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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Following J.R.R. Tolkien's footsteps in Oxford, UK

Now that Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" is on theaters, I felt like sharing this amazing experience I had while staying in Oxford, UK, for an exchange program. 
An edition on "The Hobbit" left by a fan at Tolkien's grave
Oxford is renowned because of the University of Oxford, one the most important educational institutions in the world. Founded in 1231, the University is also famous because of the stupendous architecture of its colleges (the buildings of each department at the University).
Radcliffe Camera, the Heart of the University of Oxford
Besides that,  Oxford is the city where John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the author of Bilbo's adventures and The Lord of The Rings trilogy spent most of his life and did most of his work, studying, teaching and writing, of course. So, when in Oxford, you can follow Tolkien's track by visiting some places that were important to him.
A sign showing the way to Tolkien's grave

For example, in the Exeter College, where Tolkien studied, you'll find this statue in his memory. 

Tolkien's statue in the Exeter College

Another nice place for visiting is the pub "The Eagle and Child", where J.R.R. Tolkien used to meet with other  intellectuals in a group called "Inklings".

Eagle and Child, Tolkien's favourite pub 

Among them, there was another important fantasy writer: C.S. Lewis, author of "The Cronicles of Narnia", what makes the pub a 'must visit' place.

Finally, the most peculiar episode on this little tour was the visit to Wolvercote Cemetery, where Tolkien is buried.  I went there with two nice fellows that I met during this trip, a Chech and a Spanish, both very smart and friendly.

When we got to Tolkien's grave, we were a bit disappointed  cause it was a little bit messy. If it weren't for some 'gifts' left there by some fans, you couldn't tell that there lays one of the most important authors ever. 

So, we did the only thing we could do: we respectfully cleaned it and rearranged the fans' itens, and I think it got a little better, as you can see in the pictures bellow.

Tolkien's grave before and after the cleaning
People are proud of what's meaningful to them. Maybe these episodes can be considered meaningless for some people, but they meant a lot for me.

"Not all those who wander are lost", once Tolkien wrote. And wandering through Oxford I found myself. 

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