Thursday, May 19, 2016

Walking Around Oxford and the Cotswolds

May 13:  
Today we started the day with a walking tour of Oxford University.  
Oxford was in Glen's mission and although he never served there, It's something that he was really excited to show us!  At first I didn't really get why a university could be so exciting, but once the tour started it was very clear that Oxford University is a unique and historic place.  Founded nearly  1000 years ago, it's the oldest university in the English speaking world!  One of the interesting aspects about it is its college system.  There are 38 colleges within Oxford, and if I understood the guide correctly, each college has its own section of campus--including its own cathedral!!   The way they were described to us, they seemed like a cross between a college of business (or other some subject) at a regular university and being divided into houses (like in Harry Potter).  We could be totally off in our interpretation of how it works, but suffice it to say, it is a unique place. 
The buildings are old, architecturally interesting, and beautiful!  I was also fascinated to learn that most of the teaching at Oxford is not done by lecture, but by one on one mentoring.  
And speaking of Harry Potter, Ellie was also pleased to learn that this tree and courtyard were both used for a scene in the Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire movie.

After our tour, we ate a late lunch at Oxford and then headed to the Cotswolds.   We picked Bourton on the Water for our destination, but had to fight horrible traffic to get there.  By the time we got there we were a little frazzled and totally not prepared for what an unhappy place to visit it was.  It was odd how grumpy and unfriendly everyone was--the visitors and the residents.  It was mostly older people there and it seemed like kids were not a welcome sight, especially in the stores.  One shopkeeper literally yelled at Ellie.   When I heard him scream, "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" I expected to see her picking up a porcelain doll or other fragile item, not a floral print backpack. We left that store quickly, but found a similar  reception in most of the other stores.  It was a charming looking town at least; sadly though it was only a skin deep charm.  


Our GPS took us the long way home to avoid traffic and we soothed our nerves by eating up this view on the way back to Matt and Karey's house!  
Afterward we let Cami and Emma babysit all the littles, and we went on a grown-up only double date (a rare thing on vacation) with Matt and Karey.  We ate at an Indian place--Shezan-- in Cheltenham (delicious), then walked around town for a bit! 

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PS I'm still blogging from my iPhone, so please forgive typing errors, disconnected thoughts, weird formatting, etc.  I know I will probably be horrified when I finally see it on a computer screen! 







1 comment:

Jennifer McArthur said...

I don't know why, but I just assumed you wouldn't be blogging while on your big trip, so I haven't been checking in. Delighted to visit the blog today and discover the chronicles of your grand adventure. Loving it!

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