I Belong in a Palace

Today I felt studious and smart visiting Oxford University. To begin I didn’t even know Oxford was an actual city in England, I thought it was just the name of the university. Furthermore I didn’t know that Oxford wasn’t a university like Pitt is, it’s actually made up of 39 different colleges. Although we saw a lot of buildings we mainly focused on the Christ Church school in Oxford. The first building I remember was the Boldian library, one of the greatest libraries in England. I learned that this specific library isn’t a lending one and it is mainly used by the university to access source materials. I really liked when Tim showed us the Shalodian theater. I thought it was unfair but lucky for the students that attended there that when they graduate they receive their bachelors in arts but four years later if they pay a fee their degrees are automatically upgraded to masters in arts. 

Focusing on the Christ Church, when we first entered I was mesmerized at how beautiful it was. There was a beautiful garden when you first entered with green grass on both sides of the pathway and flowers planted everywhere and a beautiful fountain. My favorite part of this tour though was when we entered the Great Hall, which is the dining hall in the university, and we saw the Alice in Wonderland Window. Personally I love Alice in Wonderland, and I especially like the movie so it was really cool for me to be in the place where Charles Dodgson, published as C.S. Lewis got his inspiration from. Charles Dodgson was a math tutor at Christ Church and invented the tale of Alice in Wonderland while he was on a boat tour with Alice Little and her sisters. I enjoyed the fact that his characters in the book were based off of people he knew in real life and were related to the Christ Church and that I got to learn about them. Beginning with Alice, she is said to be based on Alice Little, the daughter of Dean Little, who was the dean of Christ Church, and the inspiration of C.S. Lewis. Then there is the dodo bird who is supposed to be Lewis himself partly because of his stammer and the fact that he used to say dodo Dodgeson. Lastly there is the white rabbit, who is supposed to be based on Dean Little because he had a tendency to always be late for service. 

Besides the Alice in Wonderland Window I also really liked the Tom Quad, I think it was just a really beautiful, scenic part of the campus. I learned that here is where the Tom Tower is and at the top is a very large bell which is referred to as the Great Bell and has been there for over 300 years. The bell used to strike 101 times at 9:05 pm to signal to students that they needed to be back inside and it rang 101 times because that is how many students attended the university centuries ago. 

After Oxford we traveled to Blenheim Palace, which belonged to the Duke of Marlborough. Now I knew that palaces were elegant and fancy but never seeing one in person made me underestimate them. The palace was extremely lavish and gorgeous and covered a lot more land than I was expecting. The buildings were in a very nice baroque style and the outside reminded me of a stereotypical palace I was thinking of, while the inside shocked me. It was so much nicer than I was expecting, there were more statues than I could count, paintings everywhere, and old artifacts like swords and a king’s crown and scepter. The palace also taught me what a duke is! I’ve heard the term thousands of times and I love the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton but I actually never knew the definition of one until today; a duke is a leader coming from the latin word “dux” which was a high-ranking Roman military commander responsible for protecting their given land. An English duke in the 18th century was an aristocrat who owned land and served the Crown either through political responsibility or military service. Besides this learning experience, I really enjoyed the Palace for its fancy sights, displays of medieval clothing and wigs, paintings, and extremely lavish dining area. My favorite part of the palace definitely had to be the garden. It was absolutely breathtaking with so many fountains and green areas.

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