… And on the 11th day of England, I fell in love with Oxford.
Special thanks to Ben, who has been the SOLE helper and planner of my horrendously disorganised trip (I’m never winging it again) – I probably wouldn’t have worked in a 2-night visit to Oxford if he hadn’t suggested it. Sure, I dreamed of studying abroad at Oxford University for ages, but I didn’t realise the city was so stunning.
Nor did I realise that a huge chunk of the Harry Potter films were shot here. What a tremendous surprise to show up and realise that everything looked eerily familiar to Hogwarts – and then Googling and having a “Holy cricket” moment when I saw that 50% of the city was used in the films.
I love Oxford. It’s exactly how I imagined England – but without the hustle and bustle of London and it’s not too modernised. I thought I liked Brighton, but I think I’m truly in love with Oxford – this is totally my vibe. I love how posh and clean everything is here – it reminds me of Irvine in a lot of ways, especially the Thames Path that stretches along the Thames River.
In addition to all the gorgeous architecture, I checked off a few more things from my English foods checklist – a Cornish pastie and a proper cake (lemon drizzle, mmmm). I missed out on Sunday roast (I’ll get to it eventually), but I’m still drooling over good the food is here. English Breakfast tea is about 1,000 times better here than when I initially tried it on the ship (anything on the ship should not be the main taste evaluator, however). I have to restrain myself from all the cafés, because if I had it my way, I’d blow all my money on food and tea – and I sadly have to budget wisely in order to last until late Feb.
I was a bit bummed that I only had half the day to explore (the first half was dealing with the 3+ hr trains and bus connections from Brighton), but I have another full day in Oxford tomorrow. Huzzah!
Sidenote: I’m probably going to collapse at some point in the next few weeks, since I’m averaging 30,000 steps a day and going from 6:30-7am until way past midnight without hardly ever sitting down. Go hard or go home? 😉 But the sunrise today in Brighton was so worth getting up for. Gotta love beaches.
I accomplished quite a lot in a few hours – got to FaceTime Matt (aiyeee happiness! And like a natural bimbo, I realised too late that I was being all loud in the quiet courtyard area of the Bodleian Library), whizzed through Oxford Castle, explored High St., found Greg’s old “Stanford House” living quarters (so pretty!), toured Bodleian Library, geeked it up in Christ Church (where the Great Hall and the steps were used as filming locations), enjoyed the Turf Tavern (where a ton of celebrities go and where the butterbeer scenes were shot), and explored the Thames Path at night (which was simply beautiful).
I’m pretty sure I took at least 2,000 photos just today alone (except that we weren’t allowed to take photos in the Bodleian Library, so that was one stupid tour. Stunning library, but not worth it when our guide was incredibly hard to understand and didn’t even have a British accent anyway). I even took photos of random homes and alleyways because all the designs of buildings are just so historic and beautiful. I can’t stop staring in awe at everything.
And man, the Great Hall in Christ Church – I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen something so exquisite in my life. It was amazing.
Christ Church Meadow and the Thames Path are my favourite parts of Oxford so far, though – I’m such an outdoorsy nature girl. I would have loved going to uni out here because there are so many beautiful outdoor spots to study (or “study”). The path along the Thames River made me so happy – even though I should stop exploring dimly-lit areas late at night by myself, I figure that it’s pretty safe anyhow. Definitely revisiting again tomorrow during the day.