Afternoon in Oxford.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Not too long ago, I met up with a couple of friends I went to university with, one who was visiting England for the first time, and the other who is doing volunteer work near Birmingham. Due to scattered locations and busy schedules we couldn't meet up in our perspective home bases, so I decided to intersect them one afternoon while they were taking a day trip to Oxford.

I had been to Oxford a 10 whopping years ago when I visited the UK for the first time and had scattered memories of the town here and there, but upon returning, I was surprised at how much I actually remembered! Obviously best-known for being the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is additionally home to loads of history, stunning buildings, and the most meticulously manicured parks and gardens I've ever seen.

Dating back to at least 1026, some of the famous faces to grace the cobbled-streets include Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, J.R.R. Tolkien, 26 Prime Ministers including Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron, Lewis Carroll. C.S. Lewis, Hugh Grant, and many more. 

Bodleian Library, part of the Divinity School. Visitors weren't allowed inside, but based on photos I've seen, I'm very jealous of anyone who gets to study here! Plus *cough* it was the Hogwarts Infirmary in several of the films in addition to being used as the Hogwarts library and dancing scene from GoF.

Hertford Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Sighs due to the similarity to the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Trinity College gardens, £1 to enter but worth it if you bring a picnic.

My college dorm did NOT look like this...

Ahh Christ Church College...probably one of the most famous colleges at Oxford, for good reason. Lewis Carroll was part of this college and it served as a setting in Alice in Wonderland. Most importantly (for me) is that it was also used for several important scenes in the Harry Potter films and the architecture of their Great Hall was inspiration for the Hogwarts Great Hall.

The all-too-familiar staircase...

Having a serious discussion about the sorting ceremony and which houses we're in.

One of the really random, strange things I remembered so clearly from my visit 10 years prior: The second we stepped in the Great Hall, I instinctively pointed towards the right-hand wall and told my friend that there was a portrait of someone named Trelawney there, and sure enough... 

Before hopping on all of our perspective trains home, we stopped by The Eagle and Child for some dinner – a pub famous for being a regular hangout for The Inklings. Having been to touristy pubs before, I wasn't expecting much. However, I was happily surprised: prices for pints were actually super reasonable, the food was good, and the crowd had plenty of locals. 

Oxford is a great place to whittle an afternoon away. It's small enough where you can see it all in a few hours on foot but you'll find something to suit just about anyone.

Have you ever been to Oxford or re-visited somewhere you've been a long time ago?

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