The morning came, and with it, the planned day trip to Oxford. I cut it a bit close for the meeting time, leaving my room at 0845, I arrived in the lobby at 0850, the first one. I was greeted by Dr. Scott, his wife, and Jon, the IES director here in London. I went back upstairs to knock on doors and we were out of Chapter just after our scheduled 0900 departure. We cantered down to King’s Cross underground station and waited for the correct train to Paddington station. After watching three trains go by, we finally had the correct one and made it down to Paddington Station, where we would catch our national rail service to Oxford. Once all situated, we had about 12 minutes until departure, so I bought a sandwich and made my way to the train.
The train was a small three coach affair that was quite full. After the first stop in Sloan however, several people left our carriage and I had a much more pleasant experience. I got some writing done, and then listened to some more Tolkien. I enjoyed my time on the train but I was glad when the 57 minute journey was over and we detrained. There was quite a line for the restrooms and it took us a bit to get out of the train station. Once out we followed our tour guide and made our way to Christ Church College of Oxford.
On the way to Christ Church we walked past Saïd Bussiness School, which was funny since I’m looking into taking an MBA program there a few years post graduation. We talked about how the town of Oxford came about as well as how the university is structured. Oxford is an old institution and it is composed of 37 colleges. However, the different colleges are not academic units but more of an identity and you take whatever academic track you want in most of the colleges. Also, learned that you can’t apply to both Oxford and Cambridge, you must pick one.
We continued walking the streets of Oxford and learned some of the famous people that have graduated from the institution, including Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, and others. I also learned that Jon, the IES director, lives in the flat below Georgie Hanley, Lucy from Disney’s Chronicles of Narnia. We also learned that after students finish all of their final exams, they go crazy with foam and silly string and glitter and drinks. It was very interesting seeing some of them walking the streets after exams let out.
I stopped for lunch at The Buttery and ordered a sandwich with bacon, brie, and cranberry alongside my black currant and cheesecake shake. It was quite scrumptious and then I did some shopping, buying a University of Oxford rugby polo and a tie. After this we met back up and went to tour Christ Church College, where they filmed part of Harry Potter, like the stairs before the sorting ceremony. It was fun to see all of the old buildings and such but it was a long day and I was happy to begin the trek back to the station and our train home.
The ride home was a pretty smooth journey, we had eight carriages for the journey back, as well as reserved seats, so it was much more comfortable. I watched some lectures on the ride back, and chuckled to myself when we stopped at Reading station. I have some friends that love Monopoly, so I made a tweet about. Then we made our way back to Chapter and I took a nap, then went to bed for the next day and our trip to Greenwich.
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again