We started at Uffington Castle and White Horse. It isn't really a castle, but rather an Iron Age hill fort and a Bronze Age chalk stylized horse. The grass was cut away to reveal the bright white chalk underneath, and a huge horse figure can be seen today, but only in its entirety from a helicopter. It's huge and bizarre. Tom believes it was probably religious, but that conspiracy theories do exist about alien communication. Of course I favor this approach. Here you can only see his head and eye, but you get the idea.
Then we were off to OXFORD! What a city. Oxford University has 40(+?) colleges and covers almost the entire city. The buildings are rich in architectural style and history. We spent a good deal of our free time just looking at all the magnificent architecture around us. We started with the museums and college buildings.
We found some touristy locations, like the Alice Shop. It had tons and tons of Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia and was very cute. (Lewis Carroll (pseudonym for Charles Dodgson) was a student and a professor at Oxford.)
Other touristy locations included the Eagle and Child, a bar where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to kick it, checking out Albert Einstein's blackboard in the Oxford Museum of the History of Science, the famous Turf Tavern bordering the original city wall-now the sketchiest part of town- and of course finding the red British telephone booths. As you can see, I'm quite tired in all these photos. We were all absolutely exhausted, but definitely in good spirits.
And what kind of LAO employee would I be if I didn't take note of the Oxford Bodlein Library? It is one of 6 libraries privileged to contain every book published in the UK.
Once we finished touring the city, we headed back to Christ's Church Cathedral for the Evensong. I'd never been to an Evensong before and didn't know what it was. It's an evening service during which the priest or minister reads sections of scriptures and sermons, interjected with singing by the cathedral choir and prayers. Evensong is free, so we could get into the cathedral without having to pay the normal admission fee. The cathedral is stunning, but unfortunately we weren't able to make it into the most famous portion - The Great Hall from Harry Potter films. I think they also film some staircase and courtyard scenes there too. It was still awesome. If the Catholic Church got something right, it's that Gothic decor is impressive. And that Christ is the Savior. It was really cool to worship with those of another faith and see the similarities and differences. But boy am I glad to be a Latter-day Saint.
Resting for a short period after trudging around all day has the curious effect of making you more tired and sore once you actually stand up. Nonetheless, we traveled from Oxford to a tiny hamlet-village called Stow-on-the-Wold. The town was very quaint and cute, with ancient yellow brick houses and an extremely old church. Huge trees and faded, crumbling gravestones surrounded the deteriorating building, but this only added to its appeal. Here you can see the trees grew right up onto the walls of the building. It looked like the kind of scenery created for the inside of Disney rides like Splash Mountain.