28.09.2006 - 28.09.2006
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.
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.
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.
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.