Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Last Weekend in Oxfordtown

As I found myself nearing the end of my Oxford trip, I realized there were so many things left that I needed to do! One weekend when Jenni and Jade went to Scotland, Mary Lowry, Steven, Clayton and I stayed behind to do a little bit of exploring parts of Oxford we hadn't "conquered" yet.

Surprisingly we had only been to visit a few other colleges so we decided we would visit Magdalen College (C.S. Lewis was a tutor there, it was also the place where he converted to Theism). The college was beautiful, but even more fun was the little nature trail we took in Magdalen meadows. It was a peaceful little escape, I felt like I wasn't even really in Oxford anymore. Clearly, we had a lot of fun exploring!

Next, we went over to an exhibit that the Bodleian was putting on called "Magical Books". We had seen signs all over Oxford advertising for it, but didn't realize how amazing some of the things actually were in there! They had Tolkien's original drawings of Middle Earth, his first drawing of the inscription on the inside of the ring, as well as other drawings from the scenes in his books. There was also a page from Wagner's book that was the very picture that evoked Lewis's awe of "pure northerness" that he references as his inspiration for imagination in Surprised by Joy. It was amazing to observe the very picture that spawned the creativity and imaginative genius of this man I had so intensely been studying for several weeks. Obviously, one of my personal favorite finds was Lewis's original drawing of Narnia. I stood in awe in front of it for about 10 minutes just trying to take it all in. We weren't allowed to take pictures and I could probably go to jail if I put the pictures from the internet up on this blog, so you'll have to be satisified with this link to the website if you want to go check out what exactly I saw!

After Magical Books we decided there was one thing that we HAD to do before we left Oxford: swim in the River Thames. Yes, it was probably 50 degrees out and yes, the water was nasty and murky and we might have had a hard time deciding if it was home to leeches. But hey, we had to do it! As you can see, we had a little trouble actually getting to the rope swing, but once we did it was a blast! Jumping into the water completely knocked the wind out of all of us, and Mary Lowry may have picked up a few diseases after cutting her hand while trying to get back up on the bank (one of the ONLY times I have every seen Mary Lowry ungraceful, ever seen what a beached whale looks like?). She wouldn't mind me telling y'all about it though, she thought the pictures were pretty hilarious herself.


The following Sunday we made our second trip to London and met Jenni and Jade at the Tower of London! This place was so steeped in history, I was completely awestruck by all of the awful executions and stories about the Tower. One of the stories we heard was about James Scott the Duke of Monmouth who led a rebellion against King James II in 1865 and was ultimately caught and executed. It was said that it took eight blows for his head to finally be cut off. Yeesh, talk about a bad day. 
Also, we found the spot where Ann Boleyn was beheaded. 

 Here are some awful torture tools, like this one that would stretch a person's body until all of his joints were pulled out of socket. Yah.
After crossing the Tower Bridge we headed off to our main event of the day, visiting Warner Brother's Harry Potter Studios!

Can I just point out that at one time we were being those classic Americans running to catch the train to Watford (cleverly stationed between Platforms 9 and 10. Coincidence? I think not!) one of the attendants must have noticed our frantic looks and yelled out "'Arry Pottaaaaa???" and directed us to the correct train. It was classic.

I can't really put into words how amazing touring the Harry Potter studios was, so I'll leave you with some pictures. All I know if the movie series isn't simply a multi-million dollar franchise to me anymore. I have the utmost respect for every singly person that put so much work into every detail to make the movies what they are today. And all I know is that by the time the tour spit me out into the gift shop I was ready to buy every single wand and candy I could.

Butterbeer was so. stinking. good. 

Family photo op outside of Privet Drive!!! Love them. 

Model of Hogwarts. Erected in 40 days. 

Gryffindor Common Room.

Sorry we're not sorry. Had to. 

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