I was in the UK in Christmas. It was more of a social visit than a vacation. I did minimal touristy stuff. Yet to my surprise, the UK is very different than what I would have pictured.
As their former colonized, I had mixed feelings when I stepped on the English soil. Was I actually coming back “home”? I am from Hong Kong, which, out of the numerous Former colonies of the Great Britain, is one of the (or only?) few colonized who are strangely affectionate towards their colonizer. Yet due to the BNO gate incident, most Hong Kong people feel the UK has abandoned them utterly. Nonetheless, I am happy I could blend in, mostly thanks to my RP accent.
I stayed at the suburb outside of London at my friend’s. If you do not have a car, you are pretty much dead. Of course you can try using your feet,
it will be a very good way to lose weight, or to step in goo.Transport outside to other cities or towns will mainly be train, and the fare really
hurt my bank account. Later my friend, who worked near Cambridge and escaped that hell hole (As he put it) by coming back to HK, told me that the fare was actually cheap! They do pay engineers handsomely in the UK right?
Also the seats in the train are not as wide as I would expect. Even the seats in Hong Kong trams are bigger than those. UK people must be in shape.
Because of my limited budget and the unforgivingly short daylight duration in winter, most of my days in the UK were spent on my PS vita. Then my friend asked me if I wanted to go to Oxford. I never thought about actually going until my ex-Boss recommended it to me. And it turned out to be the best moment I had in the UK.
10:00 am // Oxford train station
I was lucky that it was a sunny beautiful morning when I arrived, other than all the arresting cold and wet weather you usually see in the UK during winter. Maybe since it was near the Christmas, the train station was packed with far east Asians (Very sure they are Chinese from the Mandarin) hurrying back home with luggage of all kinds. I wonder if they had packed the whole wardrobe in.
I think to most people (not the British of course), Oxford would just mean the famous university (or the press?). In fact it is a very lovely town. Well, a town full of pilgrims for Harry Potter.
Aiming for the Botanic garden to the east of the Campus, I arrived at the Faculty of Theology.
10:25 am // Divinity School
Above is the Divinity School at Oxford, the oldest surviving building built for teaching purpose. It was mainly purposed for theology. Although not used for teaching anymore, Divinity school is still offering degrees by the Faculty of Theology. I am wondering if since it was built in the medieval time that the hall is not massive, actually quite a bummer in terms of the size.
Of course now, it is Harry Potter’s ward. Divinity School is the Hospital Wing in Hogwarts in the movie.It certainly helps the tourism.
By the way, you do have to pay to get into the Hall (Someone please tell me if you had to prior to the “Age” of Harry Potter). I believe it was just 1 or 2 GBP. Whether it is worth it or not is really up to you. I love medieval buildings, especially the fine ornate ceiling, so no complaint from me.
Leaving the Divinity School behind, I arrived at the Science Museum, but it was closed during my visit, so I turned to the Bodleian Library. I really wished I could gain access to the book collection.
11:15 am // Bodleian Library
The staff at the library was very nice to ask if I was a student. I said no and she continued to asked intently if I was associated with any university or institution. Unfortunately I am just one nobody from a former fishing village.Hell I did get something interesting from the gift shop. Okay I think I am gonna stop here for now. Next time I shall show you more about the Botanic Garden, the beautiful Christ Church and where to get taco in Oxford.
Next: Christ Church