Day in OxfordWell dad and I just arrived back after a quick but informative visit to see a family friend in Oxford. One of my dad's friend's growing up has a sister, Beth who lives in Oxford with her husband, Terry.
Day started out a little iffy when we arrived at Kings Cross to switch lines in order to get to Paddington Station and the 3 lines we could have taken were all closed down for the day. After referring to the tube map we were able to reconfigure our trip by getting on the Piccadilly line. We had left extra travel time, luckily, so after getting our tickets we went for some coffee and croissant. While sitting waiting to see which track our train was departing from a little notice popped up, "delayed". Apparently this wasn't our best travel day. There were 2 trains going to Oxford so we got on the one that wasn't delayed, turned out to be the local train - took us about 45 minutes longer than normal.
We arrived safely in Oxford around 12.30pm. Beth & Terry were waiting for us, so after a quick introduction (I haven't seen Beth in about 10 years) we went to the car. From their they drove us over to Pembroke St. Terry dropped us off and went to park the car. Beth took us on a walking tour. We went out to St Aldates to see Christ Church. This is the view from the road.
Christ Church is one of the many colleges of Oxford University. It is beautiful! Inside of the "Christ Church Hall" was the dining-hall at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films - since school is now in session visitors are not allowed into the hall, but I did walk up the staircase and sort of got a glance inside, before the security guard asked us for ID. This dining hall is also famous for it's connections with Lewis Carroll's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll was an undergrad at Christ Church and apparently befriended Alice Liddell the dean's daughter. It was with his vivid imagination that he wrote the stories around her real life. Another example was the White Rabbit being based on Alice's father (the dean). He left dinner every night down a narrow spiral staircase behind the raised "high table" (hence the rabbit hole in the book). Yet another incident is a picture of the founder, King Henry VIII, who executed 2 of his wives - in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Red Queen is always shouting, "off with her head".
From there we walked through the quad and into the cathedral.
View from the back of the room and a zoomed in image of the stainglass window above the alter.
This stain glass window has a story behind it. It is known as the St. Frideswide Window (1858). The lower half of the window tells the legend of St. Frideswide in 16 panels. The top round section shows a ship of souls transporting Frideswide to heaven and the middle flowerish looking window on the left is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Book of Genesis. To the right is the Tree of Life from the Book of Revelation. The ledge behind St. Frideswide is that she fled into the woods in Oxford to escape a Prince who wanted to marry her. The Prince was blind and she saved his sight in return for her freedom and founded a religious house. In the 11th century her remains were placed in a shrine in the church at this site.
This is a view of Tom's Tower (the first pic was from the other side). This tower is famous b/c it has a tradition of tolling the hell 101 times (once for each scholar) at the curfew time of 21.05. This apparently still goes on today.
From here we walked to the High Street and then onto Catte Street to see Radcliffe Camera, I cut off the bottom part of this building b/c they are doing construction and it was covered in yellow caution tape (looked ugly to me). Radcliffe Camera was built to house a library devoted to sciences but is now a private reading room for the Bodleian. (Bodleian is a library)
Our walking tour ended a few feet away from Radcliffe Square at Hertford College's "Bridge of Sighs" - it spans across New College Lane - can you tell I was getting hungry and ready to stop sightseeing at this point??? It was about 13.45 and we had reservations at The Swan for 14.00, so we all piled into the car and drove to the restaurant/antique store.
At the Swan we had a delicious meal! Dad and I had traditional Sunday meal - roast beef, roasted potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. Dad has sticky pudding for dessert, I had creme brulee. After eating we toured around the antique section - wonderful stuff but outrageous prices, if you ask me, even for someone not on a college budget ;)
Dad and I caught the 17.32 train back to Paddington, this time we got on the express train - BIG difference! From Paddington we took the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus, walked through Leicester Sqaure - found out there was a premiere of some movie I've never heard of but Colin Firth was there (didn't see him, too huge of a crowd!)