Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Weekend in Oxford

This past weekend, I finally ventured out of Scotland to other parts of the UK. I took the train down to Oxford to spend the weekend with friend and fellow member of Team CB, Xenia. On Saturday, we ran in the Oxford 5k Fun Run. If you follow the link, you'll notice the runners, presumably from last year, actually have bibs with numbers and it looks all official like. They lie. Rather than going into the details, I'll just point you to Xenia's race report (both very true and very funny). Based on my watch time (the only time I have for the race), I completed the 4.9k in 37:15. Which is actually pretty good for me, but I did end up walking for about 3-4 minutes of the race. Bummer.

Chri..err..Xenia and I spent the rest of the day walking around Oxford and enjoying the sun. Xenia is a terrific tour guide! I learned all about the weird collegiate setup that is Oxford, about pimms and punting (a very good way to look silly). It was a beautiful day to be out and about. And Oxford really is a neat place to wander around. Here are some pictures from my tour.

This first picture is of Wadham College (I think).

It turns out that the University of Oxford isn't
really a university as we typically think of a university. Imagine if someone picked up all the small liberal arts colleges in Ohio and plunked them down in the same city. Oxford is kind of like that. Each college is much, much more independent than a college in a US unversity. I also learned from Xenia that the castle-like, up-and-down, edging bits on the building are called crenellations.

Oxford was interesting because, like Edinburgh, the city and buildings resonate age. Here is a picture I took along Broad Street.

Although you can feel the age as you walk around, the weightiness of Oxford was very different. Buildings and sidewalks in Edinburgh are made up of all this dark, grey stone. The stone buildings in Oxford have a much warmer feel, probably because they are made of a lighter sandstone.

Enough about stone. This is a picture of one of the guys they have ringing the Sheldonian Theatre.

I think it looks like he's going to sneeze. Hopefully it won't happen during graduation, which is held here.

These next few pictures are of the Bodleian Library.

If you look closely at the second picture, you'll see they have Latin above the doorways. Apparently, you need to know Latin just to know your way around this particular library. I'm guessing you won't find any fun romances here.

And now we have the Bridge of Sighs. No wait, wrong bridge. That one's in Venice. This particular Bridge of Sighs is a replica. I can't help but wonder what message they were trying to send to their graduate students.

And here is me, in front of the Radcliffe Camera. "Camera" seems like a funny name for a library, until you realize they were just trying to be all pretentious with the Latin again ("camera" means "room" or "chamber" in Latin according to the Wiki page).

This next building is part of All Souls College, or more formally, The Warden and College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford. I can't help but wonder what the requirements are for getting into this particular college.

This next batch of pictures were all taken at Christ Church College, which is very pretty and not Latin. (Ok, there was Latin in the Chapel, but I didn't take any pictures there.)

For all you Harry Potter fans, this dining hall in Christ Church is the one they used to film the dining hall scenes for Harry Potter.

Ok, enough buildings. One of the very, very cool things about Oxford was the parks and greenspace. There are two rivers that run through town, where you can find ducks and geese, including Canadian Geese, which is a bit surprising. My best guess is that the geese in these pictures are Greylag Geese. Although this one looks like she's walking, she was actually posed that way for several minutes.

And look, goslings!! Awwwwww.

Ok, not geese, but also not animals that I was expecting to find in Oxford.

And since I love trees, as usually I must include a couple that I thought made for particularly interesting pictures.

And that concludes your tour of Oxford!


McB said...

Thanks for the pictures! I've read so many English mysteries over the years that a lot of those buildings actually sounded familiar to me. I'm really going to have to visit Oxford someday. Oh, and Latin is used a lot in the law too. In camera, for instance, usually means in the judge's chambers, or in private.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures.
I remember going into one building that had a large round stained glass window. Very riveting to see.
Don't remember what it was called.


Xenia said...

Pretty! Your photos make my town look really good. And you are right, that first photo is of Wadham.

Next time you come to visit, I'll make sure to actually show you my college. :)

orangehands said...

Very cool pictures, thanks! As for the Bridge of Sighs replica...finally, some truth about schools :)

Scope Dope Cherrybomb said...

Beautiful pictures Theresa. Thanks for the tour as I most probably will never get to Oxford. I have often wondered how it looked as in movies not much of the buildings is seen. I didn't know that Harry Potter's dining hall was in a college in Oxford.

rssasrb said...

Great pictures and great virtual tour. Thanks for letting us share your trip.

rssasrb said...

Great pictures and great virtual tour. Thanks for letting us share your trip.

Keziah Fenton said...

Thanks for allowing me to travel vicariously through you. I'm glad the two of you enjoyed yourselves.It all looks so beautiful and restful.