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Oxford Journeys reviews

Read what our alumni have to say about their experiences on our Oxford Journeys programme.

Geological Trek in Nepal, May 2016

The holiday overall was a magnificent experience enabling us to enjoy a unique opportunity to walk in Nepal and learn about the geology of the Himalayas; the landscapes and people are magnificent.  A truly enriching experience.  Professor Mike Searle is an outstanding leader and could not have been more generous both in his handbook sent to us prior to our departure, in his lectures and, especially in stopping whenever asked to give us explanations of the landscapes and rocks.  We always recommend the Oxford alumni journeys, having much enjoyed several.  We certainly intend to travel with you again.

Mr and Mrs Milner (University, 1964)

Britain's Secret War, May 2016

This was my first experience of ACE, and although my expectations were high - they were exceeded.  It is impossible to imagine a more knowledgeable, friendly and efficient leader than Mark Baldwin. I knew something of Bletchley before, but visiting the other sites added enormously by showing the overall impressive infrastructure that was set up to serve and exploit it.  As an engineer (electronics and instrumentation) the learning of the detail of the enigma machine was the high point.  The VIP treatment we had at Bletchley due to having a veteran in our party was a bonus!

Alumnus (Exeter, 1957)

Chile: Astronomy Capital of the World, April 2016

The trip was an astonishing experience providing memories that will last a lifetime. Professor Davies was fantastic. His lectures were fascinating and the access he secured to the observatories was something you simply could not get as an ordinary traveller.

Mr Mark & Dr Rosaland Atkins (Hertford, 1975)

Hellespont: Gateway of Legends, September 2015

Prof. Horrocks was outstandingly good and well-nigh worth the whole cost of the tour on his own. As one would expect, his lectures were a model of how to communicate with an intelligent but lay audience.

In Livingstone's Footsteps, March 2014

I have always wanted to visit Africa and spend time in the bush; this trip was my first opportunity ... it more than lived up to our expectations. The bush, the animals, the people, Victoria Falls - all produced unforgettable memories. The night we could not return to our tent because there was a lion resting on the path will give us plenty to talk about for some time to come. We give the trip the highest possible accolade - we cannot wait to go back.

Professor Steven Schwartz (Wolfson)

Polar Nights and Mystical Northern Lights, January 2014

We found the fellow members of the Oxford and Cambridge group to be congenial, and also greatly enjoyed the company of our lecturer, Professor Roger Davies. We enjoyed his lectures, even if some concepts were hard for arts graduates to grasp! We were fortunate to see the Northern Lights every evening, crowning a thoroughly successful trip, which we would have no hesitation on recommending others to take.

Nick Parsons (Corpus Christi, 1965)

A Journey through Indochina, October/November 2013

I was able to go on this wonderful Oxford and Cambridge Alumni Travellers trip, organised by the travel company Distant Horizons from 29 October – 16 November, 2013. We managed to visit an amazing amount in both countries, travelling by air, coach, speedboat, ordinary boat through the Mekong Delta and spent a wonderful 24 hours on a junk boat in Halong Bay.  The increase in tourism in both countries is absolutely amazing. The people are charming and so stoic, as they have been through the most ghastly times, but do not seem to bear any resentment. The hotels and restaurants were all excellent.

The highlight of the trip was a dinner held in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) on 8 November with Vietnamese Oxbridge graduates. The Alumni offices in the UK got in touch with the alumni in Vietnam the result of which we met up with 11 Vietnamese alumni in the Hoa Tuc restaurant, where we had a delicious meal sitting outside at a perfect temperature. This was all beautifully organised by alumnus Tam Dinh. The British Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Antony Stokes, received an invitation to the dinner, but as he is based in Hanoi, was unable to come, but very kindly gave a delightful dinner for us in his residence on 31 October, where we were able to meet more Vietnamese Oxbridge graduates. All the travellers agreed that we learnt more about Vietnam from the two dinners than at any other time in the trip.

Janet Langdon (St Hilda’s, 1958)

Along the Golden Road to Samarkand - a Journey Through Central Asia, April 2013

My wife and I greatly enjoyed our recent tour Along the Golden Road to Samarkand. It is a fascinating part of the world that we would not have been able or willing to travel to on our own. The organization by Distant Horizons was excellent, the accompanying expert (Dr Iain Shearer) very knowledgeable and interesting and the local guides (Fatima and Abdullah) very good-humoured and helpful. The hotels and restaurants that we visited were not always first-class, but this was something we had been warned about, and in fact the standards were generally higher than we had expected. The hotel in Bokhara was particularly nice, and we enjoyed the fact that we often ate dinner in private houses, albeit organised on a commercial basis, as well as in formal restaurants.

The tour contained a wide variety of things to see and do - the marvellous blue mosaics in Samarkand, the atmosphere of Bokhara (and the silk carpet we bought there!), the minarets of Khiva, the ruined sites of Merv and Nisa and the extraordinary marble buildings in Ashgabat will linger long in the memory. It is quite a demanding holiday, with some long bus rides and internal flights on local airlines, but our group included a number of people in their 70s and they were all able to cope with it. 

Richard Hoare (St John's, 1967)

Singapore and Burma: Lands of Contrast, February 2013

Robert Gordon (Magdalen, 1970) the former British Ambassador to Burma writes about the trip.

In addition to lecturing on the Aegean Odyssey, I was asked to be trip scholar to a group of Oxbridge alumni, so my first engagement was to speak about contemporary Burma to this group, which had been invited to meet members of the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore at Singapore Management University on the evening before the cruise. My wife Pam and I later met up with the O & C group on several occasions and we were happy to be able to take several members for a drink at the Yangon Yacht Club, perched on a tree-lined promontory with commanding views across the city's Inya Lake, where we watched the sun set and the full moon appear.

For me, the highpoint of the cruise was our approach into Yangon. With our fellow passengers, we leant against the teak rail on the top deck outside the Observation Lounge to watch the scene unfold as the Gulf of Martaban narrowed into the mouth of Yangon River. As one of my other lectures had been on Colonial Burma, I could not help but recall Kipling's words as the ship "nosed its way against the yellow flood". A few hours earlier, the milky blue/green of the Andaman Sea had given way to the silt-laden yellow of the Irrawaddy Delta. Finally, again in Kipling's words, "there upheaved on the horizon the golden shimmer of the Shwedagon Pagoda". Then as now, this majestic sight dominates Yangon's skyline. Palm-thatched villages and double-tailed sampans slipped past us as we rounded the last bend to tie up almost opposite the familiar bulk of the Strand Hotel. Pam and I recalled the only other time we had made this approach by sea back in 1997 on a primitive fishing boat which took us down to Mergui (now known as Myeik) on the Tennasserim Peninsula. On that occasion, in another echo of Kipling's "Mandalay", we had seen the flying fishes play, and it was gratifying to see these again from the decks of the Aegean Odyssey as we watched the sun setting across the Bay of Bengal. One of our fellow passengers had a powerful-lensed camera and caught a magnifcent picture of one in full flight.