So what does one do on the first morning in Oxford? Breakfast, of course!
The Head of the River does breakfast well. The dining area is lovely with both pleasant seating areas with views of the river and a breakfast bar.
We enjoyed the full English. I have nothing recorded in my journal about having lunch so I'm thinking this massive breakfast must have held us well!
Then we headed into the center of town and stopped first at St. Mary the Virgin Church.
This beautiful structure had quite an un-beautiful past. It was the site of where several Protestant martyrs, including Archbishop Thomas Cramner, were tried.
If the history of religion in England and the torture of the Protestant martyrs is a subject that interests you (it fascinates me but I'm not terribly well versed on it), I suggest skipping over to Mike's post at A Bit About Britain HERE. He has a great post on this and my time at St. Mary's was the richer for having read it.
And no, we didn't climb to the tower. But I hear the view is spectacular! Inside was lovely enough.
We moved on, hoping to stroll through the Bodlian library, which is quite like the Library of Congress in scope. That's it on the left. However the only way one could tour was to take the official tour and neither pocketbooks or feet felt so inclined. (They did, however, have a very nice gift shop. I do love a good gift shop!)
The architectural detail in places like this is so beautiful.
Loads of gates from which to peer, wondering what is on the other side!
The library has a large courtyard. If you look at that arch, there is a booth where one could get tickets to tour the library.
This plaque was also in that alcove. I took the photo below for Rick who is interested in the subject of slavery and the transport of slaves to the West Indies, where Acklin Island is.
Academic cities fascinate me. You see such interesting people. Trust me, I never see this in Lansing, Michigan!
Across the courtyard from the Bodlian, we also admired Radcliffe Camera, a new-classical style building that houses the Radcliffe Science Library. It was built in 1737 (to 1749) and is quite impressive.
But we couldn't go in here, either!
Then we found the beautiful Bridge of Sighs.
But then we hit the mother lode -- the fabulous Blackwell's Book Shop.
Blackwell's is a terrific bookstore, founded in 1879. The Oxford shop is its first and flagship location. Although though it's facade didn't look particularly large, it was surprisingly big inside. There was lots of good browsing and we both made purchases!
While Rick was checking out music at Blackwell's music shop, I couldn't help but check out the pub next door called The White Horse.
It was the sign in front that called me, as it had the fellow in the photo above!
It has been in Morse, Lewis and Endeavour programs and I had to have a selfie with a sign!
My feet were pooping out so we passed up the Ashmolean museum (darn, but necessary). Instead, we had decided to do a river cruise in the afternoon and as we walked back toward the hotel before, we saw the Bate Musical Instrument museum.
It was fascinating -- loads of vintage instruments going back to the 1600s.
I was rather intrigued by some of the beautiful and interesting pianos, like this one...
And check out this detail from within the "lid" of one of the instruments. Gorgeous!
A music student was playing the harpsichord and he was making it sing, big time!
Rick chatted with him and an instrument builder, too.
Then it was time for the river on yet another gorgeous fall day. But more on that later!
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