Sunday, March 28, 2010

oxford: day 1

I realize I am lucky in the fact that I got to leave London, leave the city-scape behind, and see more of the countryside of England. My good friend lives in Oxford with his wife and two boys. His wife is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Oxford (beautiful AND a smartie-pants to boot) and so I got a private tour of the campus. I did not know you had to be a student to even set foot on the grounds. Some places I had to sneak into with her, while my friend and his kids waited outside for us. So not only do I have some of the coolest friends on earth, but I am doubly lucky for even being able to see what I saw. There are 40 different colleges within Oxford. The next few pictures are of the Christ's Church college:
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
A lot of movies have been filmed at Oxford. If you remember, in the Harry Potter movies, the food court where they eat their meals, it is the food court at Christ's Church college. This was one of the places I had to be snuck in to. Quick thinking on the part of my friend's wife is in need of applause because many stories were made up this day just so I could sneak a peek at some of these sights. The security here was tight and exclusive. Another fun fact I learned was that Lewis Carroll's real name is Thomas Dogdson. He was a math professor at Oxford. The dean of his college had a daughter named Alice. When the weather was nice, she liked to play in this garden that was behind a stone wall. The only entrance was a little door. My friend's wife asked specifically if we could have a view of this. We were told it is something they don't usually show visitors but, did you guess?? I got to see it.
Oxford
Oxford
These next few photos are more of the campus, one of the libraries and also my friend's wife's college (I don't like to use names on my blog so I apologize for having to refer to her this way).
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Do you remember the movie The Saint? It happens to be a favorite of the husband and I. Why? We had our first kiss while watching this movie. We were at a friend's house with a bunch of people, hanging out in their clubhouse (yes, they were seriously cool). Not the most romantic movie to have your first kiss to but who cares!??! We most certainly didn't. All we cared about was being together and all that mushy stuff. ;)
Anywho. Parts of the movie were also filmed at Oxford. There is one specific part where Elizabeth Shue's character sits down in front of the Shelley statue and Val Kilmer's character is behind her, sketching the statue. Do you know this scene? I got to see this statue. The Shelley. I had no idea it was even there. Such a pleasant surprise to an already awesome day. AND we had to be sneaky again to see it. I followed her lead and marched right past security, into one of the halls and there it was:
Oxford
Oxford
With the movie having so much meaning to me and the husband, I wished he was with me at that moment. That he could teleport somehow, I could be in his arms and we could share a moment in front of The Shelley. Okay. Enough with the gag reflex. As I was saying...
After a two hour exclusive tour, we left my friend's wife to work and grabbed some lunch. Then, after walking around Oxford some more and seeing the pub where J.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis liked to hang out, we hopped in the car and headed for Blenheim Palace. Unfortunately, everything closes early in England. Plus it closes at odd times; like 4:50pm instead of 5:00pm. So we missed our opportunity to tour the inside but walking the grounds was just as breathtaking.
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
Oxford
I am at a loss for words when trying to describe my excitement at being there. To FINALLY be in England, survey the landscape with my own two eyes, be with my friends. A culminating moment. I remember it hitting me once we walked on the grounds of Blenheim Palace. It had all been a surreal dream in the days leading up to this. I never wanted to wake up and I am re-living that moment as I'm writing this. I never want to forget what I felt. It was a perfect day and a treasure I will always cherish. We finished off the day at a pub after picking up friend's wife back on campus. My dinner that night is not memorable but my company is.

One thing I failed to mention was how nervous I was the morning I left. I wasn't exactly sure why I was so uptight because I had been fine on my previous lone outings and riding the public transport. I was to walk to the tube station, ride it to the Oxford Tube (a double-decker bus) stop and hopefully catch it right on time. Well, there were two seperate exits, at the tube station, out to the street. I could either get out across the road or on the same side where the tube was. I was given information from two different sources and even had a map of where the bus stop was. For some reason, I got totally turned around and walked an extra 20 minutes, when it was absolutely unnecessary. Did I also mention it was pouring rain and I was carrying a very heavy shoulder bag? AND one of the shoulder straps broke while I was walking aimlessly in the pouring rain. To rub salt in the wound, two Oxford buses passed me while I was walking. I'm sure you can imagine my frustration at this point. Not only was I soaked from the rain but I was sweating profusely and I'm sure my face was beet red from the anger rising in my chest. I finally decided to start back at the tube station and the killer is the Oxford bus stop was right there. I felt about two inches tall and cussed myself for being so uncharacteristically out of sorts.

Oxford: day 2 up next.

2 comments:

dayna said...

all of the photos are so beautiful. i love that you sought out all these meaningful places. thanks for sharing!

whitneybb said...

You lucky thing. I have been catching up on your trip. What fun places you have been to. How great to see places you have read about and only seen in the movies. Thanks for posting!