Saturday, March 6, 2010

Women's Varsity Match in Oxford

Made it to Oxford for the first time to catch the Women's Varsity rugby match. Going to Oxford after a year and half in Cambridge is a bit strange, it seems like an alternate-universe version of Cambridge. For example, the towns use the exact same street signs in terms of size and font, but Cambridge's a are black on white and Oxford's are white on black. The universities are set up in a very similar fashion, with colleges running the show and having many old, exclusive buildings. The colleges have such similar names it seems like a joke. Six have the exact same names, and then there are Magdalen and Magdalene, St. Catherine's and St. Catharine's, St. Edmund Hall and St. Edmund's College, and Queens' College and The Queens' College. You get the idea, the places almost go out of their way to seem different despite being almost exactly the same. Unfortunately we couldn't actually see very many because, like in Cambridge, they limit entrance into most colleges to students only.
There are some differences though. First is the river, the Isis, as seen above. Unlike at Cambridge the river doesn't figure prominently into the layout of town, it misses the center and there isn't much built along it.The city overall is about 17% less charming than Cambridge. Besides the river, the main streets are pavement and not cobblestone, and they're wide and straight. Not nearly as memorable as the crooked little streets of Cambridge.
I did happen by chance upon the Stanford House, and chatted with a student there who's doing a year abroad from Stanford. Very strange to see Stanford being involved in such an old place.
The match went very well for Cambridge, with the team taking a 25-0 lead at half time and carrying that home as the final score.
Here we are supporting our (American) friend Talia, the captain of the Cambridge team. If that flag looks familiar, yes, it's the same one from the hockey game last week. That flag has been busy spreading freedom all over this country.
It's a long bus ride to Oxford but it was great to support Talia and get a chance to see a small bit of Oxford. I will have to return some time and spend a little more time seeing the place.

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