Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well! Now that the semester is coming to an end, my schedule has been super hectic with having to complete final exam papers and projects. Nonetheless, I’m still making some time to explore London and the greater UK.
Last Saturday, my friend and I took a train to Oxford – a town just an hour’s train ride away from London known for being home to the best university in the entire world. Oxford is interesting in that it has a mix of both traditionally historic and modern buildings (including an outlet mall!). Once we arrived, we walked around the various markets, including the food market (where we got some free samples of chicken and cheese) and the famous Christmas market. At the Christmas market there were beautiful artisan stalls selling all sorts of goods: fudge, hot chocolate, hand-made wreaths, wooden ornaments, and cider. After enjoying the twinkling lights and vibrancy of the market, we made our way to the Oxford University campus. As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford boasts some unique achievements, including hosting the first-ever coffee house in England and having the largest bookshop in the world (Blackwells Bookshop)! My friend and I walked inside some of the buildings and admired the magnificently decorated interior. Seeing Oxford makes me want to potentially apply there one day for graduate school!
Next, we made our way to Oxford Castle. When William the Conqueror invaded England and won the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Oxford Castle was marked by the Normans as the ideal place for a motte-and-bailey castle. Although we didn’t make it in time for the tour, we got to walk up the castle hill and get amazing views of the city! Finally, we ended the day by enjoying some miso ramen at a local restaurant before catching our train back to London.
On Sunday, I decided to stay in London to check out the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum and take a solo walking tour of the Chelsea neighborhood. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.8 million objects, books and archives that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewelry, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theater and performance. I explored nearly all of the exhibitions – my favorites were the fashion exhibition which immerses visitors in the transition of tastes in style and the European wing which featured collections of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design. Some of the artifacts I enjoyed looking at the most were the elaborately decorated parlor interior, beautiful afternoon tea sets, and a gold clock. After exploring the V&A Museum, I walked around Chelsea and took pictures of the lively streets full of cafes and bookshops.
That marks the end of my 13th blog – thanks so much for taking the time to read it! This week is my final week at NYU London, so I’m dreading having to leave all the special people I’ve met and places I’ve seen. Once I’m done with my final essays, I’m going to spend some time visiting the Christmas markets at Spitalfields and Leadenhall, so I’ll keep you updated on what I see in my last blog!