Last summer I spent two months working in Oxford. Although I had been in England some three years already by that time, Oxford was a city I hadn’t yet seen. Yet, later is definitely better than never, and I took a liking to the city already during my first visit there: on a sunny day in March when the magnolia outside the University Church on the High Street was in full bloom below blue skies.
The main thing that the city of Oxford is known for is that it is home to the University of Oxford, a university of world renown. The university is the oldest in the English-speaking world, and the city itself is testament to the near 1000-year history of the University as the two have expanded in tandem — the end result being a city with a university that is seamlessly integrated into it, with university buildings lying scattered throughout the centre of the city, making every visit to Oxford a visit to both the city and the university as there is no separating the two.
Being an old town with an age-long architectural legacy and tradition, there is a dream-like quality to the city: with towers and pinnacles that scrape the skies; with fantastic masonry that adorns even the most unprepossessing of corners and alleyways; and with gilt details that glisten in the sunlight. Oxford is therefore sometimes fondly referred to as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, following its description as such in a 19th century poem. Doubtless the flattering description has been popularised because it resounds so well with the overall character of the city.
Following my initial visit to Oxford in early spring, I didn’t return to the city until the peak of summer. By early autumn when my time was up, I was very sad to leave as Oxford had stolen a little piece of my heart. At present I don’t know what the upcoming year has to bring (I am in the midst of moving to Cambridge), but I have a feeling that one year from now I will be back in Oxford — and more permanently than before. : )
Have you ever been to Oxford?