Part 3…Oxford…Home of 38 colleges in this famous village…

The front entrance to the Ashmolean Museum.

Commencing with our first stop on the 13 hour tour we stopped in Oxford, the world renowned university village for which we had the mistaken perception, as many do, that Oxford is a town of one expansive university. How wrong we were! 

Nude Egyptian statue we encountered upon entering the museum.

In fact, there are 38 colleges in the town of around 151,000 as of a 2011 census, although there is a high turnaround rate due to the comings and goings of a reported 20,000+ students from all over the world.

Ancient hand-beaded animal hide on display in the museum.

Our bus stopped across the road from yet another museum, the Ashmolean Museum, where we were scheduled to return two hours later to meet up with Paul, our guide, and board the bus to be on our way. 

Various coins from the ancient world.

We had the option to join Paul, our spunky guide, and the tour group or to wander about on our own. With Tom’s difficulty in hearing after 42 years on the railroad, it was pointless to join the group when he wouldn’t be able to hear what Paul saying.

This is the Martyr’s Memorial which we encountered on the walkthrough Oxford.

As a result, we walked the village of Oxfordshire keeping an eye out as to where the group was headed. That way, we could catch most of the highlights at our own pace which is always faster than in a large group.

There were a few streets where no cars were allowed, to make getting through the crowds easier.

We started at the Museum. After only a few minutes, we decided that perhaps we’ll have had our fill of museums by the time we get into the two closest to our hotel in Kensington. We wandered off to check out the colleges and historic buildings that contribute to Oxford’s enchanting appeal.

Tom purchased a slice of dark chocolate fudge in this fudge shop which he savored over a few days, taking tiny bites at a time.

The streets, restaurants, and shops were packed with tourists during the busy summer season drawing travelers from all over the world. The narrow roads, the locally mined limestone buildings, homes, and churches created an awe-inspiring scene that drew us in several directions.

The Museum of History and Science.

With a sense of certainty, we spotted college professors, female and male, scurrying about the village doing whatever they do as the new school year fast approaches.

This is the famous Radcliffe Camera building.  Camera is another word for “room.”

Our minds wandered to what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, so easy to envision in this step-back-in-time village.

Another museum or college building.

One could easily spend days exploring this village of vast worldwide influence dating back to the 9th century. Like many old buildings as we’ve seen in our travels, we experienced a renewed enthusiasm as we perused as much as we could in the allotted time. How quickly time flew!

The courtyard of the Bodleian Library.

In no time at all, we were on our way, a smile on our faces, happy to have seen something we’d never imagined would have been in reality, as has been so many of the places we’ve visited in our travels.

Exquisite entrance to the Bodleian Library.

Last night, as we returned to the hotel from yet another disappointing meal, we talked about how odd it is that we’ve been to Istanbul, Dubai, Marseilles, Cairo and so many cities around the world. As we examine the world map, we realize we’ve only just begun. There’s so much more to see.

Statue of William Hebert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of Oxford University 1580-1630.

Note: We still have many excellent Oxford photos to share, which we’ll post tomorrow in Part 4, the final post in this series of our visit to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) and the villages of Bampton and Oxford.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2013:
The Internet was still down in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, not to be back up until August 25, 2013. We were frustrated, to say the least, unable to post for several days.