Thursday, July 26, 2012

Visiting Cambridge

Our recent trip south put us very close to Cambridge, so we went in a few times to see the colleges, churches, and other cherished spots in town. I'll have longer posts on King's College Chapel, St. John's College, and punting on the Cam, but this post covers a bunch of our wandering around and seeing stuff at random. There's plenty of such things to see in Cambridge.

We drove to a park and ride lot east of town and road the bus in to the center of town. There we had a snack (as we usually do) and found the tourist information center, which did provide a map but not for free. They also recommended several spots of interest and even some playgrounds. Amazingly, we didn't make it to any playgrounds in Cambridge. Luckily our hotel had that covered.

We did see a few churches that were not open. The first was to St. Edward King and Martyr, right across the street from the information center.

St. Edward King and Martyr, Cambridge

Amazingly, the side of the church on the road had no entrance! Walking around a small path brought me to the front door which was locked and also unphotogenic (at least from the confines of the little path). We walked over to the market square and saw Great Saint Mary's church, which was also closed, alas.

I think they had some sort of service going on

From there, we followed the info center's directions to get to King's College Chapel. We went down a narrow alleyway to come to the entrance. Along the way we saw the most interesting clock.

Just around the corner is the entrance, just like St. Edward's!

Not sure how practical a sundial is in England

The chapel is famous for its singers, all of whom were out on summer vacation, so we did not hear them. The chapel was so glorious, it will get it's own post soon.

Right next to King's College Chapel is Clare College. Founded in 1326, it is the second oldest college in the university (the oldest is Peterhouse). It was endowed by Lady Elizabeth de Clare (also known as Lady de Burgh), a granddaughter of King Edward I. Her cousin King Edward III gave her license to establish an endowment for scholars to study at Cambridge. The building is quite picturesque and the college spans the River Cam.

Welcome! No really, welcome!

Clare College, Cambridge

Clare College, Cambridge

Bridge to the other side of campus

Here was our first sighting of people punting on the Cam. Flat-bottom boat cruising is a very popular past time and a thriving tourist trade. People have the option of hiring a punt for themselves or getting on a chauffeured boat, meaning you get descriptions of what you are seeing along the way.

Chauffeured also means strangers on your boat!

Punting with geese and King's College Bridge

We also had a good view of King's College and the chapel from riverside.

King's College, Cambridge

We crossed the Cam on the King's College bridge and walked down to Silver Road. Crossing the river back to the heart of town, we saw another one of the famous sights of Cambridge, the Mathematical Bridge. Built in 1749, it was renowned for not using bolts to hold it together. Pins and screws were. Later it was rebuilt and bolts were used, though stories abound of not using any bolts, screws, or nails in its first construction. The other warning everyone gives is that Isaac Newton had nothing to do with its construction since he died in 1727. Apparently some tour guides embellish the truth. Shocking, isn't it?

Mathematical Bridge, Cambridge

We then proceeded on a rather wet punting experience, though not because we fell out of the boat due to our own incompetence. No, we had a chauffeured boat. Our chauffeur wasn't incompetent either. We were wet from the rainy weather. Luckily our boat had plenty of umbrellas in it. Though that's a story for another, later post.

After our trip up the river, we went to The Anchor pub for lunch. We were right by the river and had some wonderfully warming food. We wound our way back through the streets of Cambridge to find our bus. Along the way we saw the gates to Pembroke College.

Pembroke College

Finding the bus was pretty easy and we were soon on our way back to the hotel for nap times. We were one of the first people on the bus so we snagged the premium seats at the front of the top of the bus. I took a picture from up there. Lucy asked to take a picture, so I let her take one too.

Usually there weren't these many buses around

Lucy-eye view of Cambridge

The next day we went in and used one of the public toilets, which was pretty horrifying. Not that it was dirty. But it cost 20p and would only open if you had a 20p piece, no other coins would be accepted by the machine. Luckily among the five of us, one had the right coin to get in. So we all took turns using the toilet. Also, this sign inside was pretty horrifying to me.

Um, who's using needles and razors in a public toilet?

Another item of interest was this saggy-roofed house.

Actually, it doesn't look so saggy in the picture

We had a lot of fun visiting Cambridge and we look forward to visiting again maybe in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment