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The brains of this operation had to attend a conference in Oxford, so I had the days to myself to explore and photograph. The first day was a little overcast, warm, and very humid. The second day was clear, warm, and very humid. Old man's disease was slowing me down quite a bit during the early part of this trip. I was doing better by Thursday, but Wednesday the 7th was a struggle.

I am an incureable steeple climber. I always look for the tallest spire in town, buy a ticket and climb the stairs. The Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin has a wonderful 13th century tower with 127 steps and a wonderful spiral staircase that opens to the best view in town. I went up both days.

Oxford Castle is the original building in the region and construction began in the 11th century. After serving its time as a fortress it was converted to a prison in the 18th century. It continued housing prisoners until it closed in 1996. The tour is informative, some of the stories gruesome. The mound next to the castle used to be part of the original compound, and the 54 foot deep well in the tunnel at the top of the hill is interesting.

On Thursday afternoon I found myself on the south end of the old town at a bridge over the Thames (yes, the same one that flows through London a hundred miles downstream). The sign advertizing a 'River Experience Cruise' apparently had my name on it. We cruised past the boat houses that house the boats (hmmm....) that university students race on the river. That would be something to see. Since this was the first week of the term nobody was out on the river.

On my way back I just stumbled across the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments - a museum devoted entirely to musical instruments, old, new, historic, weird. They're all there. It's quite a deal. I didn't get to see the whole thing because part of it was being re-structured following a special exhibition.

That evening, the last evening of the conference, we went to dinner in the Balliol College dining hall. The event was billed as being held in the Hogwarts dining hall (Harry Potter). I was disappointed by the lack of floating candles, but otherwise it was quite cool!

LR didn't 'bum around' Oxford. She was in conference and only took these images - LR


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