Sunday, July 18, 2010
Yesterday we traveled to Stonehenge. We took the train from Oxford to Salisbury then caught a bus to Stonehenge. It was really amazing and we got the audioguides so we could listen to all the information regarding the world wonder. The funny thing is, most of the information included "we don't know why they did this..." or "we don't know how they got them here" or "we don't know what any of it means" so we didn't really learn much, but it was still super cool. There were tons of tourists and it was a pretty chilly day so we walked around once and headed back to Salisbury. the bus was cool and gave a really great tour of the city and we still had a little bit of time before our next train. We stopped at a little pub and enjoyed a pint of Stella and fish and chips, cuz hey! it's england after all. So then we headed to Bath and went to the site of ancient Roman baths. It was really impressive, but there were horrible, awful, no-good, tourists (i know i'm one, but i am very well-behaved) everywhere doing stupid things.
1. there was a middle-eastern man who kept going up to stone statues or rocks and trying to push them down! it was ridiculous and i was just shocked when i saw this! what is wrong with people?
2. There were about one million small children under the age of 2. So what did the parents do? give them audioguides and let them scream and run around! It was awful and the parents just acted like it was no big deal. Reallllllly got on our nerves.
3. there was a group of 6-8 high school girls from either Spain or Italy and in the middle of the museum-y, artifact-y section, they just start screaming and laughing and falling down and laying all over the artifacts! their teacher just looked at them and laughed! we shhhhed them several times and would have told on them if someone would have been around. It was just ridiculous, i don't even know how to explain it.
But, it was still a fun day-trip, albeit very exhausting!
Friday, July 16, 2010
We went up into the tower and down into the crypts and all kinds of fun stuff! Then we went to "The Eagle and Child" which is a pub in Oxford where CS Lewis and JR Tolkien met every week for 30 years during which they wrote most of their masterpieces. Then we headed to a Thai restaurant where we sat very close to a Dutchman and his Asian girlfriend. We had been talking for several minutes so I'm sure he was able to recognize we were American... but he started talking about how in most countries, there are tons of tourists that get taken advantage of. He referenced his daughter got on a camel, either in Thailand or Turkey, we can't remember, but when she got on, they told her she owed them money. He said "we have too much pride, we don't just pay for that and get taken advantage of... we're not American." and he said it in just the rudest tone! I was so offended and really wanted to say something but i just ate my sweet and sour duck and pad thai and got over it. Today we also went to the train station and purchased our tickets for Salisbury, which will bus us to Stonehenge! then we are headed to Bath to see the ancient Roman baths and a ton of other great sights! I'm so excited and really glad we chose to stay around here this weekend - we have already discovered so many places we hadn't found yet.
We have really been enjoying the delicious foods around us - last week we had Ben's COokies!! So delicious.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
In the background of this beautiful photo, besides the beautiful boy, is what is called "the quad." Now, I know where most of you went to school, but where I went, we didnt have a "quad." Sure, I'd heard about it on Clueless where Elton said "Mr. Hall, i left my Cranberry CD in the quad; i gotta go get it before someone snags it." And i assumed it was some sort of grassy knoll area where people hung out. But here? The quad is a beautifully-manicured rectangle (I guess quadrangle) of grass in the courtyard of our amazing college. However, you are not allowed to walk on it.... Ok, that was the quad's bio... now let me tell you a story.
So last night, we ate our delightful meal of lasagna and french fries (soooo good) and headed down to the college pub called Gertie's. There's a lovely woman who serves the alcohol and I love how she calls me "My Love" in her British accent. So we were down there watching the World Cup and just hanging out. After that we went to another pub called Turf Tavern, where there is a sign on the wall that says "Bill Clinton may not have inhaled here, but he sure did imbibe in other illegal activity here." Well, for some reason the British don't like having fun like we Americans do and the bar closed at 11! Ridiculous if you ask me. So we headed to King's Arms, which is your standard British pub, which closed at 12! Again, ridiculous. I need a good old-fashioned Buffalo Wild Wings or even a JC Cowboy's for crying out loud! So we headed to the Purple Turtle where we quickly learned it was Rocker/Goth night so we stuck extra close to the boys we brought and all made it out alive.
Now, during this whole evening, my friend John was just giving Jay the hardest time ever. Anything out of Jay's mouth was returned with a total smart-ass comment. I'm not going to lie, they were hilarious and the exchange between the two made me fall out of my chair I laughed so hard. But, Jay was getting pretty upset. and somewhere in the middle, they challenged each other to an arm-wrestling duel at 1230. So after we all ate at the kebab truck (which has lovely kebabs, hot dogs, hummus, fries, oh it's amazing), the two grown-ass, law-school-going, men get on the ground in Oxford and arm-wrestle! Jay lost and decided it was because John weighs "at least 40 more pounds and was cheating." It was a hoot. I didnt get any pictures, but if i can get my hands on one, you're sure to get a looksie at the madness!
