It has now been turned into an Alice in Wonderland souvenir shop. You may be more familiar with another set of authors by the names of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Well, they resided for a time in Oxford as well and were even part of a book club called The Inklings that used to meet in a pub every Tuesday to discuss one another's ongoing literary work. One of the first things that Ryan and I made sure to do was to go visit this very pub. It is known as The Eagle and Child, but was referred to lovingly by The Inklings as The Bird and Baby. Ryan had a pint and I a tea, and we just sat and pondered what types of conversations were held in these walls.
A trip to Oxford is never complete without exploring Christ Church. Christ Church is not just a cathedral, but a college as well, and one of the largest in Oxford. It is also a major part of our Harry Potter tour in England. Many scenes from The Philosopher's Stone were filmed right on sight, including the cloisters, the staircase, and the dining hall. I could just picture myself being welcomed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and then being shuffled along to the Sorting Hat. I am sure many of you can just picture the childlike smile I had on my face! I am sure Oxford is a completely different experience when you are a student versus a tourist. It seems to be a place that has many treasures hidden inside the schools and libraries and side streets. I am glad we got to experience a taste of it at least. And who knows...maybe we even came out a wee bit smarter too.
Home to some of the greatest minds in literature, and a collection of more than fifty different Universities, you find yourself just feeling smarter as you enter in. Or at least you try to look and appear smarter than you actually are. You can tell the standards are set pretty high here and the pressure is on as a new year is just beginning. Thankfully, we are no longer students and can casually stroll down the streets of Oxford without worrying about papers and exams and the dreaded thesis, our minds only on beauty and history of this coveted university city. Let me elaborate on some of the brilliant authors that have lived, studied, and taught in Oxford. Charles Dodgson (you may know him more by his pen name, Lewis Carroll) resided and taught at Christ Church College and wrote one of my absolute favorite collection of stories, Alice in Wonderland, about the Dean's young daughter named Alice Liddell. We made sure to visit the old sweet shop where the real Alice used to buy her sweets.