Monday, May 31, 2004

Oxford - Thumbs Up

Oxford was really charming. All of the colleges are beautiful old buildings, and there is a botanical garden that Magdalen College uses for research, which also very lovely and peaceful. I found it strange, though, that one of the most popular attractions in town seemed to be the shopping district. One of the streets was all blocked off from traffic and was lined with "The Gap"-equivalent type stores. Why anyone would travel to a quaint medieval town, an ancient seat of learning and culture, to buy strappy sandals and brand name T-shirts I will never know.

One quirky thing I saw was the Norrington room of Blackwell's book store. There are more books for sale in one room here than there are anywhere else is the world. I think there are 3 miles of bookshelves. Also, I got to see Queen's College where Rowan Atkinson studied engineering before going on to Mr. Bean/Black Adder fame.

My favorite thing, however, was my daytrip to Blenheim Palace. The Duke of Marlborough actually lives there, so you can't wander through much of the palace itself, but the gardens and parks are spectacular. You can look at pictures at [http://www.blenheimpalace.com]. (I'm not going to go into too much detail about anything because internet access is bloody expensive. 30 minutes here costs £2.50, and the exchange rate is $1.75 per pound, so you do the math.)

I came to Salisbury today with plans of seeing Stonehenge and Avesbury tomorrow. Avesbury is Stonehenge's older, larger, yet for some reason less visited cousin. The hostel is pretty nice, but the location is particularly pleasant. It's on the edge of town, off the road, in a grove of trees. I almost feel like I'm camping. It's a nice change from the traffic of London and the lovely right-next-to-the-train-station locale of the one in Oxford.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigs? I'm buying all my cigarettes over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.