Oxford: where magic happens

Lush beauty
Lush beauty

Right after attending the IFC Conference in Amsterdam for work, I flew to London and then traveled to Oxford to meet my boyfriend there.
We spent a lovely weekend!

My boyfriend moved to Oxford at the end of September to pursue a Masters in Water Science, Policy and Management. He will stay there until May next year, so this trip inaugurated a series of commutes between Geneva and Oxford.

Shortly after arriving into Oxford on Friday night, we had dinner at Christ Church College‘s impressive Dining Hall.  My boyfriend is in this college (actually in a building right across the street, since only undergraduate students can live here) and the protocol is quite surprising. Students must wear a cape when they have dinner within the premises and there is a Latin prayer before getting started. After supper, we met some of my boyfriend’s college and Water Program friends.

On Saturday, we did some sightseeing in Oxford. Our first stop was, of course, Christ Church. Uniquely among Oxford colleges, Christ Church has an important collection of Old Master paintings and drawings, housed in the purpose-built Picture Gallery. It is also home to Oxford’s Cathedral, which has its own world-famous choir. We visited the cathedral, Tom Gate, Tom Quad and the Graduate Common Room (GCR). 

On Sunday morning, we headed to the Bodleian Library. This is the main research library of the University of Oxford with over 12 million items, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. We also saw the Sheldonian Theater (the official ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford), University Church, High St and a number of colleges (Magdalen, St John’s and All Souls). Actually, Oxford University is made up of more than 30 different colleges!

After that, we strolled around the beautiful Christ Church Meadow while we saw some students practice rowing on river Thames. Our final stop were the Pitt Rivers Museum, which displays the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford, and the Water Program building where my boyfriend is studying.

And last but not least, did you know that some colleges in the historic University City of Oxford were featured (or inspired) in many of the early Harry Potter movies? Here’s a list of some of them in case you’re interested. I’m such a fan!

Trip details

Transport:  upon arrival to Heathrow airport, I headed to the bus terminal where I caught a bus by The Airline to Oxford. Since my boyfriend is in Christ Church College, I stopped at St Aldate’s, which is right in front.

Pubs & restaurants:

*Turf Tavern:  this is a popular but well-hidden historic pub in central Oxford popular with locals, university scholars and tourists alike.  Its foundations and use as a malt house and drinking tavern date back to 1381. 

*The white rabbit: cozy pizza and beer pub.  

*The Eagle & Child: this pub lays claim to a number of interesting literary connections. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and fellow writers met here and dubbed themselves ‘The Inklings’. I really liked the cozy atmosphere here, and even more when I ordered the vegetable soup of the day (with carrot, ginger and honey) and the chicken, ham and cheese pie.

*Vaults & Garden: this place was established with the vision of creating a socially positive café hub built on the principle of ecological sustainability. Enjoying an unrivalled view of the Radcliffe Camera and Radcliffe Square, we had a delicious brunch here, including assam tea, an all Oxford breakfast, a cheese vegetable toast and a piece of carrot cake.

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