Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Friday, 26 June 2009

Back to a different Oxford

I spent most of last week in The Netherlands doing some research for my next book and writing articles for Gadling. I had a great time and managed to see the grand opening of the Amsterdam branch of the Hermitage. I'll be posting more articles on Gadling next week, including a feature on Delft and one on Dutch castles.

Now I'm back in Oxford, but it's not the same as when I left. Two weeks ago the students were in the throes of exams. Now they're finished and most have left, to be replaced by ever-increasing hordes of tourists. I'll miss not having the students around; they are a big part of the atmosphere in any university town, and now that term has ended there will be fewer functions at the university. The best lecture I saw was by archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson about his Stonehenge Riverside Project. There won't be any more of those until September. Now I'll have to deal with big crowds of people walking agonizingly slowly through the center of town.

So far it hasn't been so bad. I suspect the economic downturn has slowed things down. Amsterdam had noticeably fewer people than when I last visited, and my traveling companion who was there last November said it was even slower than before, strange considering he was last there in winter and now it's summer. Maybe bad economic times will give me some respite from the tourist hordes this summer.

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