Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Aaah! Oxford...

Today's highlights were: Sun, skies and beautiful buildings. (And dare I say, my phone)
The only downside was some immense cramping that made everything uncomfortable for most of the day. 

I woke up in my beautiful bedroom to the sun coming over the Royal Crescent across the street. After some dancing, I went for a stroll with a playlist of English musicians around Victoria park. It was a lovely sunshiney morning and my spirits were high.

 I came back to pack up again and hit the Jane Austen center. I was never a huge fan, though I watched the 2005 Pride and Prejudice a few nights ago, but this museum was captivating. They started you off with a live Museum curator giving a history of Jane Austen's family. Then they release you into a room that explains what residents of Bath were like when Jane Austen lived there. I most enjoyed (and part of the reason I went was) the costume dress up area, and they also had a calligraphy pen to play with. 

Some fun facts:

*Jane Austen's books weren't published with her name until after she died (in 1817, the first in her family, other than her father to pass, and just 41).
*She nor her sister Cassandra ever married. But her 5 brothers did, I think.
*her brother Henry named the books Persuasion and P&P, which were better than her original titles
I finished my tour by buying two books - Austen's history of England, written when she was 11, and a book of spirits she shared with her sister. Then I went up for a tea.

 Eating sandwiches full of dairy was definitely a bad idea in hindsight but I wanted the experience.

And I got to dine with Mr. Darcy.

After tea I departed Bath for Oxford passing the Didcot power plant just hours(?) Before part of it exploded. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-35641766)

Every new town I visit I swear I like more than the last. I am so thankful I journeyed beyond London, and am already dreaming I could stop time and walk across this whole country. 

As I write this, chomping away at a veggie burger and chips in lieu, yet again, of the salad I was planning on, 

and I'm listening to two bearded Oxfordians discuss American pop culture due to the terrible Katy Perry/Miley Cirus station on. (That was auto corrected to millet citrus)

Yet Oxford initially was much different than I expected. I imagined Charles Darwin types walking around big buildings stroking their beards. I was met with a newer vibe than I expected. A modern town pulsing with new thought but built on the shoulders of giants.

I arrived with a couple hours to kill so I just key my feet direct me. I wound up in a very overwhelming museum of Art and Architecture, where I passed an hour comparing old coins, learning about historical material conservation, and passing mummies and Grecian statutes. Then I made my way "home"for the night, taking a long but magical detour. 

I think my favorite part of England has been making connections to places I've read about, and imagining the inventors, explorers and philosophers who created and shaped our world standing on the same streets and seeing some of the same sights. I'm looking forward to Museuming tomorrow before returning to London.