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October 17th 2017
Published: October 17th 2017
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A second day of exploring the city of oxford today. We decided to go back to some of the places we saw on the walking tour, and perhaps go inside if we were able. Christ Church is closest to our hotel so we started there. We did a self guided tour of the college. It is big, and I think pretty wealthy! They wanted to use the dining room to shoot the Harry Potter films, but the college didn’t feel they could feed their students elsewhere, and it was also not wide enough for four tables across (there are three rows of tables across the hall at present), so Warner brothers made a copy of the hall in their studios instead. Some of the shooting was done in the college though. The staircase was one area used. Harry Potter is not the only literary connection in Christ Church, Alice in Wonderland was written there. Charles Dodgshun ( who took Lewis Carroll as his writing name) was a Mathematics tutor at the college and Alice was the Master’s daughter. There is a stained glass window in the Hall with the real Alice’s face and some of the characters from the book. We also had the opportunity to walk around the Cathedral in the college where we had attended evensong on Sunday evening. It has some beautiful stained glass windows, and an amazing ceiling. When we had finished our tour of Christ Church, we went on to look at the Radcliffe Camera- which we could go into- and the Sheldonian Theatre. We were able to look around the theatre and also go up to the cupola at the top of the building. From there we had a great view of Oxford. We stopped for morning tea at the New Bodleian library and then walked on to Pitt Rivers - the natural history museum. It was fascinating. The building was built in 1855, and is very light. It has a big open area which takes up the height of the large building, and around the edges of the square of this space, the building has two floors for displays. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the displays. Ther were many dinosaur skeletons and fossils, a large display of rocks, animals and insects In the large open space. Above the space was a very interesting display highlighting recent brain research and explaining the outcomes of this research. There were also more in depth displays of insects, rocks and the natural world in the area above the floor display. After spending time in the museum, it was well past lunch time. We found some lunch, and then did some shopping. By this time the sky was looking particularly odd. There had been a hurrican in the Azores, which was meant to cause some storms in Ireland, but it seemed that it had taken a slightly different course. The light in the street was an odd yellow colour, and the sun was bright orange red. (We found out later on the news that the clouds had picked up quite a bit of dust over the Sahara and that was causing the odd light and weather.) We returned to the hotel for a rest, and to see what the weather would do. About an hour later, the sky had cleared, so we went for a walk at the back of our hotel, where the Thames flows. The university colleges have heir boat houses there too, and some boats are moored. It was very pretty, and rural too. We had dinner with some Melbourne friends, John and Jenny Preston, who were visiting their son who lives in Oxford. We had a very pleasant meal together at Marcos. It as a nice way to finish off our Oxford stay.

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