Sunday, July 19, 2009

Out to Oxford

Our sons and their wives left today to return to Houston. We've experienced a wonderful week together and made many new memories. While they were here, we took an excursion by train to the city of Oxford.

Oxford University is the oldest university in the English speaking world, and one of the highest ranked academic institutions of the world.

Its story begins in 1157, when foreigners were ousted from the University of Paris and settled in Oxford.

Today, the architecture dating from the medieval period is one of the reasons that so many visitors make a trip to the area. Above is the Radcliffe Camera built in the mid 1700's, which holds books from the Bodleian Library, the second largest library in the UK.

Like Cambridge, the University is divided into 38 different colleges, each with its own chapel, dining room, lodging, lawns and classrooms. We first visited the largest college--Christ Church.

There we toured the Dining Hall which now has the claim to fame as being used in the filming of the first two Harry Potter movies. The girls were excited about that, as well as the many allusions to Alice in Wonderland in the stained glass, since Lewis Carroll was a student there.

We moved from there to the quadrangle

which is the largest of all the colleges there. This college was founded by Henry VIII himself.

The Christ Church chapel is also the the cathedral of the diocese of Oxford.

Part of the chapel, including the great vaulted ceiling, dates from the 12th century.

We headed off to visit a couple more colleges. The first one was Merton College, founded in 1264.
The medieval cobbled streets leading to the college still remain.

From there, we went to Jesus College,

and took a peek at its more intimate dining hall.

As we headed out towards the train station, we took one last glance at the Bridge of Sighs, which mimics the original bridge found in Venice.

Dinnertime found us back in Chelsea, at the Made in Italy restaurant which I read recently was one of Gwyneth Paltrow's favorite places for pizza.

What started out as a lovely summer night on the terrace under huge umbrellas, ended up in a thunderstorm with the girls having to resort to putting up their own umbrellas to keep their backsides dry.

Our day finished with a video call from Jordan's mommy and daddy to their sweet one back in Houston. Amazing technology that connects us all!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful pictures. Sounds like it was a great trip!