Posted by: jodester87 | April 3, 2009

Smarty Oxford and Beautiful Blenheim

Saturday March 27, 2009

The abroad program is taking our overnight in UK visit and we have gone to Oxford. We left from Paddington station, yes like the bear. About an hour later we arrived at Oxford. We then took two taxis to get us to Keble College where we were staying. Granted check in was a bit of a mess, those of us who were suppose to have single rooms ended up in double room, which irritated the head of the program a tad. Walking into the courtyard of Keble College is rather amazing because it’s just so beautiful with green grass, pale tan pathways, and streaky bacon style brick on the buildings.

Courtyard of Keble College

Courtyard of Keble College

We had just just enough time to drop off our bags in the room and report back to the check-in point. Together we made the short walk, in the cold weather (England had a cold spell that weekend), to the Oxford Natural History Museum. It’s a free museum and they do allow children to touch some things there, such as a stuffed miniature pony. I think of the stuffed horse at VMI personally. We had a short time to view the building before moving onwards.

Our next stop was at New College. There we quickly saw the hall because it was going to close soon for the public. But we had to walk underneath this tree in full bloom, it was so beautiful, almost as if you were in Victorian England. We then saw the gardens there where you can see the old Oxford city wall. In the middle of the gardens in this hill that has these steps leading up to it, almost like the trees are covering some lover’s meeting point, but could we go up to see it. NOOOOOO because you’re not allowed to walk on the grass to get to it. Anyway we saw the cloister briefly before moving onwards.

The next stop was the Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren. The building is shaped almost like a D to give you an idea. We then saw the Radcliffe Camera. Then took a long way around to this one street where we all broke off for lunch.

After lunch we went to Christ Church, which was originally built by Cardinal Wolsey. Well, lucky me and a few other we got to cross Tom’s Quadrangle when no one else could. So I got to take this photo.

Tom's Quandrangle

Tom's QuandrangleAfter viewing Christ Church the group broke away to explore the city on our own. Four of us, including myself, went to Blackstone bookstore, which apparently is this famous bookstore. But by this time the weather was turning very sour, meaning cold and very wet. I would have loved to explore the city more but it was too cold for my blood. Anyway at 9pm that night us girls decided that it was time to get dinner. Joyce and Susanne knew of a pub, the Eagle and Child, which we all ended up going to. This pub apparently is where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis use to hang out as they were writing their novels. We got there just in the nick of time in order to order food. I decided to go with fish and chips and I scarfed that thing down because I was starving. Then Tallula discovered Strawberry cider, and it was good (she couldn't finish it off so I did, it wasn't even half a bottle left). But Taylor Swift's Love Song started playing and we tacky Americans started singing along to it outloud. I'm sure there were people in there going how many drinks have those girls have? Truth be told at that point not many. Anyway the night ended late for us and we did lose an hour of sleep due to the time change.Sunday 28 March 2009I woke up early so I could take a shower before heading over to the hall where we could get breakfast. But at 9:15 everyone started getting calls from the program head saying that we needed to get to the hall before 9:25 in order to get a breakfast and that we needed to take our stuff there. Well Joyce and I were kind of ready and we made our way over there. I was so happy to be getting a breakfast. Slowly the other girls made their way to the hall.At a little past 10 we got on our minibus and made our way to Blenheim Palace.Blenheim Palace is one of the largest homes in England (if not the world). This is where Sir Winston Churchill was born. And where parts of the movie The Young Victoria were filmed.This place is so big I could have spent the entire day exploring the gardens and not have seen it all. There's this big open lawn that would be perfect for a town to go to for a picnic. Then there's the Italian Garden with these bird shaped bushes, the Secret Garden with it's hidden ponds and streams, Rose Garden, Arboretum, Temple of Diana, Lakeside Walk, Temple of Health, Butterfly House, Marlborough Maze and play area, Vanbrugh's Bridge, Rosamund's Well, and Site of Royal Woodstock Manor, all on these grounds. Not to mention a lake.Blenheim Palace

When we went the palace had two main exhibitions going on, Blenhiem’s Untold Past, which was this animatronic tour of some of the events in its history. It also had one on Winston Churchill’s life and times which led into the State rooms and a small exhibition on the Young Victoria.
After lunch in the building’s cafeteria, Joyce and I made our way towards the Secret Garden. One of the ponds there has koi in it, but for those of you who are all excited, they were ugly koi. I would put money down that they were also unhealthy as well. Afterward we then tried to catch this train that would take us to the maze but we had just missed it. So, we walked there.
The Marlborough Maze is the second largest hedge maze in the world. There’s also this putting green, jungle gym, and large chess sets outside the maze. Well, inside I decided to have some fun and pose in the pictures as if I were scared and irritated with trying to solve this thing. But in the middle of the maze is a statue of Hermes and the shrubs spell out Blenheim. It was actually rather fun.
We then made our way out of the adventure area, missing the train yet again. But on the way back we saw these trees that had these huge gaps in them. Perfect for taking photographs.
We then had enough time to do a quick exploration of the town of Woodstock. It was cute and had numerous inns for people to stay in. But alas I could not spend all day at the palace or the gardens (I could write in them all day with the weather as nice as it was this day). We all got back on our minibus, which took us back to the train station which took us back to London.
So that was the overnight trip to Oxford, with some abridging. Sorry I didn’t think my readers would want to read every single detail.

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