Oxford, June 25, 2012

First day of classes and they are going to be so much fun.  But first....

English breakfast in a dining hall that reminds me of Hogwarts!!!!!!!  And dining under the watchful eyes of....

... the Queen! It is a very beautiful dining hall and these pictures are kinda crappy.  I will endeavor to do better.  Breakfast was yummy.  Had eggs sunny side up for the first time.  Was weird, but yummy.
Then went off to my first class, Shakespeare.  I now understand the beauty of iambic pentameter.  I am going to learn so much in this class.  I am giddy with excitement.  Scavenger hunt and Taming of the Shrew on Wednesday.
      After class I wandered around the city for a while, got postcards and stamps (if you want one let me know!), and found a castle...well remnants of Oxford Castle.  Will be taking a tour later in the week.  :)
      Before my second class I hung out in the "pub" that we can use as our on-campus common room, it is convenient, but kinda gross.  The floor is so sticky and it smells of stale beer AND the horrible part about it is that they removed all the alcohol from it because there is a high school group on campus the same time as us.  :(  If I have to smell stale beer I would like to at least be drinking, thank you very much.  It is a cool space though.

My second class was Medieval Literature.  Interesting but not quite as dynamic as Shakespeare.  Although, we did wander around the city and look at examples of medieval and early modern architecture.  Below (the white building) is the oldest building on Oriel's campus, built in the 16th century.  The college itself was created in the early 14th century, but all the buildings from that time have been torn down.  The Quad seen here is known as the student's quad, and you are allowed to walk on the grass or play croquet. 

Another building (early 20th century) on the same Quad. 

This is an example of how medieval houses were built: right on the street, and the street floor is the smallest footprint in order to allow carts to move by with out disturbing the shop space on the ground floor.  Yes, shop keepers lived above (or next to) their shops.  It was also very common for the upper floors to be rented out to boarders.  Also, few homes had kitchens.  It was expensive to house the wood and fireplaces for cooking and without refrigeration it was not economically sensible to cook meat for a single family.  Many simply went to the local pub to get their meals.  

St. Mary's cathedral is right across the street from Oriel and is in the High Gothic style.  I am unsure of the date it was built.  When I tour the inside, I will have that information.  :)

 The  below buildings are originally medieval and their interior room layouts and construction are medieval.  Their  street levels have obviously been refaced for modern commerce.  It is really cool to see how the old buildings are adapted to serve modern society and needs.  It is also interesting to see how many buildings are actually fairly modern buildings built to look medieval.

14th Century                                                                                            

15th Century
The Saxon tower of St. Mark's Church, over 1000 years old.  Its a bad picture and again, when I tour the church I will have better pictures and more information.  :)

I am off to bed now.  Possibly going into London tomorrow!


  1. Jennifer,
    Your daily pictures and blog are great. I found you off the Niu facebook site. My son is over there with your group--Michael Schmidt. Keep em coming--we love it!!

    Murl Schmidt

  2. Great post Jen! Gives a great feel for what you're doing o'er der.

  3. I am glad everyone is enjoying this. Write the posts gives me a chance to reflect on the day.