It was a dream-come-true for me to visit Oxford. I have wanted to study there ever since I was a child. I still have not achieved that, but the visit was almost as magical. Mystical, magical, and drenched in history, Oxford is an explorer’s delight. An hour’s train ride away from London is over before you know it and soon you enter Oxford.
The first place we went to was the Christ Church College. It is the place to be in Oxford. Thirteen of the 26 Prime Ministers who studied at Oxford studied at the Christ Church College. It is the largest college in the University. Oxford University is unique because it is made up of 38 colleges, which together become the Oxford University. Christ Church College is also more famous in recent times because it is the Hogwarts! Some scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed at this college, such as the dining room scenes and the staircase scenes. Moreover, this college inspired the film sets of Harry Potter. It is a must visit for Harry Potter fans. It costs 8 pounds to enter the college.
The other unique thing about Oxford is that it is the only town which was not bombed by the Germans during World War II. Adolf Hitler ordered Oxford not to be bombed because he wanted to make Oxford his capital when he took over England.
Walk past Christ Church College and you will find yourself in front of St. Martins College, which is the oldest college in the university, built during the 1200s and which houses the longest in-use library ever. Just next to St. Martins is the Corpus Christi College, which is the smallest college in the university. There is a story behind this. Richard, the man who funded the building of the college, was blind and when the builders built the college, they pocketed most of the funds and built a small college from the funds that were remaining. Moreover, when Richard came to visit the college, the made him walk around the same college thrice and made him think it was a huge campus.
Walk a little further ahead and you arrive in front of the lamppost with the goat-man that inspired C.S. Lewis to write his first page of the Narnia Chronicles. Next, you will come across the exclusive Radcliff College. This college has the toughest entrance examination in the world, one like no other. Apparently, it tests how you think rather than what you know, and each year a maximum of three people gain entry into this prestigious college.
Keep walking and you arrive at the Bodleian Library, which has all the books that are ever printed there. It currently has 6.5 million books. To the right-hand side of the library is the Bridge of Sighs. It is a copy of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, which connects the new prison to the interrogation rooms. It is called the Bridge of Sighs in Venice because it is the last view of Venice the prisoners saw before they were convicted and they sighed at the view! In Oxford, the bridge is less harmless and connects the two parts of a college.
After our wonderful tour of the city and being flooded with stories of all the rich history as well as legends spanning over eight centuries, we went off to explore the shopping and tiny cafes in the area. We certainly were not disappointed. A perfect place to find small little trinkets, souvenirs, and cute cafes tucked in nooks and crannies. It was truly a magical trip.
Opinion and Blog By Aditi Mandanna
Image Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons – Creative Commons License