A Travellerspoint blog

Oxford


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We took a day trip to Oxford on Monday, which was amazing. It was so peaceful there; the pace was just so much different from being in the city. The bus ride was long, so we pretty much started off our day with lunch at The Eagle and Child. This is the pub where writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met to discuss their work, when they weren't making our future Professor Armitage sweat about his oral exam. I got as close to a traditional English meal as I could with vegetarian sausage and mash, which was excellent.

Eagle and Child

Eagle and Child

Eagle and Child History

Eagle and Child History

After lunch, we went looking for an Oxford college that was open to visitors, but most were not because their semester hasn't begun yet. We saw a memorial dedicated to Rhodes Scholars who died fighting in World Wars I and II.

Garden Parade

Garden Parade

Rhodes Scholar Memorial

Rhodes Scholar Memorial

Shadow

Shadow

After that, we went to the natural history and anthropology museums. To me the most interesting part was the model boats they had from different cultures. In order to canoe across the ocean, people would have to attach a large floating device by two booms off one side of the canoe. It provided stability and more storage space (if they laid planks across the booms). Sometimes they would put up a sail in order to travel faster. If the sail was over the side of the boat with the float, however, it would destabilize their craft and they would capsize. In order to be able to tack, both ends of the boat would be shaped like the front and the rigging was interchangable so that they could sail the canoe both forwards and backwards! Oh, and they also had the shrunken head used on the Knight Bus in Harry Potter 4, which apparently was real, but not as cool as the canoes.

We were about to order tea down the street when some people from the BBC approached us. They needed people to look like a tourist group in the background for a special they were filming about Oxford. So we walked down the street four times listening to Professor Armitage point to the same buildings and make jokes about how we'd already heard what he was about to tell us. Armitage then treated us to tea for an acting job well done. So apparently, we're going to be on the BBC in Oxford, but not London. They said they would send us a DVD, so we'll probably spend part of our Shakespeare class one day watching ourselves walk down the streets of Oxford.

Tea for Two

Tea for Two

Tea Time

Tea Time

Our last stop of the day was Saint Edmund Hall, the college of Oxford which Armitage attended for his undergraduate degree. Since he is an alumnus, he got the key to pretty much every room in the college and gave us an inside look. It was a very pretty campus. Their library had once been a church, so it had stained glass windows, a graveyard outside, and a crypt down below. We ended our tour in the college pub.

St. Edmund Hall

St. Edmund Hall

Armitage Lectures

Armitage Lectures

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Avenue Q


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Last night Rob, Emily, and I went to see Avenue Q. It is like a vulgar, musical version of Sesame Street. With songs like "The Internet is for Porn" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist", how could it not be hilarious? I would go see it again if I wasn't so poor.

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

The Globe

rain
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We went to the Globe Theater on Wednesday night to see Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. The Globe is an open air theater, which has seats around the edges, but lots of people stand in front of the stage, which is what we did. Not only did we have to stand for two hours, but about 20 minutes into the play it began to rain. It wasn't raining extremely hard, but it was constant. I, of course, had no raincoat and got soaked. The play was worth my wet shirt and tired feet, though. It was extremely funny, not neccessarily because the script is spectacular, but because the performance was great. At one point during the play, two of the actors on stage stopped reciting their lines and started to point and laugh at all of the people in the audience who were keeping their heads dry with newspapers. It finally stopped raining about ten minutes before the play ended, which was unlucky for us because that meant that it got cold. We made the fourty-five minute walk home soaking wet and calling the people who rode the tube wusses.

The Globe

The Globe

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Getting Settled


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So, our flat is pretty nice. Cramped, but nice. There are six of us in two bedrooms. And our kitchen floor is slanted.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our Flat

Our Flat

We got oriented on Sunday and Monday. The bus tour of the city was neat, but most everything else was boring. Classes started yesterday. So far I've been to Shakespeare, History of Science, and Classical Music, all of which sound interesting, except for the fact that our class periods are two and a half hours long!

Last night some alumni from the area threw a party for us. It was real fancy, with champagne and crab and the like. It was fascinating listening to people who recieved their master's degree the year I was born reminisce about Chapel Hill (which is probably why quite a few of us had a little too much champagne). We went back to the flats to change before going out, and sandwiches had appeared in our lobby. FREE SANDWICHES. And quiches too. It was the most amazing thing ever. We went to a sports bar for one pound pint night, but most of us left early. Adam was leading the way around Soho and when I expressed concern that he didn't know his way around, he assured me that he was "like Magellan!" He ended up taking me with him to a gay bar, which was a trip cause the guy he started flirting with was hilarious. When we got back to the flat, they had moved the sandwiches, but I tracked them down. Yum!

Dressed for Notting Hill

Dressed for Notting Hill

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in England Comments (0)

Amsterdam


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Abridged Version: Sex, Drugs, and Bicycles

Bikes

Bikes

Unabridged Version: We only had one full day in Amsterdam, but that was typical of our trip. We stayed right near the edge of the red light district, so we'd get an eyeful walking down the street at night. This is also a very touristy part of town, apparently, because the streets around us were lined with souvenir stores and coffeeshops.

Mostly we just roamed the streets (it was beautiful with all of the canals), but we did go to one tourist attraction: The Heineken Experience. It was basically a smaller, cheaper version of the Guinness place. Where Guinness has a gigantic indoor waterfall to represent the quality of water used in their beer, Heineken has dripping pipes. The Heineken Experience had rides (experience what it's like to deliver beer by horse and carriage through Amsterdam AND what it's like to be a bottle on the assembly line). Not to mention the fact that they had more free beer and a better free gift (bottle opener versus paperweight) than Guinness. So Heineken wins my vote.

Heineken Camouflage

Heineken Camouflage

Bridge

Bridge

Now I am finally moved into my flat in London, but that is a story for another day. Traveling was a blast, but I am glad to be staying put for a little while, especially since I get motion sick on trains, buses, etc. If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it's that dipping french fries in mayonnaise is yummy!

Posted by flame1985 16:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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