Harvard and Yale Model UN Tour - Day 2: Stanford University
15/01/2017: Day two of our tour was shaping to be another jampacked day, with a campus tour and many tourist attractions on our itinerary. To start the day, we split off into our own groups to grab a bite to eat around the Financial District of San Francisco, a condensed business area of the city known mainly for it’s high rise buildings. After breakfast, the whole group met back at the hotel to head off to our second campus tour of the trip, this time at Stanford University.
Entering Stanford is breathtaking, reaching a level of beauty I believe very few college campuses could achieve. As you walk toward the sandstone buildings, Californian palm trees arch overhead, allowing for the winter sun to cast a dappled, mesmerising light show on the pavement below. The beauty of the palm trees, however, is not be outdone by the sandstone buildings themselves. Standing in stark contrast to the blue Californian sky above and the lush green grass below, yet, somehow seeming perfectly at home in its surrounding environment.
Once we moved further onto the campus itself, we were met by two current Stanford University students, Lena and Hyun, who would be our tour guides for the day. We began by the main entrance, admiring the architecture, the interesting sculptures and the impressive displays of natural flora. Apparently there are 43,000 trees on the Stanford campus and over 800 different species of plants - even their mascot is a tree!
Continuing through the Stanford archways, we were led toward the astounding Memorial Church, located in the centre of the campus. Our tour guides described the church’s moving history to us, built by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her late husband, Leland Stanford. In front of the church, numbered tiles made of brass stood out among the sandstone and formed a line. We learned that these brass tiles are actually time capsules, filled with various unknown objects placed there by each year of Stanford graduates. The time-capsule tradition began in 1896 and since its beginnings only one capsule has ever been opened.
As Stanford is a massive campus, our tour guides walked us through about a quarter of the campus explaining which buildings held which subjects, each with their own quirks and interesting facts, too many to mention in a short blog post. Our tour guides explained that Stanford really is like it’s own town, and if you attend the college you rarely go off campus because it has absolutely everything you need. Our tour of Stanford was capped off with a quick browse through the Stanford bookstore where many of us who were swept off our feet by the beauty and history of the campus purchased Stanford branded items.
After the tour, we headed back to San Francisco to take in some more tourist attractions. We ended up at Pier 43 ½, a great vantage point of San Francisco, exposing us to the island of Alcatraz, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge. It was at Pier 43 ½ where we split up into groups, explored the surrounding areas and had a well-deserved lunch break. Because we were blessed with an amazing day, weather wise, we decided to hit the water and take a Bridge to Bridge boat tour while the sun set behind the city. The boat trip was a great way to see all of San Francisco, and get a closer look at The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, two of my favourite sights for the day.
Once the boat tour concluded we headed out to dinner, most people choosing to dine at Washington Square, however, the keen shoppers walked ahead to Union Square for the last time. After our busy day we all ended back at our hotel for a brief moment to relax and pack our bags ready for our early morning flight to New York City!
Stay tuned for our next blog post coming direct from the big apple!
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