Oxford University--but not Cambridge (World)

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Sunday, December 11, 2005

"Educational Legends"

Well, the author lists "Oxford and Cambridge Universities" together. I haven't been to both, just Oxford. They *are*, of course, two separate entities in two totally different locations (everybody knows that). Here, again, I don't always understand the way the author does things, but I guess it's a way for her to get these two behemouth institutions into her book.

Oxford was awesome. It was also so cold I froze my ass off. We got there first on our 12-hr tour out of London. So it was still relatively early in the morning, the ancient streets were damp with a layer of mist which lent nicely to the feeling of importance and mystery.

Our guide was so knowledgeable about the history of Oxford. I really had known nothing about it except that it was a powerhouse institution. It is really made up of 36 colleges, 36 very OLD colleges, started prior to the 16th century. In fact, Oxford was known as a center of learning by 1167, and this is evident when you walk the streets. The architecture is old and beautiful, and you feel like you are walking through time.

Some tidbits we saw and learned: 1) We saw the Hertford Bridge modeled after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. It's quite beautiful; 2) We talked about the Radcliffe Camera, one of the many buildings that houses the enormous 6.5 million books in the Oxford Library; 3) We discovered that the heads surrounding the Sheldonian Theatre are not ancient like they appear, but are actually fairly new and are casts of some of the professors; 4) One of the Harry Potter movies shot a scene or two here.

As was the case with some of the other areas of our three tours that we have taken on our three trips to London, we found that this gave us a good overview of the area. We learned a lot of history, dates and facts that we would not have acquired otherwise. But we saw enough to know that we would like to go back some day. The town of Oxford is full of history, gorgeous architecture, and amazing things to see.
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