05 Jun An Hour Away…Oxford
Oxford the city is synonymous with the University – the oldest in the English language world – and there are endless reminders from the moment you arrive, right outside the station is the Said Business Centre at the end of the square if you choose right a little further is Nuffield College all this before the castle with a steep grassy mound. Frankly, I had no idea that Oxford had a castle as the main purpose of my trip was to visit the Ashmolean Museum.
But curiosity got the best of me and I wandered through the town centre which at first is no different from other towns there’s a shopping centre with all the modern capitalist brands but it’s the side streets you really need to explore as they show off the old town’s charm. Tiny winding streets with medieval/tudor like buildings on one side and later period (Victorian) shops which recall the scenes from Dickens A Christmas Carol.
Took an alleyway (Turl Street) and found myself on Broad street famous for its bookshops and market opposite Trinity and Balliol College, the first Blackwell’s bookstore is there as well as the New Bodlean Library. I decided to head down to Magdalene street past the church to Martyr’s Memorial which is a great place to rest before crossing the road to Beaumont Street and finally at my destination – the Ashmolean Museum which was exhibition work by Sudanese artist El-Salahi – one of Africa’s greats and The New American Cool featuring the works of O’Keefe, Demuth, Sheeler, Margolies, Hopper and others.
There is the Modern Art Gallery just off the high street which is a contemporary art space and featured an installation by Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle named Family Disorder: Truth or Dare, this work challenged the rising inequality caused by the political and economic challenges in Brazil. The gallery also has a great eatery worth spending time in. There is much to explore in Oxford as there is a wealth of history to be discovered and plenty to see whilst wandering around.