#TravelingBandJournal: Soundpad 2009 UK Tour Diary - Day-6 to Day-7

Updated: Apr 12

Dreaming Spires, Soaring Turrets: Walking around Oxford Uni with a friend and turning up in our Sunday-best for a photo-shoot at Cardiff Castle lawns


When we woke up, there were meadows all around – it felt like we had escaped through a rabbit hole into the pastures of paradise. We looked around expectantly for cud-chewing bovines but there were none. Where were we really? The backyard of the hotel at Oxford we were using as day rooms – to freshen up, change, shower and shit before the next performance. For a complete list of hotels where we stayed check Vasu’s stash of Things Flicked from Hotels.

Here a digression is necessary to talk about Jishnu and his trekking days in Darjeeling. On one of his jaunts he met a fellow-hiker called Guy Ohringer, visiting India from the UK. In April-May 2003 they tramped all over the Singalila range, having themselves quite an adventure and you can read all about it in the travelog here.


[Photo] Jishnu, Guy and Abhik - atop the Sandak-phu peak (3600m) in April 2003.


Many years passed, six to be precise, and when he realized he was about to go to the UK, Jishnu and Guy got back in touch. By then Guy had travelled half the world and was pursuing a masters degree in Oxford University. Needless to say, a tearful reunion ensued. OK, maybe not tearful, but an emotional one for sure.


Guy was our guide in the walking tour across Oxford University – we saw some really beautiful buildings, chapels and even dining halls and student residences.


[Photo] At the Hogwarts-esque Dining Hall at Magdalene College, Oxford Uni. Photo credit: Kit Oates.


Our guide kept up a constant flow of information on what was what – it was pretty good! The place has so much character and history that you can almost touch it in the air. “This is where we have the parties with the scantily clad babes”, Guy said matter-of-factly pointing at a grassy knoll. Swarathma will be back for sure.


[Photo] Not a very common sight at Cardiff Castle, we're sure.


The next morning we awoke in Cardiff, the capital of Wales – the first thing that struck us was the Welsh language – it was everywhere, and we didn’t understand a word! Being an official language of Wales every signboard was in 2 languages, but try as we might we couldn’t see a correlation between them! We later learned about the Gaelic roots of the language – and the accent of the people was lovely.


Two highlights of the Cardiff trip: the photo-shoot at Cardiff Castle, an impressive medieval monument would never have seen six lads cavorting in their Sunday best, and brief stop over at Spillers Records, the ‘oldest record store in the world’. The claims aside, we really enjoyed speaking to the owner (who runs the store along with his family). He offered to stock our CDs and wire us the money (alas we did not have enough) after listening to it. There was a unique ‘community feel’ to the store with listings of gigs, tickets at discounted rates and more part of the shop. We loved it.


Text: Jishnu Dasgupta

Images: Pavan Kumar

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