I'm going to fast forward things and tell you all about today and then I'll rewind and let you know about Thursday and Friday.
So this morning Dean Hughes, who is an author and has written tons of books including the popular LDS series "Children of the Promise," came and talked to our literature class. He is in town to do some research for a new book and Dr. Crowe is friends with him. He and his wife are staying in the spare room of the Centre and they are also doing a fireside for us tomorrow. It was really cool to hear him speak.
Afterwards we went to Oxford for the day. Some of us had been planning this trip for over a week and then a bunch of other people happened to plan it on the same day so we all took the train together but then ended up splitting up. The train to Oxford was even more like the Hogwarts Express than our train ride to Cambridge. First of all, we had about 5 minutes to get on our train before it left so we were running through the station, just like Harry and the Weasleys do in The Chamber of Secrets. Except that we were actually able to get on the platform and onto the train. Sadly, no flying car rides for us. The train ride there kind of sucked. It was way crowded so we ended up standing most of the time and it was super hot.
Once we got there, we weren't really sure where we were going. We need of a few destinations we eventually wanted to end up at but we had no idea how to get there. We (as in Tara, Kaylee, Hannah and I) decided we would follow the other group of kids that came until we had a general idea of where to go. We followed them until we stumbled upon this museum. We went inside for maybe 30 min but it was pretty cool. They had a bunch of ancient stuff from Cyprus so it there were a lot of the god and goddess stuff. We enjoyed a giant, naked statue of Zeus and some painted pots like the pot of ladies in Hercules before moving on to further adventures.
So basically after that we just kind of walked down this street that had a lot of people in it. It kind of looked like a street market but we weren't really sure. And we did know that we were kind of going in the right direction towards the college. So basically that was exciting. haha I guess it was just a randomly pedestrianized street because there wasn't anything too special about it. But after that, we followed this little map we had found to the Oxford Castle, which we thought had a tower so you could see the city from above. But it didn't. It was still pretty cool to see. It made us laugh though because part of it used to be a prison, until pretty recently, and now it's a hotel. That's be an interesting place to stay. In front of the castle were some little cart seller people. This one guy was selling fudge and he asked if we wanted a sample so we went over there and were talking to him. He asked us to sign this petition because the city was trying to shut the cart seller people down because they though it detracted from the coolness. We were happy to sign it, because we like cart seller people, and because we got to sign a petition so that's just cool.
Afterwards, we somehow found ourselves on this street of shops. Ok, we didn't just find ourselves there randomly but I don't remember how we got there. Once we were there, we ended up stopping in this fudge shop that has literally been in every town we've visited. But their fudge is pretty awesome, so we usually go in just for samples. Anyways, the fudge shop workers were way cool. They were talking to us for forever and they were way funny. This one married guy was selling Tara fudge and Tara handed him this bill that was beyond beat up. He laughed at her, looked at it more closely and then goes on to tell her that it's a really old bill that they don't use anymore. And then he keeps looking at it and tells her that it's counterfeit money. Except the whole time he's telling us this, he's laughing and kind of making a joke out of it, so we're all laughing. And then this younger worker kid started talking to us and he was asking Hannah and Kaylee if people in America say "hella." Hannah replied that she didn't hear it. I wasn't fully paying attention at this point because Tara and I were still talking to married guy. But once I realized what was going on, I was like oh yeah, I hear it all the time in California. So then worker kid continues on to imitate PERFECTLY a Southern CA accent. Not even just an American accent, but literally a surfer dude from Southern California. It was so funny and since that moment I decided that I was going to marry him. Even though he looked like he was high school age so that could cause some problems...
After fudge shop experience, we found some of the different colleges of Oxford (if you don't quite understand what I'm talking about when I say that, please read my previous post on Cambridge. Same system). They were gorgeous and just amazing. We went into one and found the Hogwarts infirmary. Um legit? Yeah. So we paid our one pound to go check it out. This is also where they filmed the dance practice scene in the Goblet of Fire. Look familiar?
We also went up into the tower of the chapel of one of the other colleges. We got to see the whole city and it was fabulous. It wasn't nearly as high as St. Paul's, but I was more than ok with that. The stairs up were still a little scary because they were pretty skinny and steep so there were some times I thought I was going to fall down them at the end but clearly, I lived to tell the tale.
