Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Yesterday was our daytrip to Oxford and the University there. We woke up quite early to catch the bus and drove 2 hours in a chilly bus. Upon arriving though, we parked on Broad Street and walked around the corner to the main event: the Bodleian Library of Oxford University.
We took a group photo, scattered to grab some breakfast, and then returned for the Bodleian Heritage Tour (the only official tour, our guide mentioned). Each of the 38 colleges at Oxford University have libraries and we were visiting the main administrative library: the Bodleian. It is a reference library and books cannot be taken off the premises.
We began our tour in the Divinity School, originally designed as a lecture room for students. It took 65 years to build and completed construction in 1488 (for those of you bad with numbers as I am, that’s 527 years ago).
The next room we visited was the Convocation House. Originally it was used for meeting and decision making. The Chancellor sat on the throne-like seat where the hexagonal sounding board above his head amplified his voice. (I never realized that’s where the term came from.) It doesn’t get much use now a days.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos of my favorite part, but I’ve found photos on the Internet for you at home! It is… *drum roll* …Duke Humfrey’s Library! (Probably not a surprise for those of you that know me.)
Really. Just imagine that you can smell the books and the leather while looking at this picture.
I was pretty much weak in the knees.
The rest of the day was spent wandering the city of Oxford. A few of us librarian students stopped for lunch at a local pub and enjoyed the beautiful, sunny weather under an awning. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. After that, we came across the Oxford University Press bookshop. You just can’t take a bunch of librarian students anywhere without them finding a place filled with books.
We journeyed south to visit Alice’s gift shop. It’s the little grocery shop written into Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. The real Alice (Alice Liddell) used to visit the shop and buy sweets.
We ventured north and took a moment to see the Eagle and Child pub where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to hang out.
We spent some time at the Ashmolean Museum, just south of The Eagle & Child.
This is the portrait of Elias Ashmole whom the museum is name after…
A few of us toured the grounds of Balliol College, just to get a glimpse of Oxford University life. Let me tell you, I could get used to the grounds. They take gardening quite seriously here.
I found a link on the College’s webpage for a virtual tour. Explore and imagine you’re there…
All in all Oxford was an enjoyable experience. I had been waiting to visit since I was in high school and now I finally have!