Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 5 - Rainy in Oxford

It's been a chilly, rainy day...perfect English weather! We caught the train at Paddington Station and rode to Oxford, where we were excited to explore all sights related to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. 

After booking a guided tour of the University (it's so vast it would be hard to tackle it on our own and know what we are seeing!), we went to The Eagle and Child for lunch. Stepping through the doors into this pub where Lewis, Tolkien, and the other Inklings met for lunch on Tuesdays for 23 years was almost a reverent experience. 

Past two small, wood-paneled rooms and the bar, a doorframe with a placard above naming "Rabbit Room" leads to a small room with two adjoinivng tables. We imagined the great men who sat alround these tables telling stories, debating theology, and drinking their "liquid lunch" (as the guidebook says).

After a hasty meal here, we met up with our tour guide and began our two-hour walking tour. Our guide took us to Bodleian Divinity School (fun fact: the room where they filmed the Harry Potter scene when Professor McGonagall teaches the students to dance for the Yule Ball); Queen College, and Wadham College, among other locations. 

Oxford is made up of 38 different colleges, with three dating back to the 1200s. They are each enclosed by walls and entered through a gate; some are open to the public. Some not. So, having a guide was very helpful. The three we saw were absolutely breathtaking, so imagining that x38 is mind-blowing.

After our tour she directed us to Magdalen College, where Lewis taught, and Merton College, where Tolkien taught. We walked through Magdalen's grounds, seeing the building where Lewis taught and walking the path along River Cherwell where he walked. It was here he came to faith in Christ. We didn't enter Merton as it was nearing 5pm, but peered inside its gates. Along the way we passed the home where Tolkien lived his last year. 

(The Cloister and tower of Magdalen College, where Lewis taught.
(New College, where Lewis had his rooms.)
(No. 3 - the door that leads to Lewis's Rooms.)
Needless to say, after all of that walking, we were tired, and I slept for the hour-long train ride back into London. (I think everyone else dozed off too!). Back in London we ate dinner at Bizarro, an Italian restaurant, which we thought was a "bizarro" name for a place...but it was delicious and fueled us for r our short return trip to our flat. 

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