Oxford (19th - 21th September 2008)
Sep 19, 2008
|Oxford is Oxford University, and after dropping our bags we headed back into town to do a guided tour of the university and colleges that make up the heart of the city. Our guide (a charming Palestinian who had lived in and loved Oxford since the 1950s) was extremely knowledgeable with constant additional stops and detours to show us just one more small thing – the 2 hour tour ended up running about 45mins over time and we managed to actually visit the Jesus, Lincoln, Keble colleges as well as all the usual sights on the tour.
After the tour we had a look through the museum of stuffed animals and extinct animals (can't remember actual name), but here are some snaps of the collection: leopard, dinosaur, parade antlered skeletons, dinosaurs, a big bird with scary eyes, elephants, more dinosaurs and (strangely) an ape.
We had seen a nice pub (The Turf Tavern) on our walking to hidden amongst the middle of the colleges – the sort of place that you would only accidentally stumble upon or go to if you were a local. Managed to find it again and it was packed, managed to grab a table and have dinner and drinks there (found out later that while at Oxford Bob Hawke had broken the Guiness world record for the world fastest time for drinking a yard of beer – 8 seconds perhaps). Oxford is known for churning out British Prime Minister's, I was not aware of the illustrious Australian connection.
On Saturday we went shopping in the morning, before heading to the French market and taking the 20 pound challenge to pick up a gourmet picnic lunch. We ended up with the brie, bread, grapes, marinated olives, turkish delight, biscuits and apple cider, which we took down to Christchurch Meadow on the banks of the Thames. The sun was shining and we spent a pleasant afternoon eating, reading and people watching. There were rowing trials on the water and tourists trying to punt so there was plenty to see (very few skilled punters and many punts abandoned or being towed along the river by rope from the shore).
Headed off to the Bodlean Library (closed on Sundays) so instead we climbed the tower of the church of Saint Marys for a view over the city. Fortunately we got in just before the crowds as there wasn't much room up there.
After the climb we went to Christ Church College: the Meadow building, cloister, dining hall (well connected to children's literature, with images from Alice in Wonderland in the stained glass and a recent role as the Hogwart's dining hall), England's smallest cathedral, the great quadrangle and the Tom tower (which tolls 101 times at five past nine – one bell for each of the 101 students from the original college – to signal nightly curfew).
Other Christ Church Photos:
Leah on stairs 1, Leah on stairs 2, random person on stairs behind light, ceiling shot, Light.
After our last English pub meal (and to aid the nostalgia they were good meals) eaten in the beer garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon we headed to the train station to get to Portsmouth for the ferry. As the night fell over the harbor at Portsmouth ..... we said goodbye to the United Kingdom ...... and the English language.