Published: January 13th 2012January 10th 2012
We're a bit behind on our blog entries, but we thought that we would start catching up on the most recent event and work backwards. Stay tuned for entries on our first few days coming up soon!!
Today we decided to finally get out of London and experience a different part of the UK, so we headed to Oxford to visit the famous university. Mike had already been there, but we decided to go away for the day at such a short notice that Oxford was the cheapest place we could get to. So in the morning, we rushed over to Victoria station (during rush hour, and so many people were crammed like sardines into the little train cars that a train or two left without us being able to board) and caught a coach to Oxford.
We were very lucky to get to sit in the front seat of the double decker coach for the hour and a half journey. It was a sunny day, so it was nice to see the green countryside as we approached the city. When we got there, we couldn't decide whether we felt stupider or smarter for being in the shadows of
such an elite university. We'd both like to think we could have gotten into the school to do graduate degrees if we could afford to fork over the $100,000 up front that they require just to apply!
Once off the bus we began to explore the university. Mike had previously been to Oxford in 2006, so he was somewhat familiar with the little nooks and crannies. The University of Oxford is made up of 36 colleges founded between the 13th and 16th centuries. It's sits right in the middle of the city, so it's really neat to walk from the old parts into the newer shopping streets.
We started off our touring at the Bodelian Library which I think is the oldest library of the university. We didn't want to pay to take the tour through the library itself (we've been in enough libraries recently!), but we did pay to go inside the Divinity School (just a single room), which was used in Harry Potter as an infirmary in one movie (can't remember which one) and a dance studio in another. We also saw the Sheldonian Theatre where we imagined ourselves crossing the stage with the other Oxford
In the Divinity School
This is the place that they shot the hospital scenes in Harry Potter
graduates receiving a diploma. Elysia thinks that this would be a great theme for a Big Bang Theory episode (for those who watch it)- Sheldon travels to Oxford as a visiting scholar and "finds out" that their great hall is named after him.
We continued to walk through the town and just experience the town. We found a cute little roofed market area, with many amazing little shops. The best was this beautiful cake shop that we both stood in front of drooling over their delicious looking cakes. We knew we didn't want to step even one foot into that shop for fear of what we would buy, but our eyes caught a price tag that said one pound on it. The next thing we know, we are coming out with a bag of chocolate sponge cake (yes a bag- it was the fresh scraps shaved off of their special shaped cakes) for one pound. Yummmmmm!! Where else can you get a bag of cake like that?
In the midst of our wandering, we stopped in at one of the colleges, Christ Church College (probably the most religious one) for a tour. This also happens to be the
site where the dining hall in Harry Potter was filmed. This was the whole motivation to see the college, to go see that room. Also, turns out that Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland) taught at the college. In the dining room, there are small characters from alice in wonderland embedded one of the stained glass windows.
Finally, before we headed back to London, we grabbed a bite in one of the hidden pubs in the city, called The Turf Tavern. It was a neat little hole in the wall place that would be really hard to find, if you didn't stumble across it randomly. We decided to try out some more local dishes. Mike had Bangers and Mash and Elysia had Steak and Ale pie with mashed potatoes. Yum yum!!
Then it was back to London. Thus ended Mikey's last day of vacation. First day of school in the new program tomorrow, while Elysia looks for a job.
There are more photos below