Our short but action-packed adventure to France began with a ferry ride across the English Channel. Just like Tolkien and Lewis journeyed across the waters for their service in France, we tracked the many places where they set foot. First we visited cemeteries at Mount Bernanchon and Arras and saw the trenches at Vimy Ridge. The sites revealed the magnitude of the authors' experiences and the number of lives lost in the war. The next day we visited more memorials to the soldiers who fought and fell, the bomb crater at Lochnager, and we deepened our understanding of a world in crisis. We ended our time in France with a visit to the magnificent Notre-Dame cathedral in Amiens. The architecture contrasted that of what we've seen so far. This city was also the start of some of Tolkien's literary beginnings.
After another trip across the English Channel, we arrived back in England. We settled in the upbeat university city, Cambridge. As the second oldest university in England, Cambridge taught us about England's academic history and the many famous scholars who called this place home. C.S. Lewis was one of the many renowned residents who lived and worked at Cambridge. He became known for his incredible lectures. Even our tour guide, an alum, was able to sit awe-struck at one of his lectures on medieval and renaissance literature. We were able to enter the walls of Magdalene, King's, and Trinity colleges, which was just a glimpse of Cambridge's glory.
We finished our class exploration by visiting two university museums and attending evensong at King's College chapel. Throughout our time here we were able to explore the ancient city on our own. Some of us attended a different evensong, others explored the food markets and pubs, and some went punting on the River Cam, a staple in Cambridge.
We are all leaving with our Cambridge apparel and dreams of becoming renowned alums of Cambridge University. Our next adventure takes us to the home of Cambridge's top competitor, the oldest university in England: Oxford. Here we will see the start of a friendship that sparked two of the world's greatest imaginations. At the crossroads of Tolkien and Lewis, we will learn of their intersecting legacies at one of the top academic centers in the world. Oxford University was the start of the Inklings, their individual careers, and the works that brought us on this journey.
It's bittersweet to know we are about to embark on our final adventure. We are so excited to visit the site that inspired it all: the novels of a lifetime and a J-Term experience to never forget.
Your enthusiastic and adventurous bloggers,
Morgan and Kelli