Monday, October 4, 2010


Welcome to Christ Church College!

When you arrive you will always be greeted by one of these friendly Porters wearing the sharp bowler hat.  

Let's take a tour, shall we?

This is Tom Quad, the heart of Christ Church College.  To get to my room for my week long stay (The Oxford Experience) we will go through that dark archway in the corner, past the Great Hall (pics to follow), and up 4 flights of stairs.  Leslie and I always get the top floor.  Our rooms are in the same building, same floor, practically next door to each other.

Here is my room.  The door to the right leads to my private bathroom and there is another twin bed in the room convenient for piling up the stuff of the day.  Next time, I'm going to bring a few items to decorate that bleak bulletin board.  

Just one of the views from my room.  It was a treat to sleep with that window open and feel the cool breeze cross my face. 

See that tiny little head in the second to the far right window, top floor?  That is Leslie and those are her two windows.  My room is the two windows to the left.  This is the Meadows building since it faces the meadows clear to the River Isis. You can also see a bit of scaffolding to the right.  Is there anyplace in Europe without scaffolding?  I don't think so. Of course England is sprucing up right now in preparation for the Summer Olympics.

Let's go take a look at where class will be held.  We leave my room, cross Tom Quad, and head to Peckwater (building on the left).  That is the school library to the right.

And this picture is too pretty not to post.  

Impressive, isn't it?  That is Peckwater building where my class is held.  First floor which is really second floor but in Europe it is ground floor, then first floor, and so on.  That's to trick you into thinking that you aren't really climbing so many stairs.

This is my classroom for The English Country House. I apologize for this picture of my classroom.  The rooms are dark and not conducive to pretty pictures. That's my tutor, Nicholas Doggett, standing near the door.  He was excellent and quite the expert in English country houses, PhD in medieval architecture (or something close to that). He would usually start class by saying, "Right." 

Here are a few of my classmates.  There were ten total representing Japan, Australia, Sweden, England, and the United States.  Fortunately, we all got along great. On the first day everyone is usually quiet, but by the second day we're all starting to warm-up and relax. 

Oh, good, it's raining.  Now we really feel as if we are in the English countryside.  We head through this arch back to Tom Quad.

The main entrance and exit is where the red truck is parked.  Let's head out and get some lunch.

Sadly, our favorite fish and chips shop closed down a week before our arrival.  So, instead, we had traditional Cornish pastys on the run, but I'm not complaining.  And, yes, lunch is included in our room and board at Oxford, but street food is hard to pass up. 

If you are a fan of the "Inspector Lewis" series you've seen this shot a few times.  This is the Hertford Bridge which links two of the quads at Hertford College.  We are now walking along New College Lane toward Broad Street. 

This is the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, doesn't it look like a wedding cake? It was designed by Christopher Wren (I need to find a good book about him).  I've never been inside but intend to on my next visit (that way I will definitely be back).

Love this little vignette.  

Now let's head back to Christ Church College.  We'll wind along this little street and enter through the back gate.

Wave to Larry, a lovely man who is welcoming us back.

Before we head back to change for dinner, let's take a peak into the Cathedral Garden.  

Gorgeous lavender and don't you love those windows?

On to the Great Hall where we are so graciously served breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  When I am in this room it is as if I am a character in an old English book.  I also feel extra smart when I'm sitting here discussing the day with my dinner mates.

This is darling Ruth, from Scotland.  I must have asked her a million times to say, "Edinburgh" which when she says it sounds like, "Edenburrrrra".  She also said, "Murrrderrrrr" which sounded spot on.

This is High Table where each student will be seated one time during their week-long stay.  Those pictures are on the paintings of former Dean's of Christ Church College.  Can you pick which painting seems a bit out of place?  

The Great Hall is surrounded by stained glass windows.  This grouping of windows is known as the "Alice" windows.  Alice in Wonderland's author, Lewis Carroll, was a student here and 'Alice' was the daughter of the Dean.  If you look at the bottom corners of the windows you will see various characters from the book.  Alice is depicted at the bottom corner of the top left window. 

Please meet three of my excellent classmates: Rosemary (Australia), Reiko (Japan), and Pauline (England), at our closing night dinner.

And Paul, Mary, Reiko, and Nick (Dr. Doggett to you)

This is just a little glimpse of my time at Oxford (sigh).

Next stop: Oxford Excursions


  1. Your banner picture is absolutely amazing. I would love that on my bullentin board. I am so enjoying your trip. And I am definitely going to do this one day. We just need to find a week when the offerings will satisfy both me and my other half. We also want to do this same sort of thing at Cornell. Obviously a very different experience than at Oxford, but one that is equally enticing to me.

  2. Hi Kim,

    I'm loving reading your blog! It really makes me want to be back in the UK!! I had the MOST amazing time. We definitely have to get together for a catch-up lunch and gush about London together. Let me know when you're free! :)

    love, Lindsay
    My email is or my cell: 480.682.7429

  3. Your blog is very interesting and must be of interest to most people. Great pictures and lots of interesting information too. I live in England have never been to Oxford.

  4. Thank you for the amazing tour of your Oxford experience; it's even better than I'd pictured it. Officially added to the bucket list...

  5. Did you recognise Christ Church dining hall as the inspiration for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films?
    And did you notice the firedogs with the long necks that gave Lewis Carroll the idea
    of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g Alice when she ... oh dear, I've forgotten, was it the drink or the cake that made her grow?
    Also, if you've ever read Brideshead Revisted, the Meadow building is where Sebastian Flyte had his (fictional) rooms. (One of the balcony rooms on the inside, ie not facing the river.)
    What a wonderful trip you had. And how amazing to stay in college.

  6. Thomas: My banner picture was taken at Lacock Abbey which I will post about soon. The skies were so perfect that day. Thanks for the compliment. I didn't know about Cornell offering something similar, that would be great fun.

    Lindsay: You are an Anglophile. Congrats!

    Jordiegirl: Get thee to Oxford, pronto.

    Jennifer: You and Chris would really enjoy taking a class and then roaming around the countryside.

    Mary: Yes, Christ Church Great Hall was the inspiration for Hogwarts. And if I didn't know that before, I would from all the kids who line-up every day to tour the dining hall!

    I didn't notice the fire dogs (one more reason to return). And I had forgotten about Sebastian's room in the Meadows building. Bummer for him that his room faced the courtyard!

  7. Oh I loved, loved, LOVED this post! More please! I never tire of such magnificent architecture.

  8. Thank you for sharing your Oxford Experience. Although I've visited Oxford on previous trips, I'm taking a Week 1 course this summer. In anticipation, I've been searching for reviews and your contribution is greatly appreciated.