Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oxford and the Cotswolds

I am reporting from the Holiday Inn in Bristol (which is not at all where I expected to be staying… I like it muchly.) The trip has been pretty cool so far, though I think tomorrow’s going to be even better.

Today we did Oxford and Cotswolds. Our bus driver/on the road tour guide is really awesome. They choose the absolute best people to do tours here- I’ve never had a bad one anywhere. Before the tour even started, I overheard a conversation between the other two Americans on the tour. They are sort of the stereotypical American girls- loud, Valley Girl-ish, a bit rude, and there was instant dislike between them and me. Unfortunately, because their names happened to be right after mine on the check in list and we’re the same age, I kept being lumped in with them. This was really not good, since they liked me about as much I liked them (they mocked me as much as they mocked our bus driver. I don’t know why.) We reconciled a bit over Harry Potter, but I am glad that I’m not rooming with them at the hotel. In fact, my roommate Katie, who is Australian, just asked me, “What do you think of the other Americans?” and when I told her what I’d observed, she said, “I KNOW!” (She also used to be an actor, so we’ve had a lot to talk about.)

I was really excited to go to Oxford, since I’ve never been there and it’s been host to some pretty accomplished people- Lewis Caroll, JRR Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Iris Murdoch, Lynn Barber (a.k.a Jenny Mellor from An Education)… the list goes on and on. And then, of course, there’s the fact that Harry Potter is constantly filmed there.

It was everything I expected- a very cool-looking town with three hundred and eighty-five libraries and seventy-eight colleges under Oxford. We had a really great walking tour for an hour, and then had a little bit of time to explore the town ourselves. There's a bridge there fashioned after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, and I felt pretty awesome when I was able to raise my hand when our tour guide aked, "Has anybody been there?" Unfortunately, a lot of the really interesting-looking shops were closed today because it’s Good Friday, but I did get a few cool souvenirs.

I never really understood why Cotswolds has an ‘s’ on the end of its name. It turns out that it’s because it’s called the Cotswolds, and it’s more than one place. We made about three or four different stops, and it was all beautiful country. (If anyone’s seen The Holiday, Iris lives in Cotswolds.) There’s not that much more to say about it- it’s pretty and country-y and I liked it :p

Now it's time to go to bed- off to Bath at 8:30 tomorrow!


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