Joe and I stumbled upon All Souls College the other day. All Souls is one of Oxford's 44 Colleges and it's right next to Brasenose. We weren't planning on stopping by but as we passed it, it looked so inviting and the weather was so nice that we decided to give it a little walk-around.
One of the (many) things Oxford is known for is the Harry Potter movie franchise; several scenes from the various 8 movies were filmed in or around Oxford. As we strolled through All Souls, we were convinced it was the setting for at least a scene or two of the movies (it's not). We also met a young man -- from a non-English-speaking country -- traveling alone. He asked us to take a photo of him (I took about 12) and then chatted with us for a minute, inquired about Joe's studies, how we like Oxford so far, etc. My knee-jerk reaction was to invite him to spend the rest of the afternoon with us. In fact, as our small talk winded down and I watched our new friend wander over to a bench, sit down (alone) and open a book, I felt as though I had an affirmative duty to show this guy around Oxford and ensure that he had a wonderful time. Joe, on the other hand, thought I was crazy. So I explained to him that traveling alone has its own special code; there's sort of an unwritten rule that lone travelers stick together, or at least look out for another other. This is how Kaitlyn and I spent an afternoon kayaking with an Australian in the Schwarzwald, how I spent a day at Brindisi Beach, Italy mourning Heath Ledger's death with an Irish guy and an Australian girl, and also how I found a very dear friend in a fellow single passenger on a train ride in Poland. I ran through all of these anecdotes for Joe -- along with a dozen other stories -- but he remained unconvinced that every lone traveler we come across should be our new best friend. Whatever. We went on to have a very pleasant afternoon at All Souls nonetheless!
But more important than our afternoon at All Souls was what happened before our afternoon at All Souls: we stopped by the bus company's office to find out the best way to get to London tomorrow. Because....we're going to Belgium! I talked to the woman at the counter and figured out a) which ticket to get (2 student return tickets), b) which bus stop we should wait at (the stop on High street), c) how much it will cost for the both of us (74 GBP), d) how long it takes to get to Victoria Station, which is where we board our ferry bus (around 100 minutes), and e) which bus to take (either the X90 or the Oxford Tube).
Belgium, I can't wait to see you again!
And Joe just can't wait to see you!