church and chatting with one of the guides.
Salisbury is also a lovely little town. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, so there wasn’t much going on, but we sat on the close outside the cathedral and wandered the shops a bit before catching a train back to Oxford.
A couple of days later, we hopped another train bound for London. We spent a good bit of the day shopping and exploring different neighborhoods. We had a great time hunting treasure at Alfie’s Antique Market, lunching in the food hall at Peter Jones, testing scents at Jo Malone, swooning over EVERYTHING at the Cath Kidston flagship store, and feeling very posh at Fortnum and Mason.
We didn’t spend our whole day shopping and eating; we managed to throw some bits and bobs of culture as well. We made a point to visit the poppies art installation at the Tower of London. This year is the centenary of the beginning of World War I, and there are remembrances throughout the country. Almost 900,000 ceramic poppies encircle the Tower — one for each of the Commonwealth deaths during the war. The sea of red really is stunning.
We also popped in to the National Portrait Gallery, which is right of Trafalgar Square. We were able to see Kate Middleton’s new portrait as well as the portraits lots of famous/royal Brits (historic and contemporary).
We ended our day with High Tea at Fortnum and Mason, which was an absolute treat. We had dressed crab and lobster omelette Victoria and scones (with clotted cream, strawberry conserve, and lemon curd) and a variety cakes and, of course, tea. So much food and so much fun. I can’t imagine a better way to cap off a day in London with one of my favorite people!
This afternoon Camille took the bus back to London and will fly out bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m sad to see her go, but I loved getting to share places we both love.