June 18, 2014

Following My Heroes

The problem with running off following adventure is that finding time to write about the adventure is practically impossible. But seeing as for the moment I don't need to Skype anyone and I kind of partly have the next stretch of travel from Oxford to Sweden planned out, it seems a good time for a blog post.

First of all, can I just point out that I'm in Oxford? Yeah, yeah, like the University, but mostly like the place where Lewis and Tolkien lived and taught and walked... Amazing. 

So many little carvings all over the walls and ceilings of all the buildings!

This city is incredible, with architecture that takes my breath away and so many complex and intricate buildings. Me and my traveling companion have kind of accidentally run into several places used in the filming of Harry Potter, which is definitely exciting. I cannot wait to get back and watch all the movies again, just so I can point and say: "I've been there!" Nacho Libre's not the only movie set I can say I've been to anymore.
Anyway, back to the point: this city is so beautiful! There is so much history carved into the buildings and I can just feel all of it in the air as I walk through the streets. Plus, it's time for examinations, so the Oxford students from several colleges are walking or riding their bicycles through the city wearing black gowns with carnations in their pockets and their sharp, erudite black and white uniforms. I can only imagine what it would be like to actually study in a place like this.
Christ Church. No wonder movies are filmed here.
So far I've been to Keble College, Christ Church, and a bit of the New College, and each college is breath-taking. I'm hoping to get in a few more colleges before we leave on Friday. We even attended the Sung Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral on Tuesday, which wasn't quite as impressive as the service at Westminster Abbey, but still pretty cool. Plus, we've done a lot of walking around, taking photos, shopping, trying to find the cheapest ways to eat, sliding through museums, and a little bit of getting purposely lost in order to see more. It's wonderful.
Radcliffe Camera, apparently one of the most photographed buildings in Oxford. I can understand why, plus the fact that it sneaks into the backgrounds of pictures of other buildings nearby...
And, did I mention? This is where Lewis and Tolkien formed the Inklings and met in pubs to discuss their writing. I dropped into the Eagle and Child pub and took pictures and stood and marveled, but the food was too expensive for me to justify eating there. However, across the street the Lamb and the Flag was also used by the Inklings, and I managed to afford a nice ham sandwich. Then I just sat in the pub and wrote out four pages of my thoughts as my mind wrapped around the fact that I was sitting in the very place that Lewis and Tolkien read their stories. So incredibly unbelievable. I just cannot hold in how excited I am to be in the place where my heroes actually lived.
Eagle and Child. I am still amazed.

Tomorrow I'm planning on finding the Kilns, where Lewis lived, and then Holy Trinity Church to see his grave. I'm so excited to follow him even more and see how many of his words will drip down and influence my own writing and my own stories. I can just feel the creativity in this place (did I mention Lewis Carrol was also an Oxford don? Lots of Alice in Wonderland exhibits in all the museums) and I am quite sure my writing can only improve as I result of being here.
This was inside the Eagle and Child, so of course when we got back at night we watched the first half of the Lord of the Rings and went crazy when this part actually came up.
Bonus: today I had the most interesting conversations back at the house where we're staying. It began as a sort of conversation against the Bible, though without any time for me to answer the questions being asked, or at least not enough time to answer them well. Then it became a conversation about my family, and about camps, and then the ice cream truck drove by and I smiled at the music and was treated to an amazing Cadbury ice cream cone.
Later in the day a French man living in Germany arrived to stay in another room here, and we all talked for hours about language and education and politics and immigration and travel and culture and even culture shock. Such a great conversation and it kind of made me realize that I am in fact an adult now and can not only listen in on but be a major part of a conversation like that. I mean, usually as soon as it's a serious conversation all I can do is listen, but this time I actually had just as much to add to the conversation as anyone else. More memories and information to store in my "future novels" room in my Mind Palace.
And to end, a lovely picture of me and Smaug.

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