There are good days, and then there are great days. And then there are fabulously wonderful days! This day falls under the latter category. My lovely day split into two wonderful cities: Stratford and Oxford. Visiting the birthplace of Shakespeare was surreal to me. There are no words to adequately describe my feelings about it! I was just barely having a conversation with Whitney, a lovely girl in my program, and we were laughing about the fact that I always say things like "this is my favorite day EVER" or "this is the worst sound EVER." Yes. I speak in absolutes. I have a lot of bests. So yes, you will hear my saying that frequently. With that said, I will now exclaim: this was the best day EVER! :)
What a lovely day... to visit Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare!
This is me, and the awkward pose I am making means this: "I am so excited to be standing in front of the birthplace of the absolute greatest writer of the English language! and this is where he was born. and I am here. and he used to be here four hundred years ago. and yes, I am here." Yes, this was definitely a great moment in my life.
This is the house where Shakespeare was born! Isn't it darling?
What do you do when you have 30 minutes of free time in Stratford? Go boating on the river, of course! We rented a boat for 7 pounds and had ourselves a little river adventure, filled with dodging other boats and trying not to run aground :) I was paranoid about capsizing, but we made it out safe and sound! (and dry)
This is me with Stephanie, by the way
lovely Chelsea rowing away with her hair blowing in the wind... how romantic! I tried rowing too, and I wasn't nearly as successful.
We went to Oxford! and apparently this is what they do here :) do you play croquet? (no wonder Lewis Carroll's character the Queen of Hearts was a croquet player - this is what the elite do at Oxford, and queens are definitely elite!) I was utterly enchanted that I was in Oxford walking around watching the brilliant students (I would die to be one of them) playing croquet on a warm spring day to pass the time. HOW GREAT IS THAT??
Oxford architecture is just beautiful. If my map was right (well, let me amend that. If I read my map right), this was designed by Christopher Wren, the architect who designed St. Paul's Cathedral. Oxford rocks. Everyone should visit it.
Outside the Christ Church Cathedral (which is the main cathedral of Oxford University) flanked by blooming trees. The gardens and lawn around Christ Church are so beautiful.
Alice's door! Christ Church at Oxford was famous for the Alice books by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), because while he was attending Oxford he would tell stories to the Dean's daughters, one of which was named Alice! This was, supposedly, the very door where Alice peeped through the keyhole because no children were allowed to go through the door. Alice's father is buried right around the corner in a beautiful little garden.
This is the Great Hall at Christ Church college in Oxford University (for you Harry Potter fans, this is where Hogwarts was filmed - yep, this is the big dining room where all the little Hogwarts students eat). And we ate there too! The house manager arranged for us to have tea in the Great Hall. It was my first tea! Complete with cute little tea sandwiches, tea cake, and of course, tea (just kidding, it was hot chocolate). How great is that!
Having hot chocolate in the lovely teacup! I felt very proper and British. Chelsea on the left looks a little spacey... she's imagining how fabulous it would be to attend Oxford University and frequent the Great Hall every day! Actually, she looks a little concerned. What are you concerned about, Chelsea? :)
Chelsea, Kathryn, and I in the Great Hall. This is where Oxford students eat three meals a day - can you even imagine? I felt important having "tea" in the Great Hall!