On 23 December, we took a walking tour around Oxford with a very knowledgeable guide called Maureen. The tours start at the Oxford Tourist Information Centre in Broad Street and take you around a couple of the colleges (depending which are open) and take about 90 minutes.
Oxford is home to Oxford University which is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The university itself is made up of 38 independent colleges and can trace its roots back to the 12th century.
This was my second visit to Oxford (the first visit was in 2005 to visit the lovely Tender Hooligan). I have to say though, it most definitely won't be my last visit. There is just so much history there that my poor, flu-addled brain could not absorb during the walking tour and I also want to go back and trace my steps through Lyra's Oxford. Mostly, I just want to visit the aforementioned hooligan again!
Future visits aside, here are the highlights from this visit.
The Chapel, Jesus College, Oxford
We started off at Jesus College which was founded by Elizabeth I in 1571. The most famous Jesus alumnus was T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and perhaps the most interesting alumnus Pixley ka Isaka Seme, founder of the ANC.
Exeter College had the most beautiful gardens and from those gardens we saw the building that featured in the Harry Potter films as the divination class. Last time we came to Oxford we went to Christ Church College and saw the dining hall and stairs from Harry Potter.
Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries at about this point and for the first (and only) time on our road trip I did not have spares handy! Definitely another reason to go back to Oxford some time soon!
I loved this lovely old building! It was built between 1737 and 1749 and used to house the Radcliffe Science Library. These days it is part of the Bodleian Library and holds books from the English, history and theology collections.
After our visit I felt such a strong desire to study in a wonderful place like Oxford. The one thing that attracted me was the style of study. In South Africa, our primary mode of study was attending lectures in massive lecture halls with 400 or more other students. We were given generic reading packs to study and a choice of four or six essays to submit each term. Our guide explained to us that the teaching at Oxford is far more individual and based on a tutor / student relationship. It gives meaning to the term "reading for a degree". Could that really be? That sounds ideal to me - a far better experience than my days at Wits! *Sigh* Who am kidding? Studying makes me miserable. I am not sure I'd want to study another degree!