Monday, July 14, 2008

Walking along the Isis

For some reason I have as yet failed to grasp, the Thames River is called the Isis as it flows through Oxford. This blog post is to share a walk along its edge, from Folly Bridge across Christchurch meadow and to the end of the college boathouses. 

This area of Oxford is for crew competitors, barge boatmen, geese, and a few stray strollers such as myself. The water traffic is thicker than the pedestrian traffic, assuming you don't count our waddling feathered friends as pedestrians. As I made my way from Folly Bridge, I watched a lone rower, a long squarish barge with pots of flowers on top that reminded me of a hearse, and a little engine-driven skiff go by. The spires of the city rose on my left across a huge expanse of tall grass, and bikes whizzed by on the bike path across the river to my right. 

After crossing a small arcing bridge, I landed in College Boathouse territory, each one emblazoned with a college coat of arms and hiding dozens of long boats behind garage-like doors. A few sported high spiral staircases leading up to upper floors, and one even had an actual rower at work doing something within. 

I cut back through Christchurch meadow on the way home, watching the usual dozens of teenagers having their picture taken first in serious, then "fun" poses in front of the cathedral. I felt fonder towards them after my day in the touristic sun yesterday in Brighton. I'm sure I got in the way of a few locals down south, and they made room for me on their sidewalks and near their pretty buildings, so I might as well try to do the same for the thousands who make Oxford their day tripping destination every week up here. 

Re-entering the main city, it was nice to know the river Isis would be waiting for the next time I needed a bit of peace by the water. 

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