On my first trip to Oxford a couple of weeks ago, I was in a workshop all day so didn’t see much (read any) of Oxford. So this second trip, I made sure there was a bit of time to experience the city of Oxford.
Dave knows that I am a Colin Dextor/Inspector Morse fan (and I am happy that there is a new series called “Lewis” that keeps up the tradition). For those of you who don’t follow Inspector Morse — he lived in Oxford, listened to Wagner in Oxford and drank beer in Oxford pubs. So Dave bought a little compendium of “Inspector Morse & Oxford” so we were able to identify the pub where we would have lunch — the Turf Tavern.
Unfortunately, I seem to have romanticized the “pub lunch” in my mind. I was looking forward to crisp English apples, tasty English cheddar cheese and wonderful fresh baked bread. Didn’t happen. I even tried a “scrumpy” (kind of cider) to try to get into the spirit given that I don’t like beer. But it was fun to imagine Morse and Lewis sitting in this pub solving the latest mystery.
I was surprised that I didn’t really take to Oxford itself. My first trip had been just to the SAID Business School which is literally right across from the train station. This time I explored more of Oxford itself. While some of the buildings are incredible I felt a bit claustrophobic and surprised at the level of automobile intrusion into what I had imagined would be mainly pedestrian and bicycle domain.
We popped out of the lane where you find the Turf Tavern virtually at the “Bridge of Sighs”. This is a beautiful little covered bridge over New College Lane. I went to Wikipedia to find out more about what is actually the Hertford Bridge.
The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice. However, Hertford Bridge was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and indeed it bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city.
There is a false legend saying that many decades ago, a survey of the health of students was taken, and as Hertford College’s students were the heaviest, the college closed off the bridge to force them to take the stairs, giving them extra exercise. However, if the bridge is not used, the students actually climb fewer stairs than if they do use the bridge.
And here it is —