Saturday, 28 September 2013

Monk and Cat do London and Oxford - Our Summer 2013 Getaway

Punting in Oxford
We travelled to England this summer - my first trip to the UK (not including 1 night stopovers!).  

As warned by many friends and relatives, the weather was grey and chilly so, alas, my optimistically-packed summer clothes did not even make it out of the suitcase. Despite the weather, we had fun visiting friends, walking around the city and tasting the foods along the way!

Tea at Fortnum and Mason's
I have to admit that London was not exactly my favourite city of all time (a toss-up between Portland and Paris for very different reasons). It could be that the weather was too dreary/damp (I am always cold as it is in normal situations) and we spent a ton of time travelling on the tube, rather than walking about.   More likely, it was the never-ending suit fittings for the Monk that really hurt my perception of London, so I will have to try again with an open mind (and a ban on shopping) another trip! We still had a ton of fun, discovering delicious gluten-free scones at Fortnum and Mason's, eating perhaps one of my favourite meals of all time at Nopi and spending time catching up with friends and family! 
Dinner at Nopi's

Cookbook addict that I am, I allowed the trip (and eating at Nopi's) to convince me to buy Ottolenghi's new(ish) cookbook Jerusalem

From London as a home base, we took a day trip to Windsor and another to St. Albans, where we toured the longest cathedral in England and also visited what claims to be the oldest pub in London "Ye Olde Fighting Cocks".

For all of my complaints about London's weather, the city was incredibly gluten-free friendly. Even pubs seemed to have separate Gluten-free menus to ensure no contamination. I was not glutened once on my trip to London and was even able to enjoy scones and other baked goods!

The view from Exeter College
For a complete change of pace from busy London, we spent the rest of our time in England in Oxford. 

Oxford was beautiful, with wonderful architecture, cute little pubs and tons of greenery. Our time in Oxford was incredibly relaxing!!! As a bonus, while we were there, the sun decided to peak its head out allowing us to have a picnic lunch and go punting!

The Old Radcliffe Hospital
Oxford also boasted a lot of gluten-free friendly options, with restaurant servers very informed about ingredients and 100% ready to help or make eating suggestions at pretty much every place we tried.

We wandered the streets of Oxford, day and night, snapping a ton of pictures along the way. 

These are some of my favourite shots (believe me it was hard to choose!)

A Cafe in Camden Town (London)
The Oldest Pub in England
Our Ride from London to Oxford.... Just Kidding!

A Graveyard in Hamel Hempsted

Street in Oxford
Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

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