Monday, December 17, 2012

You Are a Very Beautiful: London Day 6

I should be writing these faster than I am, but Christmas time is eating my lunch. Also, maybe I'm subconsciously afraid that if/when I finish these it will all be over. Writing these posts about Europe has been a means of reliving and holding on.

Oh well.

Day 6 was a sleep-in day (for me), while Tom went and picked up the rental car.

It was supposed to look like this...

But somehow it ended up looking like this....


I guess the people at Hertz liked Tom's face. I know I do.

So, with some serious 'mind praying' on my part, Tom drove us into the English countryside. First we had to get out of London, which was, arguably, the hardest part. It was so narrow and so congested, and so the other side of the road that I was holding my breath and closing my eyes most of the time. This was true on the highways too. 

Tom was a great driver, and he really only had one weakness. Because he was driving on the other side of the car and road, he seemed to always veer to the left. And in England all of the highways and freeways have curbs, every mile, all the way. So to avoid a popped tire or an accident, I had to keep Tom in check rather frequently, "You're veering to the left," "You're veering" "Tooooommmmmmm." He wanted to strangle me by the end of it, but he couldn't be too angry because he asked me to. That was my ONE job. I did it too well I guess.

It was overwhelmingly dark and rainy that day, but also peaceful and we took our time.

Our destination? Oxford. We stopped on the way to Oxford to get lunch...at the strangest Burger King. We didn't intend to go to Burger King ever, but that was the food at that stop. I think it must have been $11 for a piece of meat and a bun. Yikes. God Bless America.

And then we were back on the road. We almost went to Downton Abbey but it was closed to visitors during this time of year. Or maybe just to us. But we pressed on to our real destination. And it did not disappoint. I'd love to spend several days at/in Oxford.

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking from here. My apologies - mostly to myself - but it got a little too dark by the time we were taking pictures, so most of it is blurry and a little under exposed. Our little cameras could only do so much. Ah well, the memories are more vivid than the pictures. It'll have to do. 

Driving into Oxford. To say the least, C.S Lewis and Tolkien and Rowling dance around your brain the entire time...



Images of Harry Potter, Brideshead Revisited, An Education, X-Men First Class, and every movie and book ever begin to flood in like teeny boppers at a J-Biebs concert...and I was much more frenzied about it.


Christ's Church
 



 

 Harry Potter flashes. Like hot flashes, but better. Or, actually good
 
 Brideshead Revisted, visited for the first time.

The dining hall was my favorite part of anything. They were preparing for a full robed dinner right when we were leaving. I got pretty fan-girl here. I yearned for those paintings to be talking and moving and having duels. But in all seriousness, this hall was more than the movies and books and authors that have coveted it for their own. This place is full of a rich history that merited its mention in book after book and movie after movie. And in this case, truth might be cooler than fiction. What I wouldn't give to have been at that dinner that night.


                                                           We'd probably be in Hufflepuff... 

When we finished our tour of Oxford, I knew I would throw a tantrum if I didn't eat at the Eagle and Child. I'd basically waited for that one since I first read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, and learned of the respective authors and their relationship to one another. This little pub did not disappoint. For anyone who doesn't know, this is the pub that Lewis and Tolkien (and many a scholarly type) had dinner - OK, mostly drinks - and argued and debated the nights away. If you go on a study abroad, you usually venture here at least once. I didn't get to go on a study abroad, so I ventured here with Tom instead. A nice alternative. Our food was crazy delicious which was an unexpected surprise. We just had to put up with the most odious American woman that ever visited another country, but as soon as her last drink slunk her into a haze, we were fine. Thank goodness for lethal amounts of liquor.

 The walls tell a story...
My face tells a story. I had just about enough of pretentious, loud, American psuedo-intellectual girl at this point...
This delicious drink tells a story...
 

 We were so happy to be together that day and night. Experiencing things together. As it should be.

We drove all the way to Bath that night to get ourselves rested for what might have been my favorite day of the whole trip. It's debatable, but our next day in Bath is the main contender for sure. 

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