The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.
We drove from London to Belgium, crossing Essex, the southeast of England, a fair amount of France and then accidentally slipped over the border to Mons, Belgium.
As a reprobate island dweller (all the way from New Zealand to Grande Britannia) I still delight at how easy it is to slip between countries in Europe, so we took full advantage of this when spending a few days in France.
A black and white tail eagerly skidded past me – intent on the pink squishy ball flying over the snow and nothing else in the entire world – 3 nanoseconds later he flashed past again in a delighted blur of Collie fur. We were playing in the snow-dusted lawns before our booking for lunch at Cliveden House, earning ourselves a tasty repast.
The skies were blue after a thick snow flurry the day before, and we wandered through the grounds with rosy cheeks and a fair amount of giggling.
It’s fair to say that I fell in love with Portugal on both of my city breaks. This fun loving country seems to be quite the winter sun destination for 2019, and I’ve had quite a few people contact me recently asking whether they should visit Lisbon or Porto for their Portuguese city break.
Both Lisbon and Porto are unique cities, each with an individual character – and sadly it’s not always practical to visit both in the same short trip.
A couple of years ago our long weekend in Budapest was such a delight that my friend and I decided unanimously for a return visit.
We met over a sunny weekday lunch to find a date, book the flights and decide where we were staying for the 5 days – the details simply fell into place with the tip-tip-tap of a few laptop keys.