Today was my first full day in Oxford. After getting a good night’s rest, I was energized for a full day of exploring and reveling in Oxford’s treasures. The morning began with breakfast in the Harry Potter-esque dining hall, a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, croissants, yogurt, beans (an interesting British tradition! I had never seen beans as a staple breakfast food before), and, of course, tea. A group of friends and I then set off on an adventure to find an outlet adapter and some British currency and to explore the city. We wandered around the winding streets of Oxford, peeping our heads in at any shops that seemed interesting and taking copious amounts of photos. After collecting the adapter and the money, we explored a local bookstore, the official University of Oxford souvenir store, and wandered down toward the Oxford Botanical Gardens to the River Cherwell. Throughout our wanderings, we were surrounded by majestic, towering architecture, bustling tourists and locals alike, and charming English landscape. The central streets of Oxford were crowded with pedestrians, cars, buses, and cyclists. Amusingly, the pedestrians on sidewalks of Oxford seems to be confused about which side to walk on: some walk on the left, like good Brits, while others walk on the right, like we foreign tourists. The result is that people are constantly walking straight at each other and swerving to whichever direction possible to avoid others. We explored a combination of both bustling streets, where we tried the best we could to remember to walk on the left, and secluded paths near the gardens. Below are some photos from our exploration:
After finishing our exploring and returning for lunch at Brasenose, we set out on the first day Scavenger Hunt organized by our professors. We were divided into teams and given a certain number of sites in Oxford to visit and to take a photo with. The hunt took us first to All Soul’s College (pictured below):
We then headed to the Bear Inn, a renowned, low-ceilinged inn with a vast collection of patrons’ neckties:
Next up was the Eagle and Child, a pub that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien visited regularly. As a lover of both Lewis and Tolkien, I was thrilled to visit one of their old stomping grounds.
Our hunt then took us to Port Meadow, a lovely green meadow just to the west of town. We walked along a grassy trail on the bank of the River Thames all the way to our final destination, The Trout Inn. The peaceful beauty of this path, only a short walk from the bustling downtown streets, was charming.
This walk gave us a taste of many of the fascinating places to visit in Oxford. Round trip, we walked around six or seven miles, so we were hungry for the good dinner that waited for us when we returned to Brasenose.
The students in my class had the opportunity this evening to meet with our tutor, Robert Douglas Fairhurst, before the first tutorials meet tomorrow. He explained the logistics of submitting our essays, finding his office in Magdalen College, and preparing for our first tutorial sessions. He also gave us several recommendations of restaurants, pubs, and places to visit in Oxford. My tutorial is tomorrow afternoon – the first one. I’m looking forward to it but am also intimidated by the idea of discussing my essay with an actual Oxford professor. Tomorrow I will be able to write about my experience of a real Oxford tutorial.