The University of Oxford

Here I am at one of the oldest universities, built as early as the 1200s! I did not realize it was such a touristy city, they even have their own big red “hop on-hop off” sightseeing buses. I soon learned that a lot of places in London offer day-trips to Oxford starting around £40.

Certain colleges now charge visitors to come and explore their grounds. It’s more of an honesty thing because I and my friend were able to just walk right in. Maybe because we look like potential students? The only place that we could not get in for free was the Christ Church. This building features the inspiration for “The Great Hall” of Hogwarts, from the Harry Potter series. It would be cool, but wasn’t worth £8 each for us.

I came to Oxford to visit my friend Natasha, who was taking a class at the campus for a few weeks. My friend Rob, that I met in Berlin, is an Oxford student so we hung out with him as well. He told us about his experience at Oxford, what he does, how he likes it, etc. He was also able to rent a “punt” from his college so we could float down the lake.

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What is a punt? It’s sort of like a “gondola” from Venice. Someone stands on the back of the boat and uses a long stick to push the boat through the water. Sounds easy enough. No. Not at all. The pole is heavy and it is hard to steer the boat. We brought an oar with us to help steer, thank goodness for that. We all took turns punting, and after a while figured out the best method for moving the boat.

On our punt journey, we saw a ton of birds. The little river is home to about 207 species of birds. In total we saw about 11, including ducks, swan, a heron, white geese, the black and grey geese, greylag geese, and many more. Plus we saw tons of baby birds and couldn’t resist throwing out our crackers at them.

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