Tuesday, July 03, 2012

European Extravaganza - Part II b - Oxford

Sunday morning in Oxford we woke up early to go do something none of us had ever done before. Was I nervous?  A little bit.  Becca and Karen don't look nervous.  We jumped in a cab to the other side of town to meet up with Karen's classmates.  Then the 17 of us got in a few other cabs and headed out to the countryside.

We arrived at our destination and followed some guys out to a field.

We put on some gear.

It was POLO TIME!!!

Karen and company had booked the lesson a few months ago, and since Becca and I happened to visit that weekend, we added ourselves into the reservation.  I hadn't ridden a horse in probably 20 years, and the thought of trying to hit a ball and ride around seemed a little intimidating, but it was truly awesome.  One of the coolest things I have done.  
We split up into three groups since there weren't enough horses for all of us.  One group went to learn about the rules of the game, one group went to practice with some mallets, and my group just got on the horses and went for it!

We rotated through the different groups and at the end we played a game against each other.  It was pretty pathetic polo, but it was really fun.

I ended up with a bit of a sunburn that day.  Who knew I'd get a tan in England?

Once our lesson was complete, we walked over to another field to see some real players in a match.  Yeah....our little game didn't look like that at all.  And I definitely need to go to a match here sometime soon.  Apparently the Federation of International Polo is headquartered down the street from me in Beverly Hills.

Argentina has most of the best polo players in the world (and they're probably all good looking) so maybe I should get myself down there.

What a good morning that was.  Our cabs came to pick us up and take us back into town.  We grabbed brunch at Giraffe.

Despite my rule of never eating any Mexican food while not in a state that borders Mexico or Mexico itself, I tried the huevos rancheros.  And they weren't bad.

Karen had to get to the library for the rest of the afternoon, so Becca and I meandered home slowly to get cleaned up.

We got some ice cream on the way home.  It was more like a frozen whipped cream.

Since we missed our church in the morning, we went to an Choral Evensong service at Hertford College.  First time I've been to an Anglican service, I think.  The choir was really nice, and we stood for a lot of the service, and a priest from Syria spoke.  

It's kind of hard to get into the colleges around Oxford, unless you're a student or on a tour, or attending an event like the Evensong.  The colleges were formed as safehavens for students back in the 1200s or something, since the townspeople didn't like them and would sometimes kill the students.  Walled colleges were created for students to live, study, worship, and eat.  There are 38 colleges now in Oxford, so once you're accepted into your program of study, you also have to find a college for your home.

The courtyard of Hertford College.  

After our Sunday service, we walked to the Jericho neighborhood.

A movie theater was our destination.  Popcorn was only £1!  What a wonderful film.  And now that I think about it, I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums while in Spain.  Maybe I should see all Wes Anderson films for the first time in foreign countries.  Except seeing Tenenbaums dubbed into Spanish was really kind of trippy.

Everyone rides bikes in Oxford, even when it's constantly freezing.  If I lived there, I'd want this one.  

This is the oldest building in Oxford - the Saxon Tower.  I didn't go in it.

On the walk home we stopped at a kebab stand for some dinner.  The guy asked Becca and I if we wanted garlic sauce, and we said yes.  Then he was very concerned that we might be kissing someone later and that would be bad news.  He gave us a discount.

Monday morning we completely slept in and barely made it to the 2pm walking tour.  Is that pathetic? Karen had class all day, so Becca and I tried to make the most of our last Oxford day.

We met near the center of town and visited various colleges. These photos are kind of out of order and I don't remember all the sites, but it's pretty, so just enjoy.

There's our guide.

And there's a bust of JRR Tokien in Exeter College Chapel.

One of the stops was going to be a Harry Potter filming location.  But before we got there, we ran into these girls who were dressed like they were at Hogwarts.  You have to dress up like this to take exams.  And the day before I saw a guy who looked just like Dumbledore.  This really is Harry Potter land.

Now for the real Harry Potter.

And Twilight too!  Hello, RPatz.

Dining hall.  Kinda like Hogwarts?

You can do a grab and go dinner or you can do a formal dinner at these tables.


Lincoln College, I think.

Some kid was practicing the organ.  I need to do that soon.

Okay, there's the HP site.  From the fourth movie, I think.

Okay, walking tour complete.  Now for the Sheldonian Theater.

We started walking up to the top section to look out over Oxford, and lots of people were coming down the stairs.  We would be the only ones up there!  Except it was extremely hot, muggy, and we got outta there as fast as we could.  But not before we snapped some photos.


Next stop, a proper afternoon tea at the Bank Hotel.  There were so many little treats, I couldn't eat them all.  My fruit tea was SUPER delicious.  I really wish I could've purchased some to bring home.

I loved the napkins and contemplated stealing one or four.  And the color combo with my pants was excellent.  What a perfect shade of blue!

Some guys on the street were singing about California.

I bought some music at HMV.  I haven't purchased a CD in a long time!

We found a candy shop.

It had my favorite candy from Spain.  This stuff makes me really, really happy.

We stopped at a park for a bit.  The day was beautiful.

More window shopping.

 We met Karen for dinner at a 4500 Miles from Delhi for dinner.  England has great Indian food.  Then it was back to the books for Karen and back home for me and Becca.

That's all from Oxford.  Next up, almost missing our flight to Italy.  Thanks, UK traffic!

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