Saturday, June 28, 2014

Abingdon 24-27th June, 2014

When we arrived in Abingdon we were certainly noticed. On our first pass through town we noticed that there were moorings with a ring but it was right on a bend so our aft would have stuck out into the river. We decided to look at moorings on the other side of the bridge

Picturesque riverside scene with the spire of St Helens Church
Abingdon Bridge built 1416
but there were no rings or bollards and I haven't perfected "the hitting the pole in the ground and tying up" technique yet so Kevin did a u turn in the middle of the river and we went back to try the mooring on the bend. This once again necessitated a u turn. Fortunately just as we arrived a boat load of Aussies were just about to move out so we managed to get their spot. This meant we were far enough off the bend that nothing stuck out into the river. Many free bankside moorings have a time limit of 24 hours after which you are meant to move on or pay a fee. In Abingdon you are allowed to stay for 5 nights free of charge. This encourages boaters to stay longer in town and frequent the many businesses. We decided to stay for 3 nights and, instead of taking the boat to Oxford, catch a bus.
County Hall and Museum
Ruins of the Abbey
Abingdon is an historian's dream. Archaeological digs have found evidence of dwellings in Abingdon dating back to 3900BC. The County hall in the centre of town has a museum which shows the history of Abingdon as well as a small MG car museum (originally built in Abingdon). The Abbey and St Helens church both date back to the 10th Century and the bridge in town was constructed in 1416. Unfortunately the Abbey didn't survive King Henry VIII's reign and during the dissolution of the Catholic Church the abbey was taken down stone by stone and transported to London to augment building works there. All that remains of the abbey are some ruins of out buildings and a memorial garden that contains the outline of the doomed abbey.
East St Helens Road contains some of the most original buildings in the town including the Kings Head and Bell pub.
The Great Hall Christchurch College AKA Hogwarts Dining Hall
Christchurch and College Oxford
Just a short bus ride away is the university town of Oxford. We hopped off the bus at Christchurch college and wandered through the grounds and buildings. For those of you who are Harry Potter fans the Great Hall at Christchurch is the Hogwarts dining room. Wandering around Oxford is incredible. It is hard to believe that there are so many amazing buildings all in the one place. The Bodlean library
Bridge of Sighs
and Radcliffe Camera, the "bridge of Sighs"
Bodlean Library
(not really sure why this is in Oxford), St Mary's church, and a plethora of other colleges all evoke a sense of unimaginable (for Australians)  history and a sense of tradition. There were many students wandering around in uniform so we stopped one and asked him about the tradition. He said that as it was exam time they had to wear these uniforms to enter the exam room. What we didn't realise at the time was that he was on his way to his exam that was about to start in 15 minutes - nothing like adding to his stress!! 

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