Travelogue: Day 6 - Oxford, Blenheim Palace, and Chipping Campden
We woke up super early and got to the Oxford Bus Company x90 by 6:30. It was a bit misty but felt great after all those days of blazing sun.
The bus was clean, comfortable, had plug-ins and wireless (although it said I had used my limit very early into the trip but did not pursue that). It was great to see the countryside for the first time. The drawback was the two girls that decided to polish their nails in the top of double decker bus without an option to open windows for ventilation. I was sick for about 30 minutes of the trip, but it was still a great trip.
We arrived in Oxford by 8:20, stored our luggage at the Backpacker's Hotel, and walked to a place for breakfast.
After breakfast, we went straight to the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin to climb the tower. WOW! Oxford is so beautiful architecturally. We met three girls who were in the UC system of California and had just spent four weeks study fantasy literature at Oxford. After we climbed the tower, they showed us where the lamppost and door were that inspired C.S. Lewis' Narnia. (Did I read that in my Inklings book? I don't remember.)
After this, we did our C.S. Lewis Self-Guided Walking Tour that I found on this website:
The tour was SO FUN! We even got directed to the staircase where C.S. Lewis went to "Univ"! The student at the door did not know it until I told her, but she led me there. I know I couldn't go up and knock on the door of the room, but I wanted to see it! At least I got in the quad of the residence hall. You cannot do that when students are there.
We even got to go to The Eagle and Child where the Inklings would meet. We would have eaten there, but it did not open until 12 noon, and we wanted to go to the opening of Magdalen College at that time.
This college is beautiful! The highlight for us was to walk along Addison's Walk where C.S. Lewis began to turn to Christ! I made this video and started to cry. So moving to be there:
After this, we walked through the HOARDS of tourist who had now entered the city to pick up our stored luggage and rental car for a trip to Blenheim Palace.
I know I have to think of another word other than WOW! Blenheim Palace was BEAUTIFUL. I especially loved the outside and the grounds. The State Rooms were definitely what we have seen in other palaces, but the grounds were phenomenal. There were lakes and fountains and temples. How does someone have the money to contain a place like this? The tour was very interesting. The main wife they talked about was Consuelo Vanderbilt who was encouraged to marry the Duke for the title and not for love. He got her money in the bargain. It was an unhappy married, and they eventually divorced. I liked her because she was 6 feet tall! By the way, Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim. (Did you know that Diana Spencer was related to Winston Churchill?)
After lunch in the cafe, we looked at the grounds. It was getting very hot, and we are thankful that our rental car had air conditioning!
We arrived at the Volunteer Inn at 7 pm. The Inn was full of local playing cards, drinking beer, and making noise. It was what you see on TV! It is a great Inn, and I think it has less touristy traffic than the fancier places higher up on "High Street" because we are "Lower High Street." After check in, we walked on our first public footpath. In England, one is allowed to walk through people's land. So, we walked through a "kissing gate" and did a little loop. So fun!
We were so tired after a very early start to an eventful day, we hit the hay early!
7.7 miles of walking + the extensive grounds and inside Blenheim Palace!