Term has officially begun! I’m finally in Oxford for good (at least until the end of Hilary Term around mid-March). It feels great to be back- had our welcome-back bop party last night in the common room and first football practice of the season today! My HC friends Christine and Suzanne left this morning after our London and Edinburgh adventures and it was so sad to see them go. It was like having a piece of home in Oxford. Reuniting with my Oxford friends and getting to take two of my closest HC friends with me made Liz one very happy girl.
We had an incredible time in London and Edinburgh. Christine spent a Maymester in London studying theater this past year, so we depended on her expertise to get us around the amazing city. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy (to be expected) and lots of the city was under construction for the 2012 Olympics but it was wonderful nonetheless. The last time I was in London I was 13 so it was really interesting to have it from an independent, adult perspective. We hit up Portobello Market, Notting Hill, Baker Street, Big Ben, The Eye, The Tate Museum of Modern Art, Harrods, and St. Paul’s Cathedral (our hostel was right near it!). Speaking of 0ur hostel- I’m trying to stifle my laughter as we speak. It was remnant of a prison cell. We had plastic crib-like bunk beds that formed a weird tripod formation. But hey- it was only 20 pounds a night per person so I guess that’s what we deserved in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
We also saw a showing of Hamlet at the Young Vic, a really cool theater Christine introduced us to. It was so exciting to see a piece of London theater and the tickets were only 10 pounds (which I guess explains why we were in the nosebleed section sitting on back-less seats… hahaha) but it was a really interesting interpretation with some awesome acting. Definitely had some frustrating and bizarre sections (the ending left us with a ‘huh’ look plastered on our faces) but I’m really glad we went, if not to at least discuss it/ make fun of it for awhile after. It also got me more excited for my Shakespeare secondary tutorial this term!
After about 2 1/2 days in London we jetted off to Edinburgh on a 4 1/2 hour train ride. After some ticket-printing drama and a really forgiving conductor (thank God), we made it to Edinburgh which absolutely blew my mind. It was stunning- out of a fairy tale. No wonder JK Rowling was inspired to write Harry Potter there. We’re talkin’ castles, statues, cathedrals, the whole nine yards. It was quaint and sprawling at the same time. On our last day there we walked up to the Edinburgh Castle and the views were incredible. It was a combination of distant, rolling, green hills and the beautiful architecture of a centuries-old city. Loved it.
We indulged our inner-Harry-Potter-nerds and went to the Elephant House where JK Rowling wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter. The cafe, although over-priced, was adorable, had great views, and was, to put it simply, SO COOL simply because we were sitting where JK once was. I got a delicious hot chocolate with whip-cream and marshmallows (yum) and a piece of elephant-shaped shortbread. Speaking of food, one of the best (and healthiest, of course) parts of Edinburgh was their deep fried Mars Bars… for those of you who don’t know, Mars Bars are like an English form of Milky Ways and they’re delicious on their own. But then soak it in batter and deep-fry it in a vat? GLORIOUS. To say we ate to our heart’s content (or my thigh’s content…) is an understatement.
Other adventures in Edinburgh include: trips to several museums, a drink at Greyfriar’s Bobby (a quaint pub named after the legend of a small dog named Bobby who laid beside his owner’s grave every day for nine years… a.k.a. I was in heaven), a walk around the Royal Mile and Princes St. (great shopping!), and Calton Hill at night (a haunted area of ruins… also coincidentally lacking a lot of lighting). Also, our hostel was the best hostel EVER. About 100 times better than our London one. It was so funky with really cool decorations (including two knights of shining armor on the staircases), young kids manning the reception with great music, an awesome lounge (with leather seats, a fire, free wifi, and free tea/coffee/hot chocolate), and our room had endearing bunk beds and a sky light with great views of Edinburgh. Not to mention it was right next to the castle! We could not have been happier.
We spent our last two days in Oxford where I got to show them all my favorite things including Ben’s Cookies. We tried to get into Christ Church to see where Harry Potter was filmed (again, we’re kind of fans…) but we decided 7 pounds was a little too steep after a week of traveling. But I still showed them a lot of the city I now call home and took them to the bop at Mansfield where I introduced them to a bunch of my Oxford friends and danced all night. 🙂
I’m back in action now- my first paper due Thursday for my primary tutorial (Christian Ethics) so I better crack out the books. Oh boy. Here’s to another awesome term!
P.S. Picture time!
Suz and me showing off Big Ben.