Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just Another College Town

We spent the day after Stratford in Oxford.  We'd stayed at hostels overnight; the one I was in was very comfortable.  The guy who ran it was very kind and enormously excited to make us a full English breakfast, because he was very proud of his cooking.  He got our table a pot of hot chocolate and lots and lots of toast while breakfasts were cooking.  Have I described these breakfasts before?  You've got toast, eggs, bacon (fried ham), sausage (this was the best I'd had in that it tasted the least like cardboard), and juice...and fried mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, and if you really wanted it, blood pudding.  I never had that last one.  But the rest of it was really quite good and very filling.

Anyway, we went on to Oxford from there and all unloaded at one end and walked up the streets to their museum.  Unlike Cambridge, we'd already let them know exactly what was happening and they didn't have a problem with us coming in en masse.  The museum was beautiful--I'll have to post some of my sketchbook from the trip sometime.  I spent a good several hours there sketching and so forth, and then we had wander time until Evensong.  I know a lot of people went on the "Harry Potter" tour to their assembly hall or something which was used as Hogwart's great hall.  You know, with the candles.  I didn't want to spend the money, though, and was more interested in seeing what an English college town looked like.  I ended up wandering around a lot on my own and discovered that, aside from the fact that the houses are a lot closer together, their shopping district is far larger than Provo, they have cobbled streets rather than paved, and the whole city gets into the decorating for Christmas spirit, it felt familiar.

We went on into the cathedral for Evensong.  We'd had seats reserved for us on one side that were reasonably comfortable--high-backed chairs with arms, padding on the seats, and a little stool.  It was directly across from where the choir was and the whole lot was mostly lit by candles.  The choir filed in later; they all wore the traditional choir robes and they were mostly young boys.  The two preachers were in darker robes, and they sat at one end of the aisle with us and the choir facing each other on either side.  The whole program was written out, with all the words the speakers said and instructions for those of us listening.  The music was beautiful, but it was a very different type of worship than I'm accustomed to.  I spent a lot of the time feeling slightly out-of-place and wondering what I was supposed to do, but the music was beautiful.

(Sorry, no pictures today.)

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