Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2 -- Stepping Out in Oxford

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” - Lao Tzu

And a journey of a thousand steps begins in a London mile! Today our group headed off to catch a train to Oxford. Down the stairs, up the stairs, catch the Central Line to Nottinghill Gate, then switch to the district line to Paddington Station. Up the steps, down the steps. At the train station, we just made the 8:51 train, which took a little over an hour to get to our destination. We were met by Kathy, a friend of Dr. Everhart, who led us down some steps and up a hill to Oxford University. We were to visit the Bodleian Library -- the oldest of Oxford's libraries and the site of several scenes in Harry Potter. Our guide was very knowledgeable as she led us up the steps and down the steps, then up and up (she even had to pause to catch her breath), and then down, down into the stacks (we even got lost at one point. I suggested they create a t-shirt that says, "I Survived the Stacks"). Up some more steps and we were back at our starting point. We were let loose for lunch (on our own) so we walked down some steps, then looked around for a nice, green place to eat our picnic lunch of bread, cheese, fruit and wine. Uh -- guess what? We found nothing! So near a bus stop we found an out of the way raised cement platform that was shaded by a tree, and we plopped down and ate right there. We then lazily headed back UP THE HILL towards the library, doing a little shopping on the way, and then met our group to take a bus to The Kilns, the home of C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Our tour of that quaint home led us up the stairs to see his study and bedroom, then down the stairs to visit the common room and the library. We were also given a tour of the local parish church where he was buried. Guess what ... we only had to climb a couple steps up to the sanctuary. After our lecture by a local school librarian, we were treated to drinks and cookies. Then we were back on the bus and headed back into town for a quick look at their public library which was ... you guessed it ... up a flight of steps. After our quick tour of the library, several of us headed for a pub called The Eagle and Child where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met for breakfast every Tuesday. No steps to negotiate, but after a wonderful meal, we had to walk back to the train station, climb those steps, then once we were back to London, we again negotiated all the steps of the Tube to get back to our flat. Then insult of insults, because it was past 9 p.m. we had to enter the main entrance and ... climb down the steps, then back up the steps to reach our flat. Needless to say, we have some tired "Golden Girls" tonight.


  1. Wow, Jeannie:-) You all have seen so much in such a short time. Reading your entries has brought back memories of my trip last summer.

  2. Oops, I forgot to type my name to my comment.

  3. So this is London!Stairs, stairs, everywheres

  4. The first time Carolyn and I were in the British Isles, by the time four weeks of stairs and hills was over we were in the best the shape of our lives. I wish I was climbing with you. Wait until the pub 5 miles away is a short walk, but the cab won't go 4 miles - too far. Ask Carolyn.