After we returned from Leeds Castle, Alberta and I met up with our other friend, Bonnie. We took the train to Oxford.
I just love the expressions these stones have.
The English Bridge of Sighs.
The Bodleian Library. It was closed, so we only saw the outside.
We got a late start, so we didn’t get as much time in Oxford as I would have liked. Ideally, I would have taken at least a couple of days. It’s a beautiful place, and all the colleges had gorgeous architecture.
There was only one college I was truly interested in, though: Magdalen College, where C.S. Lewis lived and worked. Lewis is on the very short list of people who I consider to be a personal hero. And he’s probably the person who has done the most toward forming my creativity and imagination. I feel incredibly sorry for anyone who didn’t have the experience of reading the Narnia books as a child – and then again, as an adult. I’ve long lost count of how many times I’ve read the series. It would total in the hundreds, I’m sure, and I still re-read them on regular basis. They are incredible works of genius.
The place did not disappoint. Besides the obvious beauty, I could almost feel the memory of Lewis’ presence there.
The highlight of the entire trip to Oxford – and indeed, almost of my entire month-long trip – was walking Addison’s Walk.
You leave the college through black iron gates, and follow a path alongside the canal. This is where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis walked and talked. This is where, I have no doubt, Narnia was born.
There are seats to rest awhile and think. In wood,
and if you’re a duck, there is a house for you upon the canal, safe from foxes.
Being here, walking here, was one of the five best moments of the whole trip.
The chapel at Magdalen was beautiful too, but I especially loved this stained glass window.
Afterwards, we had the best fish & chips I’ve eaten anywhere (the batter was super crispy!) at a place called The Four Candlesticks.
(Bonnie took this picture of Alberta and I, as well as the following color pictures. Alberta took the b&w picture of me on Addison’s Walk.)
Oxford is on my list of places I’d like to revisit someday. Only next time, I’ll stay over at least one night, so I can wake up early and go out walking. That’s the magical time to visit a city like this…early, when it’s just you and a few locals.