Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oxford and more

A couple weekends ago I took a train out to the very cool town of Oxford. If given the opportunity during college, I would like to have spent a semester studying there. There are a variety of colleges in Oxford which comprise the University. The oldest being around 500 years old. I took a tour of the city by bus and then went throughout on foot to places of interest.

Christ Church College was pretty cool. The architecture was magnificent including the hall which the dining hall scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. Christ Church is unique in that it serves as both a church and a college. Within the cathedral, there are some beautiful stainglass windows. The Harry Potter hall also contains a window which memoralizes Alice in Wonderland. There is also a fire place with statues which inspired the long neck portions of Alice's adventures. The reverend and mathematician Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Caroll studied, taught and wrote the Alice in Wonderland stories here. Just down the road is a shop commemorating where the real life Alice went to a candy store.

Another major stop during this journey was Magdalen College where C.S. Lewis studied and taught for 29 years. It was not architecturally as impressive as some of the colleges but is one of the oldest of the colleges in Oxford. There was a very nice walking trail which went about a half mile circuit under trees and around a medow. In the medow, the college has its own herd of deer. The occasional duck swims by in the adjacent creek.

Continuing in the literary line of thought, I also saw The Eagle and Child which was the favorite pub of The Inklings a group which included the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Being of the running mindset, I had to check out the famous Iffley Track while there and see where Roger Bannister ran the first sub 4 minute mile. Incidentally, I work 3 minutes from St. Mary's where Bannister studied to become a doctor. I engaged in my own session of running as I made haste back to the train station while running in the rain. This left me quite wet but on time for the hour train ride back to London.

On a more recent weekend, I went running in Regents Park. This in my opinion is one of the most beautiful parks anywhere. There are trees, green grass, ponds/streams, flower gardens, and paths that go on and on. The London Zoo and an outdoor theatre are also located within the park. Another venture that weekend included playing guitar in the evening service at my church.

Please see the following link for pictures of the aforementioned adventures. There are some really nice shots included.

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