Europe 2010: Day 5 – Oxford July 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Day 5: Oxford

We figured it’d be cool to visit one of the oldest universities in the western world. Oxford is in Whileshire which is conveniently an hour of train ride from Bath. So we started the day with a train ride from Bath to Didcot Parkway and then the connecting train to Oxford.

First destination was Oxford Castle. The castle was part of a few battles but it became a prison for last few centuries. The coolest part was climbing the spiraling stone steps up to the tower.

After stopping by a Spanish restaurant for some paella, we headed toward Oxford. As I mentioned to Suzanne how unusually quiet the place was, we made a turn and boom! People everywhere… Oxford wasn’t a sleepy college town I had imagined. We walked toward Christ Church College which probably is the best known part of Oxford. The place was used to film some Harry Potter scenes. I can see why. The place was medieval and just reeked with old traditions everywhere you look. There main court was huge, surrounded four sides with high walks and old buildings. The center was a little lilly pond with a statue in the center. I imagined that the court yard can appropriately used to film scene where Harry Potter learns to fly the broom. Another highlight was this long dining hall. The walls where adorned with old paintings of famous Oxford people. The only one I recognize was William Penn– founder of the state of Pennsylvania.

Next, we visited St. Mary’s and climbed these narrow stairs to the top of the tower. It was interesting negotiating the space with other visitors in cramped spaces. The top had nice views of the town.

There were a few other places I wanted to visit, but we decided to head back. We walked through a few very busy blocks of town on our way back to the train station. That area of town was extremely commercialized and modern, a bustling contrast to the old and traditional Oxford that I had imagined. Too bad, because it kinda shattered the images I had in my head of Oxford. You know, like scenes from the old movie “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

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