Today began the first full day of our free travel weekend #2 (Thurs – Sun). We decided to hang out in Oxford this time and do day trips to see things nearby. Our first trip was to Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
We took it slow in the morning and got out about 10:30. We walked to the bus stop nearest to our flat and waited for our bus.
At the bus stop, the kids had a snack.
We rode the bus for about 25 minutes and arrived at Blenheim Palace. It was a really easy and short trip. Here’s the front gates.
Then we hiked up the road about 0.3 miles to the palace entrance. It was a nice walk.
By the time we got there, it was about 11:15. We took the kids to the bathroom and by the time everyone was done it was 11:30 and time for lunch. So we ate at the cafe.
Zeke finished before Micah and Aunt Shelley took him out to walk around the courtyard. While there, he found the ice cream truck (of course) and the person inside was nice enough to let him inside too.
Here’s a video Aunt Shelley took…
Around 12:15 we headed into the palace itself. Here’s the view that first greeted us:
And here’s the panorama:
And just another nice shot of the palace.
And another view of the front, closer up. Erin, Shelley, Zeke, and Micah are in the bottom left:
Inside, it was quite stunning. The walls and ceilings were covered in paintings.
I snapped this photo of a quote by Sir Winston Churchill because I thought it entirely appropriate to my life:
There were many more rooms, all of which were impressive. Along the way, we passed through a large tour group that was just standing in the way, blocking the path to keep moving. They obviously were not paying attention that someone other than their group might want to move through. As I tried to squeeze through, a woman backed up into me. I said, “Sorry!” And she muttered under her breath, “Americans!” How rude.
The library was obviously impressive as well.
The library was so very pretty, with lots of natural light and the paintings of previous dukes and duchesses on the walls. You can see Erin and Shelley in this picture (the people nearest to me).
The chapel was also similarly breathtaking.
Dedicated to the first duke and his wife and their two sons, both of whom passed away young.
By the time we got out, Micah was fast asleep on Erin.
Aunt Shelley had promised Zeke that he could have ice cream if he was good, so when we finished he got some.
Then we headed off to the Pleasure Gardens where there is a playground. To get there, you can walk or take the little train. Zeke was happy to take the train. Below he had just finished saying, “I’m the conductor!”
Zeke decided he was also the train driver and was pretending to push buttons to drive the train. Micah got scared when the train blew its whistle.
At the Pleasure Gardens, there was a duck pond, which Micah loved. She loves ducks.
The kids got to play on the playground for a while.
We hung out there for a while. James pushed Micah on the swing for a little while, then took a break.
Then we decided to walk the hedge maze. It was fun!
After we finished the hedge maze, we went potty and took the little train back to the palace. Zeke was excited to be back on the train, but you can tell how tired he was by this point (around 3:15 PM).
It was time to leave so we hiked back to the bus station. Along the way, I did an interview with Zeke.
We took the bus back to Summertown (just north of Park Town where our flat is located). There we found a Chinese restaurant and got dinner. It was pretty good!
From there we took the bus back to Park Town.
We came home, put the kids in their pajamas, and put them to bed early. They both fell asleep after only a few minutes of Erin holding each one. They were tired. We are all tired.