Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Week of Tourism

This week I did not go exploring quite as much.  I've seen a lot already and I guess I was getting a little tired of being a tourist and have been feeling a little homesick.  Our living situation was a little difficult with nine people in a one-bathroom, one-kitchen flat.  Everybody was easy enough to get along with it's just that when you were desperate to go somebody was inevitably in the loo.  When you needed to get ready somebody else was taking their jolly time primping before the mirror.  Ahhhh....the joys of dorm life.  I'm getting a bit old for that.  Anyway, the family of four left (it must have been difficult for them living all four in a small room) so we are back down to five to the bathroom.  That seems like nothing now!

Anyway, the highlight of the week was getting to see more of our "old" friends.  So, here's what I did....

Monday was grey and dreary and after having walked about eight miles on Sunday I didn't feel like doing much of anything.  I did watch some Inspector Morse on YouTube. 
Inspector Morse is a British detective series that takes place in Oxford.  On the episode I watched, I actually saw things I recognized!  

Tuesday our friend, Vee, who used to work in Niger, came down for a visit.  We went to Christ Church and saw around there.  I believe Christ Church is the largest college in Oxford University and one of the most famous.  Of course, some of its "fame" is that parts of Harry Potter were filmed at Christ Church (personally, I'm not impressed, but I know some of you are fans).  We got to visit the Hall, which I believe is a scene in the HP movies. 
It was quite impressive and all the more so as the tables were set for a banquet coming up that evening.  Famous graduates from Christ Church include William Penn, John Wesley, and Lewis Carroll.  We also visited the church itself.  At first I thought this stained glass window must depict one of the Bible stories of Jesus and the Sea of Galilee.  But it is actually an enormous window telling in pictures the story of St. Frideswide.
I won't recount the entire story here, but she had established a convent in the 600's which remained a religious establishment and eventually Christ Church was built on the site.  Remember the little country church I visited last week?  She had also established a religious community there and people went to the well there for healing. 
Christ Church is an Anglican church, but it had at one time been Catholic, and the Catholic influence is still very strong inside.  After our self-guided tour of Christ Church, we went out and strolled through Christ Church meadow, a park that is open to the public. 
It was a perfect day to stroll along the river and watch the
amateur punters try their hands at poling a boat.  After enjoying the sunshine of the park, Vee and I headed over to Blackwells Bookstore,
which is amazing.  It makes Borders look very small indeed!  This is not my photo....got it off the internet.  Then we met John at the Bodleian Library.  We got to go in the courtyard but that's all the farther us peons can go! 
John, however, is a privileged soul and can go in the hallowed grounds of the Bodleian!  From there we went to the Eagle and Child,
which is where the Inklings met to discuss their books (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, etc.).  Again, this is not a picture I took.

So, then there was Wednesday.  I went down to the open-air market which is open two days a week.  I didn't get any pictures of that.  Then I wandered over to Oxford Castle, which used to be a prison. 
It cost 7.50 pounds to tour, which is almost $12.00, so I decided I didn't want to see it that badly.  I walked home along the canal. 
Notice the name of this boat.

Thursday I again didn't do much.  I did go back to the Ashmolean Museum and got some pictures of Egyptian artifacts for a friend whose kids are studying Egypt in their home school. 


Friday I went to the Museum of Oxford at which I wasn't allowed to take any pictures.  I hadn't allowed myself much time, but I didn't really need that much time!  It was a good museum for getting an overall view of the history of Oxford.  By the time I was done there, it was time to meet John and our friend, John F., who had done a GAP year in Niger and whom we hadn't seen for seven years!  We walked through Christ Church meadow again.  John had not been there yet.  Then we went out for dinner together and had an absolutely delicious meal (go where the locals take you! :) ). 
John F. is working here in Oxford with an organization that helps organize studies for foreign students who want to do a semester abroad.


Saturday more friends from Niger came to visit.  Graham, Pauline, Hannah, and Joshua came down to spend the afternoon with us.  They took us out for lunch to our favorite Thai restaurant and then we did some more exploring.  It was a beautiful day and they wanted to be outside, so back to Christ Church meadow we went! :)  On our wandering around we ran into groups of Morris dancers.
Morris dancing is traditional folk dancing and usually involves bells and sticks.  I tried to put up a short video here, but can't figure out how to do it!

Yesterday was church....a mile there, a mile back.....a mile there in the evening and a mile back again.  Four miles!  I spent most of the afternoon sitting outside in the sunshine.

So, that was my week.  I guess I did more than I thought I did!




2 comments:

podso said...

It seems like you did do a lot! It all looks wonderful.

Katie Barker said...

Love all the tourism! And I have to agree - it looks like you did a ton! Lots of good pictures and adventures.