First Impressions of Oxford

I flew out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at around 9:30 the night of September 29.  It was difficult, leaving behind my fiancee, friends and family.  Nonetheless, my little trip got off to a great start.  At the desk of the airline I was asked if I would prefer a window or aisle seat.  I responded window.  As it turns out, that was a good choice – when I got onto the plane I discovered that I was sitting in the aisle that contained the emergency exit and therefore had a great deal of leg room!  This, as you might imagine, was invaluable on a night flight.

The plane arrived at Gatwick airport just outside of London at 9:30 (British time) on the morning of September 30.  Although it took some time to get through the baggage retrieval, immigration officer, and find the bus to take me to Oxford, everything happened without a hitch.

The bus was a direct service from Gatwick to Oxford.  I had forgotten from previous travel how long it takes to get to Oxford from London (longer from Gatwick I suppose).  Britain has a great deal of very beautiful farmland, which I got a small taste of while on the bus.  Our first stop was at a bus station in a suburb of Oxford – nothing special really, it was just off the highway and looked very much like a modern bus station one might find in a suburb such as Brampton.  Very quickly the scenery changed.  

As soon as we began to enter Oxford the architecture became unbelievably beautiful.  Even regular houses built along the road have a certain charm that is difficult to articulate – I don’t think even a photo would really do it justice.

Finally, my stop was called (High Street).  I exited the bus and was confronted by this image:

 

Queen's College

Queen's College

It immediately struck me: I am actually going to Oxford!

It had been a little while since I had been in Oxford and did not have a map.  I dragged my luggage in the direction that seemed to have more people (knowing that my college is in the centre of town) and started to walk without knowing where I was going.

I continued to walk along the Hight Street – a shopping street that is very busy, until I found a small map mounted to a board on the street.  I found the cross streets of Turl and Market (the location of my college) and discovered that it was nearby.  According to the map, I needed to walk down a small alley (pictured), which led me to the Radcliffe Camera (also pictured).

Alley

Radcliffe Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I continued along the side of the camera and bent around it to the left.  I found Brasenose Lane, which, according to the map, turns into Market street – one of the streets alongside my college.  

My next experience is difficult to describe – it was like a dream.  It felt surreal to be walking along an amazing little road on my way to what is going to be my new home!

Brasenose Lane

Brasenose Lane

 

Brasenose Lane

Brasenose Lane

I arrived at the end of the lane and was not sure which way to go.  My view to the left was:

 

Turl Street

Turl Street

And to the right:

 

Jesus College

Jesus College

Jesus College, my new home!!

I entered the front gate of the college and was greeted by the porter.  He gave me a small pile of papers to go through, and a keycard giving me entrance to the various entrance points around the college (all very similar in look to the one you see above).

I had a great deal of questions regarding what my accommodation might be like.  Many people had told me many things and I really was not sure what to expect.  Well, as it turns out, I had nothing to worry about – as a matter of fact, my new residence is one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived!

 

My Room

My Room

Yes, I have a fireplace!

Yes, I have a fireplace!

The view from my room, looking north

The view from my room, looking north

The view from my room looking south

The view from my room looking south

All in all, if my first impressions of Oxford are any indication, I believe that my time spent here is going to be some of the best times of my life!
Matthew