Friday, July 15, 2011

Mind the Gap 6 (London & England Trip)

Now in Reading for my wyfe's reunion, staying on the university campus. In the morning, went by bus ("coach") to visit Waddeson Manor, "a country house in the village of Waddesdon, in Buckinghamshire, England. The house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898)", sayeth Wikipedia, source of all wisdom. Except to call this place a "house" is like calling a Rolls Royce a car. It puts, say, the White House to shame when it comes to priceless art objects, historic furniture, a bazillion rooms, and formal lawns and gardens. And all so the Baron could throw lavish weekend parties for the cream of society. A little overwhelming. Not what I would build for myself if I was a zillionaire. Give me a Manhattan pied-à-terre and an island cottage.

In the afternoon, stopped at Oxford. Visited the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. Lots of naked Greek statues and Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Took a bus tour of all the colleges ("Oxford is many colleges, not just one") and Gothic facades. Then ate dinner at the Eagle & Child pub, which is apparently where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien hung out back in the day. Nice place to visit, Oxford, but I only feel a little bit smarter now.

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