So we head back to the college and by this time it's down to me, Hailey, David, Chris, Phil, Shira, and Sarra. NOw, i forgot to tell you that the quadrangle is currently under construction and has a wooden wall built all the way around the sides, with openings on the ends. So, obviously it isnt a big deal if we walk on it because they're the ones actually tearing it up! So for some reason, David (who is wearing sunglasses, a velvet blazer, jeans, and boots) and I decide we need to have a good old-fashioned footrace. I take off my purse, my cardigan, my scarf, and my flippie floppies and get down in the three-point stance. David (who by the way is about 6'0 and has a good 100 lbs on me) and I take off sprinting and pretty much tie both times. Then Hailey and Shira have a cartwheel race down the whole quad. Then Phil and I raced. Then Chris walked backwards while Hailey and Shira power-walked. Of course this whole time we're all shhhhh-ing each other because we know we'll get in trouble if we're loud. Lo and behold, here come 2 security guards who said "to use an English phrase, bugger off." So we left. Well, this morning, Chris made a comment in his class and his professor made a comment about everyone disrobing (ie- taking our sweaters and scarves off) and racing on the quad. He said that he almost yelled at us, but then thought it would be much funnier to just watch. So i can only imagine what our shenanigans looked like to our professor, but we had a stellar evening!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
We all met in the courtyard and then had a small orientation. After that, we had drinks in the "Deer Quad" and then dinner in some sort of tent, which was tomato basil soup, steak and potatoes, and a delicious dessert! We all may have had too much too drink because we felt it very appropriate to discuss any and all negative feelings toward a certain law professor to our other law professor! But, it was stll super fun. After that, we went to the pub below our college and our Oxford tour guides led us in resounding renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and the Boomer Sooner Chant. We had a really fun time and I had the Czech version of the Budweiser. Then we headed down the lane to the Purple Turtle bar where they played such classics as "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers and "Yeah" by Ursher. It was pretty amazing. Now I am back in my room and headed to bed so I can go grab my "free" breakfast that "I" already paid for(thanks Mom and Dad)!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
This is the beautiful courtyard at Brasenose College in Oxford. We are staying in this maze of a place and after we concluded our naps and showers, we headed out to scope our new land. As we went downstairs, we tried to retrace our steps from earlier, but I don't know if it was the jet lag or just the lack of common sense, but we were trapped! There are so many passageways and openings and we roamed around for awhile until someone finally helped us out. It's another one of those "ok, we managed to get around NYC subway system by ourselves, but we can't figure out how to get out of a courtyard?" It was ridiculous, but at least the sights are gorgeous!!
When you walk up the stairs, Hailey and I have our own little cubby hole; you open one door and find our two doors. So we're neighbors (this shocks you all I know) and we keep our Gchat open so we can talk to each other 10 feet away. So anyway, after we escaped the Courtyard of Doom (btw - apparently a lot of Harry Potter scenes were filmed here), we roamed around Oxford. There are some gorgeous churches and lovely shop-lined streets. We ate dinner at a nice little place and I had bangers and mash! i am taking full advantage of all culinary opportunities on this trip (which shocks you all i'm sure).
So, in short, this trip has been amazing, everything i get to see is amazing, but i do dearly miss my friends and family!
Thursday night we met up with some friends from home and went to a lovely French restaurant in the West Village called Tartine. It was a “Bring your own wine” place and they didn’t charge corking fees so we took full advantage. I had escargots, which were delicious! The last time I had some was in high school French class and they were really chewy and I almost choked. But, these were amazing. I also had a house salad, which was soooo delicious for what seems to be an ordinary dish. We hung out there for awhile, watched one of our friends get “iced,” then headed back to Union Square and went to a bar called Forum. One of our friends, Bryan, is studying at NYU this summer so we went back to check their dorm rooms out. We met the meanest total cliche' of a "New Yorker." He was an old bitter man working the front desk and yelled at us several times for 1) handing too many forms of ID and 2) signing on the wrong line. It was a hot mess, but luckily the hot dog vendor was right outside so I quickly forgot about it!
Friday morning we got up and around and headed to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It provided amazing views and was really really cool. Under the Bridge was a fantastic pizza shop that had a line that stretched a block. It was totally worth the wait as Hailey and I shared a pepperoni and garlic pizza and yummy Brooklyn root beer. We then went back to the apartment and packed a third bag. See, on KLM, if you have a bag over 50 lbs (mine was 18 over), you have to pay $150!!! But, if you bring a second bag, it’s only $55! So we gathered our heavy items and put them in a third suitcase, which was a real bitch to tote around JFK International, but so worth the cost. The airport is busy of course, and the only restaurant in our terminal is a Chili’s – ugh. But, we grabbed a beer to make us sleepy and a salad to make us skinny.
I had the BEST time in New York! I absolutely loved it there and would loooooove to move there! We will be back for a night and a day when we get back to the states in August, so hopefully we can do the 2 things we didnt get to do this week: 1) see the Empire State building; 2) eat a gyro from the street vendor. It doesnt take much to make us happy.