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“So it begins.” –Tolkien

“Not all those who wander are lost.” — also Tolkien

6:30am this morning my flight landed at Heathrow airport. Pretty uneventful (thankfully). I went through customs, collected my bag, proceeded to the Oxford X70 coach, paid for my ticket, sat down. An hour later I was walking along High Street towards the main entrance of Brasenose College.

I collected my key from the porter, crossed the Old Quad, 

walked around Deer Quad

and into New Quad and towards my staircase. Half an hour later I was in my single dorm room, unpacked and ready to shower when I heard the familiar voice of my advisor just outside. I peeked out my head, greeted her enthusiastically, then proceeded to get cleaned up and figure out the internet connection. By noon I was ready for lunch, which wasn’t served until 1. I ate with the professors (yayyy adults!) in Brasenose Hall, under the protection of a quite ithyphallic wooden unicorn (NSFW otherwise I’d post a pic, but you can always google it).  After lunch, my advisor showed me a bit around (I hadn’t been to Oxford in 17 years) as we made our way to Blackwell Book Store (and went straight upstairs towards the Classics section, naturally). We found my advisor’s recently published book right there in the shelf, and so of course she posed for the camera!

I saw what looked like a fantastic book by Robin Lane Fox called “Travelling Heroes”, but it was too thick (and expensive) to purchase. Read a review here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/nov/08/greeks-travelling-heroes-review.

So I left to stretch my still jet-lagged legs as I took in some of the sights of Oxford. And boy did I walk. I came back (2 hours later) tan! In England! Whoa.  Cornmarket St., down George St. and all the way around until I cut through Pembroke St. towards St. Aldate’s

and crossed that to walk along Christ Church (where they filmed some of the Harry Potter dining hall scenes)

I took advantage of the lovely ‘high of 71 and sunny’ weather and walked along the Meadow towards the Botanic Gardens, through the rose garden out front (stopped to sniff a few), and down Iffley Rd. I caught the middle of a tennis camp at Christ Church Sports Ground (grass court!), and then decided to double back and head home before it possibly rained (hmmm still no rain). Stopped on the Magdalen Bridge to capture a scenic view:

No one was trying to punt with these boats, but I sure saw some failed attempts earlier. I hear it’s a lot harder than it looks!

And now it’s time to relax a little before we are ‘seated’ for our 3-course dinner, again in Brasenose Hall. I started this by nursing some newly purchased dark chocolate (Cadbury Bournville!) and Skype-ing with my parents! I have a feeling I’ll sleep early and well tonight.