After this adventure we were pretty lost. We navigated our way back to the fudge shop street where they had a bunch of souvenir shops and we looked through those. Once we had fulfilled our souvenir urges, we headed over to Christ Church college to see the Hogwarts Great Hall. We had no idea how to get there so we stopped and asked fudge shop boys because married guy was standing outside telling people to come get free samples. He had no idea how to get there so he went inside and asked. Worker kid knew how to get there so they both came back out and has worker kid (aka future husband) was giving us directions, he pulls out his cigarettes. And all my dreams were shattered. I can't marry funny fudge kid because he freaking smokes. Ugh.
We head off in the direction stupid fudge kid tells us and we still end up getting lost along the way and we go a super long way to get there. We end up in the back and the security dude informs us that they stop letting people in at 4:30. And it's 4:28 and we have to get to the front of the building, which was really far away because there's a courtyard in the middle of the building. So we hauled butt to the other side of the building, looking like ridiculous freaks. And we get there as they shut the doors. We tried to convince the dude to let us in anyways because we were just barely past 4:30 but to no avail. We saw no Great Hall and once again my dreams were shattered. He did inform us that the actual filming didn't happen there, it was just inspiration for what the Great Hall looks like so that shattered my dreams a tad less, but it still was such a disappointment.
By this time, we had nothing else we really wanted to do except food. There is a pub called The Eagle and Child and C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien would go there and chat so after walking across town, we ate there. This other American kid was there and he wanted to talk to us for quite some time, but he was a little too enthusiastic for my taste. I mean super nice, but way too excited to be there. It made for some humorous moments though.
On our trip home, they brought around a trolley through the train where you could buy food. Can you say Hogwarts Express even more!! It was great.
Ok so Thursday. Not a ton to tell. We had class as usual and then I just kind of hung around and I think I may have taken a short nap before dinner. After dinner, we had a group event to see "As You Like It" at the Globe. We had pretty crappy seats compared to the last time we went to the Globe. But it was still good. I didn't like this play quite as much as I liked the first Shakespeare I went to, but I didn't hate it and it's just a lot of fun to see a play in that sort of setting. That's basically the extent of the happenings of Thursday.
Friday, Tara, Hannah and I got up early to run to Primark, which if I haven't talked about before, is an incredibly cheap department store. Tara and I needed to return some things and we wanted to get there before the lines got insanely crazy. After Primark, we went over the the theater where Phantom of the Opera plays to see if we could get tickets and where we met up with Amy. We couldn't get cheap ones because they don't do any discounts so we're going to try to get the cheap ones on a weekday. This is the play I want to see the most, so I really want it to somehow work out, but I also don't want to pay 40+ pounds to see it. After this little escapade, we went back to the Globe to do a tour that group had planned out. It was an interesting tour, but probably not something I would have done if it wasn't already planned as part of our school stuff. They didn't really tell us anything too interesting about the Globe and a lot of the stuff they showed us were things I had already seen on my own. We did get to see part a practice of one of the other plays, which was sweet. After, we decided to get tickets for the play because the standing seats are only 5 pounds and we thought it would be a cool experience plus see an interesting play for way cheap. It's not for a couple of weeks though. Then we went and finished one of the walks we had started for our walks class and did another walk after that. We're trying to get them finished. Even though they are interesting and take us through parts of town we wouldn't normally go in, they are pretty time consuming. We then went home for dinner and Tara, Hannah and I went to Charing Cross Road (aka bookstore road). We went through some of the smaller stores I hadn't been in. I love them because they have all these cool antique books you could never find in the states. There were so many I want to buy but then I realize that it's just not practical to buy them because I would never really do anything with them. Our trip home after checking out the bookstores was a little crazy. We weren't paying very close attention and missed our stop by quite a few stops and then had to navigate our way back through a few different lines. It was ridiculous but we were also laughing histarically the whole time.
I realized that I completely forgot to mention a pretty important part of our visit to Cambridge earlier this week. Brother and Sister Tanner (like the Sister Tanner that served in the General Relief Society and the General Young Women presidency's) went to the chapel with us. They were in town visiting for a couple of days because Brother Tanner had to talk at something. They are getting ready to serve as mission president and wife in Brazil. It was so cool to have them there. She is such a nice lady.