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Update #3: A walk through Oxford

I’ve been remiss in posting updates, because I’ve gotten up every morning, had a cup of coffee, and gone off to read at some part of the Bodleian. There are seventeen Bodleian libraries, and after you apply for a reader’s card (none of the buildings are open to visitors), you have to do a computer search for the books you want, request them from the stacks (most of the Bodleian collection isn’t on open shelves), specify what reading room you want them delivered to (not all libraries deliver to all reading rooms), and then show up to collect them from the desk. You then can’t take them out of that particular reading room. So I’ve been lugging my laptop around from the Radcliffe Camera to the Old Bodleian Upper Reading Room to the New Bodleian Oriental Reading Room to the Oriental Institute…and in between stopping for cups of tea.

However, as this is my last day here, I chronicled my morning walk. (I was waiting for a sunny morning, which, as this is November in England, was hard to come by. But here we go. As always, click on any picture for a larger version.)

I started off from my hotel, the Old Parsonage, which is my favorite place to stay in Oxford; it has wonderful beds with huge plump soft pillows and duvets, and rooms that look out onto a central courtyard, and a VERY good restaurant (which does a spectacular tea–the goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches were particularly good yesterday).

I walked towards the University Parks, past Keble, which has the distinction of being the ugliest college in Oxford,

through the University Parks,

towards the Cherwell, which runs through Oxford.

I had to stop and take a picture of the sun on the Cherwell at dawn, another uncommon November sight.

Then I headed down the path,

past the cows (there are cows RIGHT outside the town on most sides of Oxford)

out of the park, and around to the High Street through North Oxford. Coming up on the High Street, you cross back over into the university part of town by Magdalen Bridge (here’s Magdalen Tower, on the right just over the bridge)

and then turn right on Catte Street to walk towards the Radcliffe Camera.

I’ve probably spent more time here than anywhere else, as the open-stack history books are mostly in the Upper Reading Room (which you’re not allowed to photograph). I do duck out for tea at the Vaults, a little half-underground restaurant right next to the Camera, where you can eat scones (if you’re British) or brownies with nuts (if you’re American) for staying power.

Just past the Camera is the entrance to the Old Bodleian, just off Brasenose Lane.

To get back to the hotel, I turned left onto Brasenose,

right onto Turl Street,

and right again onto Broad, where many of the college shops are.

That’s the Sheldonian up ahead on the right, as well as the Clarendon Building, and over on the left is the center of the Oxonian universe:

Past Blackwells I turned onto Parks Road (that’s Wadham College on the right),

cut through Lamb & Flag Passage, which goes past an ancient pub and comes out on Banbury Road,

walk past St. Giles, the church to which the Old Parsonage once belonged,

and come back to the Parsonage garden.

After that I drank a LOT of morning coffee. And now I’m heading off to finish up reading about ethnogenesis, which will sound MUCH more interesting in the final draft of Volume 2. I promise.