London – Day 99

Oxford!

Today, Kate and I went to Oxford. We bought same day return train tickets for any train. We caught the 9:30 train and were in Oxford in less than an hour. We started out at the Ashmolean Museum. It was actually a great study aid for my test next week! They have a ton of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Impressionists paintings. From there we walked through town and saw all the different colleges and the King Arms Tavern, which boasts the highest IQ per square foot of any pub in the world. We picked up sandwiches at Olives and took them to the Christ Church Meadow. We sat on the slope of the canal and watched the punters go by. Across the water there was a cricket match. A British man and his two adorable daughters came by to feed the ducks. He was teaching them about punting and about cricket. Two things I didn’t learn about until I was much older than them. After that we went into the Alice shop! Alice Liddell’s father was the Dean of Christ College where Lewis Carroll went, and his inspiration for Alice is all around. Especially walking through the meadows and seeing the daffodils…it was pretty cool. Then we went into Christ Church College. We went into the cathedral, walked all around the school and also went into the Great Hall. The Great Hall was the inspiration for the dining hall in Harry Potter and the grounds of the school were used in HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or as they call it here the Philosopher’s Stone. The Great Hall also has a stained glass window dedicated to Alice in Wonderland…which I loved. Then we went into the Bodeleian Library and saw the Divinity Room which is the oldest surviving section of the university. And, another Harry Potter reference, the Infirmary in the Harry Potter movies…. I know, a heavy HP week. From there we went to see the Bridge of Sighs, and then noticed a lot of people walking out of a narrow alley. We walked up to it and saw a sign that lead to the Turf’s Tavern. Kate’s friend did a semester at Oxford and gave us a great list of thing to do, and it included this tavern! We followed the path down and ended up at a great pub with tons of outdoor seating. We got our first Pimm’s Cup of the season! The guy explained that two glasses would cost 9 pounds total, and a jug would cost 10. So obviously, we got the jug…which ended up being a pitcher, and enjoyed the afternoon sun! From Turf’s, we wandered some more down the different side streets to see the various schools and amazing buildings. We ended our day with high tea at the Grand Cafe. Which, is the first coffee house in England! It was wonderful, as high tea always is. We walked back down High Street through town and caught the 7:30 train back to London. The last leg of the trip a guy sat down next to us and after a pause in my and Kate’s conversation says, I just love your accents. Which! Is crazy because the British accents are pretty cool. After a bit we find out that he is a magician and going to London for a gig. Kate asked if he had any cards and could show us a trick. He asked her to take his imaginary card deck, take the cards out of the deck, shuffle them, spread them out on the table, turn the right side up, pick a card, push it back in face down, and give him back the cards. He told her to think of the number she chose. He then reached into his pocket, pulled out a real deck of cards and said it was his imaginary card. He asked her what her number was and she said the 10 of diamonds. He pulled out the back, showed them to us, shifted them in his hands, and a card was upside down. When he pulled it out, turned it around….sure enough there was the 10 of diamonds. Mind. Blown. Between Harry Potter, Alice, Pimm’s Cup and the train ride trick, it was a magical day in Oxford.

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