I had my first day of classes today! I am taking a class on the literature of Oxford and one on philosophy through Shakespeare. In my Shakespeare class we discussed the hidden struggle of paganism being overtaken by Christianity in Macbeth. We frequently got sidetracked into discussing the likelihood of the witches being feminists and how they reminded my professor of college in the 80s…because of they have beards for those who have not read Macbeth. I stopped by the cheap little sandwich place again. Hopefully for the last time as I am going food shopping tomorrow! For real this time. I was supposed to go today, but I my Literature of Oxford class takes trips and that ran longer than I thought it would plus I had to go to a welcome dinner this evening. Anyway, in my literature of Oxford class we discussed a sort of brief history of Oxford. How it’s model differs from the German model of education (emphasis on teaching vs. emphasis on research) and its affect on the development of man and civilization. We discussed the quadrangle placement of buildings in Oxford and how that was developed after monasteries to provide a sense of community. My class then went on a little walking tour of one of the colleges. The name is slipping my mind, but its the one that has a rivalry with Saint Johns. The one where the clubs of Saint Johns try to steal different colored bricks off the buildings there to gain acceptance and certain positions of power. Well we went there and my professor showed us the quadrangle set up of the college. With the church and the dining hall were parallel to one another with dorms taking up the remaining sides of the quadrangle. My professor jokingly called it the “pray, eat, love” set up. Then we went to the Carfax Tower. We were originally supposed to visit the Saint Mary’s tower, but it is currently under renovation, so we wouldn’t be able to see all the quadrangles from the top. Carfax tower wasn’t high enough to show this either, but it was a lovely view all the same. Afterwards I bought a bus pass and booked it back to my room to get ready for the formal welcome dinner I had to go to. I had less than thirty minutes to get ready when I got back, so that meant no shower. It has been incredibly hot it Oxford the past few days too, so these walks my professor takes us on generally end with all of us being sweaty, tired, and shower ready. Fortunately, the dinner was spectacular I had this mango mackerel salad and other things that I don’t remember the name of. We got free white and red wine too which was crazy! In total for dinner we got a spectacular salad, a relatively good entree, a decent dessert, and two bottles of wine FOR FREE. Sadly we only get one more of those free meals at the end of the trip. A bunch of my travel mates and I are making plans to go to the Eagle and Child (known for being frequented by C.S. Lewis and Tolkien!!!). I’m sooo excited for that!! Tomorrow my literature of Oxford class is going on a REALLY LONG walk to go to the place where Lewis Carroll read Alice in Wonderland to the Liddells and where the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole is. I may “accidentally” slip down the rabbit hole. Hey Literature is all about empathy right? What better way is there to put oneself into Alice’s shoes than to fall into THE rabbit hole. I should probably dress up a bit since even the bunnies wear waistcoats and watches…
I saw interesting graffiti all around Oxford, but the little orange guy is by far my favorite. He’s on Longwall (Road? Street? I forget), which is a name you can take literally. I heard that the wall along Longwall was one of the original city limits.
To anyone who isn’t afraid of heights (I actually am, although not like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo by any means), I’d really suggest paying 2.3 pounds to climb Carfax Tower. I think anything from a bird’s eye view was taken on top of Carfax.
Unfortunately, to get up there, you have to climb a small, winding staircase. I found it really unpleasant, especially going down, and it wasn’t even rainy that day (so the stairs weren’t slippery or anything). It is also somewhat humorous to look at their pricing, which is 2.3 pounds for adults, seniors, and students. They list those prices separately because they’re obviously aware that some places price differentiate, but I suppose they wanted to make it clear they don’t.
Except in the case of children, who I think get a discount. I’m not entirely sure why. Because the last thing I want while I’m going downstairs is impatient and hyper children.