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Friday, July 22, 2011

Oxford: Rose Lemonades and Harry Potter are Everywhere

It's been one week since I arrived in London. Today was my first visit out of London to Oxford. This was great because 1.) I adore trains and 2.) Oxford is the ultimate university town (and I adore university towns). This trip was particularly relevant because I had a group project in my Organization of Information course last fall about the Oxford Libraries. To the Bodelian Library we went.

Sign for Bodleian Library.
Unfortunately, our charming Hungarian tour guide didn't know much about the cataloging system of the books that are kept in Duke Humfrey's Reading Room. What I did learn is that the books were originally chained to the wall, spine facing in, with the pages facing outwards with a printed number on them. Accession numbers, that is. Now the chains on the books are gone, but if you try to remove a book from the shelf, an alarm will go off! How they managed to alarm the books and shelving in such a manner, I'm not sure. The Duke Humfrey library is also where they filmed the library scenes in Harry Potter.

Christ Church, which is a very prestigious college and chapel, turned up more HP references. Our rather wry, distinguished tour guide in a bowler hat showed us the places around the grounds where Chris Columbus and his crew filmed the first Harry Potter movie, the dining hall that inspired the film, places where Professor McGonagall stood, and so on. As usual, the Brits know how to make their historical tours completely fascinating and funny.
Radcliffe Camera, University of Oxford. Undergrad reading rooms inside.

Bowler-hat tour guide at Christ Church. Can this hat trend be adopted further?

A staircase in Christ Church that was filmed in Harry Potter.

Inspiration for HP dining hall, Christ Church.

This summer, I've had this thing where I make a new flavor of homemade lemonade every week: mixed berry, mojito, strawberry, blueberry peach. But tonight in the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, I found the new lemonade love of my life, Fentiman's rose lemonade.  Made with ginger and rose essential oils, it was so refreshing. Joey let me try some of his Pimm's cocktail, too, and that was equally as delicious. Whoever said that British food is lacking lied, because everything I put in my mouth here tastes better and fresher than the US version. Even small things like yogurt, Sprite, and jam taste better. I'm not even trying that hard to have a foodie experience. Most days I buy the cheapest item on the menu or the sale items at the grocery store, and each day I'm surprised by how good things taste. Way to go, modern-day British food system. My bowler hat is tipped to you.

Rosie Rex loves her namesake lemonade.

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