Our first stop in Oxford was a favorite of Tolkien and Lewis. The weekly meetings for The Inklings, a small literary club composed of Oxford professors, took place at The Eagle and Child pub. We sat where Tolkien and Lewis reviewed each other's work and imagined the fairytale worlds perfected over pints of ale. We all enjoyed English cuisines such as meat pies and fish and chips.
Our surroundings became familiar to us as we located each of the Oxford colleges, immersing ourselves in the world of many famous figures. We saw pubs, hotels, and colleges where US Presidents, prime ministers, and renowned actors and actresses ate, stayed, and studied. The many large brick walls and gates were opened to us the next day on our small group tours. Magnificent chapels, libraries, and dining rooms came alive as we learned of Tolkien and Lewis' times there. Our tour guides pointed out the rooms where they lived as students and as professors. The major stops included Magdalen, University, Exeter, and Trinity Colleges.
Our Oxford adventure continued into the countryside. First, we visited the homes and graves of J.R.R. and Edith Tolkien. The couple's headstones featured the famous elven names, Beren and Luthien. These names appear in The Lord of the Rings, incorporating the love story of Tolkien's life into his fairytales. We then made our way to the prehistoric sites that influenced Tolkien and Lewis. Similar to Lewis's long January walks, we hiked through a field of sheep to reach Uffington White Horse, a work of ancient hillside art. At Avebury, we experimented with earth's electromagnetic fields, which are said to be a reason for the site's creation. At Stonehenge, we marveled in the mystery of the site's construction. We all had our own theories about how the natives built such a magnificent structure. The world renowned location was an exciting experience for all of us.
As our last days wind down, we have finished all our novels and essay assignments. We have found ourselves reflecting on how many miles we have traveled and how much we have grown during our January journey. Our final free day included library tours, trips to the local market, climbs to the tops of towers, and hikes to ruins.
Journeying across England has made blogging a breeze. As the two of us have logged our travels, we have gained a better understanding of the world around us, yet we know there are still great discoveries to be made. Our travels have allowed for two book lovers to drool over libraries, explore every bookstore, and make memories we will never forget. The journey has deepened our love of literature and adventure. We will conclude our final days with new breakthroughs, many laughs, and strengthened connections that we will carry back to Luther.
Your enthusiastic and adventurous bloggers,
Morgan and Kelli