Monday, March 20, 2006

Panoramic Earth goes to Oxford

Radclife Camera, Oxford
There are few places in England with the reputation of Oxford, so it was only fitting that created a tour of this famous city. The whole area is steeped in history, and with the city centre so well preserved it feels like a step back in time. Naturally most people come here to have a look at the University buildings, and try to understand how University life here runs. It is notable however, that the bigger and more famous the college, the more they will charge to allow you to take a peek inside their sacrosanct quads and chapels.

The colleges are so old that most of the lawns here have been manicured since before the USA existed as either a British colony or an independent nation. It is home to a number of famous writers including the author of Lord of the Rings, J.R.Tolkien and one of his contemporaries, C.S.Lewis, who wrote the Narnia series as well as numerous books on Christianity including the Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce and others.

Oxford is also know as the town of dreaming spires. We have managed to get skyline shots from four different lookout points, including Carfax Tower and the spire of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which looks out onto the Radcliffe Camera and grounds of All Souls College (though this took over 30 minutes of waiting for a squall to pass and is not one likely to be repeated quickly).

Other sights to look out for on this tour include Magdalen Bridge, which becomes the focus for the May Morning celebrations, where students, often still inebriated from the previous night, will scale any barriers the authorities may dare to erect and hurl themselves into the shallow waters of the River Cherwell. Every year there is the inevitable tally of sprained and broken limbs, but this barely seems to dent the enthusiasm of the jumpers at all. would like to thank the Oxford Daily Info for permission to use their map as the basis for this tour.

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