Oxford into Wales

Yesterday, after two long days full of walking, we travelled by train to the city of Oxford.   We visited several of the thirty-eight colleges in Oxford taking many pictures of the beautiful architecture.  We were also able to visit two locations where they filmed scenes from the “Harry Potter” films including  “The Sorcerers Stone” and “The Goblet of Fire”.  From there, we went punting (being chauffeured on a flat bottom boat down a river).  While on the boat, we constantly took pictures of ducks, which followed us everywhere.   After punting, we travelled by train back to London where we then had dinner at a Turkish restaurant.  After we finished eating, we ended our day with a performance of “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Globe Theatre.   The performance was spectacular, and even though many of us had aching feet from all of the walking we had been doing, standing as groundlings at the theatre was truly an experience to remember.
– Lauren and Kristen

Julia at Tintern Abbey
Stefan and Mr. Stout at Tintern Abbey

Today, we began our journey to Wales with our  Scottish driver Fergie. After a few hours of catching up on sleep, we went to the ruins of Tintern Abby where we lunched and read a poem by William Wordsworth that he wrote atop the hill overlooking the Abbey. This was followed by some more driving until we finally reached the place that was the highlight of the day for many: Dylan Thomas’ boathouse in Laugharne. We walked along a cliff and saw the estuary and distant hills that inspired so many of Thomas’ works. After touring the actual boathouse where he lived, we went to a marsh to read two of his poems, including the famous “Fern Hill”, which he wrote at his boathouse. Our afternoon concluded by visiting Dylan Thomas’ grave and taking a walk after checking into our hotel. Soon we will cap off the day with a nice dinner at our hotel, The Ivy Bush.
– Harrison

Tintern Abbey

This evening, after several of us had taken a lovely walk through the town surrounding The Ivy Bush, we took to dinner all together. While leaving the dining hall, we heard a soft but lovely sound wafting through the corridor. Curiosity overwhelmed the entire group,  so we wandered down the hallway to find a set of double doors and a room filled with people. At the front of the room we saw a group of men dressed in tuxedos, producing one of the loveliest sounds I think I’ve ever encountered. We parked ourselves in the hallway, hoping to catch a few songs, but unfortunately someone shut the doors on us and we were not able to hear anything. After returning to the lobby area disappointed that we would not be able to hear the beautiful music, we commenced some games in which we had to define various British terms that Mr. Stout had accumulated throughout the course of our trip. To our delight, the men that we had heard singing down the hall came to the lobby to find us. They told us that they wanted to sing for us and were sorry that we had not been able to hear the tail end of their performance. Overjoyed, we gathered around in chairs and on the floor to listen to their music. They were absolutely stunning, to say the least. They sang a Welsh hymn, with English words, as well as a beautiful tune, which regretfully I don’t know many details about.  After chatting with the members of their group for a bit after their impromptu performance, we thought it might be a good idea to return the favor. 5 Harbor Blues gathered to come up with a song that we might sing for them in return. Lauren and Kristen Muller, Siena D’Addario, Radhika Mattoo, and I chose to sing I’ve Just Seen a Face by the Beatles, as well as Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey Rae. Although slightly handicapped due to our small number, we got an encouraging response from the group and the various audience members from their performance who chose to stay and listen. The experience was incredible because it was quite literally an international music exchange, and for many of us, the highlight of the evening.

Group at Thomas' Boathouse
Oxford into Wales

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