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Showing posts from July, 2009

An afternoon at Duke Humphrey's

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After visiting St. Mary's this morning (see post below), I met up with Allen at the flea market. Then, I picked up a cup of coffee and met Allen's class for a walk to Keble College (founded in 1870). Keble is amazing for a Victorianist. Its design and architecture combines everything that symbolizes the era...especially in the chapel. The thing is, people want to define the Victorians, put them in a little spot and say: "This is what makes a Victorian" or "This is what defines Victorian." But you just can't do it. As my director says, the Victorians are just "messy"...and it is true. But that is what makes them so great. You can find something for everyone and just when you think you have them figured out, well, they completely contradict themselves. The architecture of Keble reminds you of gothic/Middle Eastern/high church. Here are the photos from Keble:





Detail above the chapel door:


Inside the chapel (sorry that it is so dark!):






The hidden tre…

"Keep out of my way, people!"; Or, How to run to the top of St. Mary's tower in under three minutes.

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I will get to the title post in a minute...

Anyway, yesterday, it rained and rained and rained. In the morning it wasn't raining and I went on a really cool tour of the Bodleian, going through the Radcliffe Camera and the underground stacks.

Side note: Actually, today, I am going to Duke Humphrey's Library to read. Here is a really quick video (I don't know who did it, but you aren't supposed to video or take photos!):



Then, I ate lunch at Edamame, again. It was fantastic. I got soaked walking back. Later in the afternoon, Allen and I went to the famous Eagle and Child pub for coffee. Here I am at the famous C.S. Lewis and crew table:



We got back around 6:30 and dressed for dinner with the Provost. It was wonderful. His house is here at Worcester, of course, and it was completed in 1776. He is a charming man and makes everyone feel quite welcome. It was all very formal and beautiful. We had drinks for half an hour and then dinner at a beautiful table, surrounded by gorge…

Blackwell's giftcard!

The faculty just gave me a Blackwell's gift card! I am in a new happy place!

London: Part 2

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After yesterday's ordeal, one would suppose that I would stay away from the train stations. However, dealing with Americans who feel a sense of entitlement drove me to the brink and I needed a day away. So, this morning, I hopped a train to London. I originally planned a morning at Harrods, but I was feeling impulsive (big shock) and decided to go further up the Circle Line. I got off at Victoria Underground Station and used my fabulous map. I walked all over, seeing Buckingham Palace, the parks, Parliament, Downing Street, Big Ben, the London Eye, and, best of all, Westminster Abbey.

I can't say that I found my happy place right away. Traffic wasn't too bad and I am prone to walking in the middle of roads (actually, I am pretty used to it now). So, I walked down Buckingham Palace Road (Street??) and made my way to the palace. I wanted to see it and the Queen Victoria monument (of course). But, I saw little at first...It was PACKED. I hit it right at the changing of the gua…

The Great Bath Adventure!

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So, today I went with a group to Bath. We had a late tour (at 2:30), so we left Oxford around 12:45. All was well on our trip to Bath. Our tour guide was a sweet little old lady who promptly informed us that the tour would last for over 2 hours. (We thought that it was only about 1.5 hours.) I ducked out after about an hour because I had reservations at the Pump Room for High Tea. I had a little time to kill, so I went through the Bath Abbey. It was lovely.

High Tea in the Pump Room...a wonderful (and wonderfully expensive) experience. There was a lovely trio playing music and I really enjoyed myself. After that fun time, I went on a tour of the Roman baths. I have to say that it was a bit smelly down there this afternoon...

Anyway, after that, I made my way back to the train station. I shouldn't have bothered because all of the trains were canceled due to signal issues. So, a couple hundred people gathered outside of the train station with the assurance that a bus would take us to …

Lazy Sunday

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I think I forgot to mention that on Friday night I went out with two of our faculty members and their families. We ended up at Jamie Oliver's Oxford restaurant. It was fantastic!

Saturday, I went into London, as you know.

Today, Sunday, I have been taking it easy. I slept in a bit. Then, I wandered all around the west side of Oxford. I came upon Oxford's biggest tourist trap: Oxford Castle...It should be cool, but it isn't...



I had a cup of coffee and then I met Allen and Bob Halli at Head of the River for Sunday roast. (I have a photo of this place from one of my first Oxford entries if you are interested in seeing it. Just go back a page.) It was great and the company was great as well, as always.

As we walked back, taking a passage away from the crowds at Christ Church, we came upon two really fun things: 1) a guy trying to get people into a pub by wearing a sign that said, "This pub is good."; and, 2) this...



...the thing about the ivy is that it all comes from t…

London

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Today, I went into London--big thing for me since cities freak me out and I went totally alone (though I ended up seeing several students in Paddington and one rode back to Oxford with me!). I caught the 9:31 train from Oxford and ended up at Paddington by 10:30. I bought a tube ticket for zone 1, and rode a very overcrowded Circle train to Kensington High Street. This was my first taste of London, and I have to say that for anyone who abhors crowds and wants to ease themselves into a nice city experience, this is the way to go. (after you get off of the tube, of course)

It was so laid back that I even crossed streets in the middle of the road. I was deeply appreciative.

So, after arriving at my station, I ended up on the High Street and the signage was wonderful. I walked to Kensington Gardens...here is my happy place...



I came upon Kensington Palace (the back of it, anyway), complete with this great statue of Queen Victoria...


Here is Victoria with the palace...as it should be...


The p…