Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 30 - Oxford, Dragoman Camp Green, and on to London

It was an early morning, rising at 5AM and departing Moreton-in-March at 7AM.  We drove the short distance to Oxford where we struggled for about an hour finding a parking spot that allowed us to stay longer than an hour.  It was a bright and sunny day and the city center around the university was bustling with activity.  Lots of tourists, students, and vendors all getting ready for the day kept us entertained as we waited for our guide to arrive.

Our talented private guide for our walk around the university is a graduate student from the Punjab District of India.  Pleasant, polite, extremely well-spoken and knowledgeable, we walked the historic city streets, wandered around the campus, and went into several buildings.

Harry Potter (and just about every other movie ever shot on location) was included in his talk...that is until we told him we were more interested in the history of the university than in all of the movies filmed was a great tour.

There are bookstores and curio shops everywhere and most have some type of Harry Potter item.  Hysterical.  So many asian students, each wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt.

One of the oldest FAIR TRADE shops in the world.

Oldest building in Oxford.  A church.

One of the many "colleges."  Note:  At Oxford a college is not a learning institution.  It is a bed and breakfast where ALL first year students must live.  After their first year, they must find alternative accommodations on their own.  The colleges are a fee based other words, a way to may MONEY...not further education.  The one below is the Jesus College where Lawrence of Arabia attended.

Sculling (rowing) schedule.

Most photographed building in the university.  A study hall for reading books...and ONLY reading books.  So many rules.

Church of St. Mary.

When in Narnia, the little girl (don't remember her name) went rhough the wardrode and ended up on the street.  Here in this doorway.

Amazing architecture.

The Bodleian Library.  There are 106 buildings that are part of the library.  All over the city.  When a student needs a book, they order it online and it is delivered to their college for the time they have reserved it.  The university has a system that rivals DHL and FEDEX.

The School of Divinity.  Look at the hard carved limestone ceiling.  All of the intials in the keystones represent donors who spend a lot of money in the past to have them there for histoy AND status.

Where Bill Clinton "did not inhale."

Another fine "college."

Leaving Oxford we encountered a great deal of traffic driving halfway across England to get to Suffolk.  What was to be a two hour drive turned into four.  Arriving at the Dragoman HQ, affectionately called "Camp Green" we were met by our dear friend Davey Petts.  Davey was my driver for four months on the Silk Road six years ago and we have remained in touch, visited a couple of times since then, and he will be our driver for our private charter in Nepal and India next year.

For the next several hours we got a private tour of the camp, visited Dave's World, a small plot of land he has landscaped, cultivated on his own...complete with chickens, and lives.  He is quite a guy and so much fun.

In the garage we saw them putting together a new truck.  They purchase used cargo trucks and take them apart, build new cabins, and convert them for off-road adventuring.  We had lunch, toured the whole facility, and met a lot of the more than 40 members of the staff.  Dave is not in charge of training new drivers and tour managers.  He has his hands full.

At the end of the day we headed for London.  Our two hour drive once again grew into several hours as we were stuck on the motorway for well over an hour from an accident well ahead.  Once we arrived in London we quickly found our apartment which will be HOME for the next eight days.  It was quite an event unloading the car for the last time, finding things we had forgotten we had stowed away, and getting settled in.

It was a pasta night (you all know what that means by now) and we enjoyed a home cooked meal at 9:30 PM before collapsing in to bed for a nice long sleep.  Tomorrow it all starts up once again with returning the car and heading over to Buckingham Palace.

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