Last Wednesday our group spent the day at Blenheim Palace and Oxford college. It was freezing cold, and the weather wasn't great, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. The Palace was really neat. It is still used today so there were Christmas decorations everywhere. They said you can tell when the Duke is in because his Land Rover will be parked in the driveway and the butler will be properly dressed. He wasn't there this day, but I thought it was a funny way of revealing if he was home or not. I also learned that Winston Churchill was born here. Very cool. I really enjoyed it. After our tour we had some time to wander in the gardens. The grounds were amazing. It looked like they went on forever. They had lakes, and fountains, and gardens, and lawn everywhere. If it hadn't be frigid outside I think I would have taken more time to see it all.
After we left the palace we headed to Oxford. I had the chance to go to Cambridge last summer so I was excited to see Oxford. Of course the second we stepped off the bus it started raining on us. It made us all a little weary to think we had a 90 minute outdoor tour ahead of us. However, we zipped up our coats, put on our gloves, and put on our best faces. Our guide had been working with the university for over 60 years so he really knew what he was talking about. The tour was actually really interesting. Oxford is a complex place that is continuing to grow. I could understand why it is such an elite school to attend. There are 37 colleges in existence now and each one has specific subjects it teaches. One of them, Christchurch, is known for people like C.S. Lewis and Andrew Lloyd Webber attending it. I thought that was really cool. Another cool thing about Oxford? It was where they filmed The Great Hall for the Harry Potter movies! Ann and I kept waiting for him to tell us where exactly that was. It was, of course, at the very end of the tour that he showed us the building. Typically, you have to pay extra to go inside so we only got a picture of the outside, but we decided that was probably better so we didn't ruin the magic of it.
After the tour we had a good 2.5 hours to kill so spent in wandering in and out of shops. Abs, Ann, Cath, Laur, and I inevitably ended up buying the same grey, crew neck, "Oxford" sweatshirts. I love it. We're all going to wear them next semester in our apartment. I can't wait. By the time it was time for the coach to pick us up we were pretty cold and ready to go. We learned that it was to be our last ride on the coach with Tony! I'll miss those days on the back of the bus. Such good memories!
It was a really fun day. I loved Oxford and am really glad we got to go there.