A friend once asked me why I like to travel. I responded that it makes me feel like I am "Alice in Wonderland." When I board the plane to a new destination, I am, in essence, going through the little garden door and entering a different and exciting world filled with interesting people and unique experiences.
Today I actually got to see the "little garden door" and to see the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's enduring story. More about that later.
This morning we rode a bus about an hour to Oxford, which was founded in the 7th century and is home to the oldest university in the English speaking world. Oxford University is actually a collection of 38 colleges scattered throughout the town, the oldest dating to 1167. There are about 22,000 students; 12,000 undergrads who are mostly from the UK and 10,000 graduate students who are mostly internationals.
With only a day, we concentrated our visit to one, Christ Church College. It was founded in 1524 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII's chancellor. It is the largest and most prestigious of Oxford's colleges.
We began our tour in the quad, a grassy field surrounded by college buildings.
We entered the building up the "Harry Potter staircase" where some scenes were filmed.
Portraits of esteemed alumni line the walls, including one of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church.
A stained glass window is a testament to Lewis Carroll.
We proceeded to the residence halls where all students have single rooms, many with in suite baths.
We toured 3 gardens, which also provided inspiration for Carroll's novel.
Finally we toured Christ Church Cathedral. Built in the 12th century, it's one of the oldest buildings in Oxford.
Afterwards we had lunch and were on our own to explore the city. Sydney and I teamed up with two other women, Sally from Hilton Head and Dee from San Diego, and headed to the covered market.
So we decided to go to the top of the Carfax Tower.
We walked some more, seeing the exterior of other iconic buildings such as the Bodleian Library,
We walked back to the bus, stopping for coffee and a treat on the way, and arrived back at the hotel at 6 pm.
Had a delightful dinner with 4 other new women friends tonight which didn't end until almost 9. Another great day.