When we checked the weather yesterday, the next day forecast promised sun and warm weather. When I woke up this morning, after venturing out to a local pub with a friend last night, it was cloudy, dreary, raining and cold. While we weren’t so thrilled with the weather, my parents and I still set out to check out the Hall in Christ’s Church that inspired the Great Hall in the Harry Potter films and the St. Mary’s Church tower.
These are two of the things people say you have to do when you come to Oxford. There were a lot of other things we did not get to, like the library, so maybe on another trip in the future we will, but these two were certainly spectacular. The hall was beautiful. It was full of lamps along tables stretching across the entire room, a long table at the end of the room and portraits every few feet of notable fellows or people who attended Oxford. The only thing missing was the ceiling that matched the weather outside, which was probably a good thing because we would have gotten rained on.
St. Mary’s Church tower has the reputation of having beautiful views of the city. After climbing over 100 steps, most of which were narrow winding stone steps through a turret, my dad and I stepped out to some of the most beautiful views I have seen in a long time. Even through the dreary and cloudy day, we could see areas on the outskirts of the center of town miles away. What was really fascinating was how different the architecture in the center of town itself was. There were older, colorful wooden homes and then brick buildings, which replaced the wooden ones because of the dangers of fire.
Having the aerial view only made it more clear just how beautiful and thought out Oxford is. The city is really focused around these extravagant, gothic style buildings in which Oxford colleges are based and have classes. The city’s beauty is obvious when you are above it. The different rooftops all seem to blend with one another and the miles of space in all directions have so many different things that make Oxford beautiful, even on a rainy day.
Our last lunch in Oxford was simple but delicious. My dad and I saw a restaurant while on top of the tower called Quod in the Old Bank Hotel. This was a previous bank which became a hotel, and it was a great meal. By the end of it we were wishing we had stayed there overnight. Something I have discovered from this trip is that some of the best things are those you discover along the way. Maybe that is what is so special about traveling to new places – you never know what you will find.