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08 Jul 04

day 4: cambridge

after a day’s delay, we had our first day out of london today. jo and i took the train to cambridge to explore the university town that i apparently knew nothing about. we were initially unsure about the weather – the forecast was bleak for much of the south once again with another big storm set to roll through, but cambridge’s looked the most promising.

we set out from king’s cross station and discovered platform 9 3/4 from the first harry potter movie (a photo featuring jo will be added to the photo gallery sometime tomorrow). the train only took about 55 mins, so we were there by around 11 – lots of time to explore. the weather was gorgeous, so we walked the 20 minutes from the station to hte centre of town, and explored the market and area for an hour or so before lunch. after lunch we went on a 2 hour walking tour of the city (which turned out to be a 2 hour walking tour of cambridge university, more specifically king’s and trinity colleges). apparently there are a bunch of colleges that make up the university, and they are scattered throughout the city. as a result, there is no “campus” per se – it’s everywhere.

the bulk of the tour was spent in king’s college chapel, which is incredible. it’s extremely long and narrow with some pretty amazing architecture and engineering. it still has the original stained glass miraculously, and the stone and wood carvins inside are pretty much indescribable (not to mention enormous). unfortunately, i couldn’t take photos inside so i had to settle for buying a postcard instead. oh, and the highlight of jo’s day occurred on our way into the chapel: we were told ahead of time to spit out any gum, etc. before going inside, and that cameras weren’t allowed. i was at the end of our tour group’s queue, and the clergyman at the door stopped me and pointed at my shirt, asking what it was (i was wearing my weakerthans long sleeved t-shirt that features the image of what appears to be a devil). he asked if it was a band and what kind of band it was – i was expecting him to tell me that i couldn’t wear it inside, but he just nodded and asked me if they were any good as i was readying myself to remove it. ironically, the t-shirt i had on underneath was a by divine right t-shirt – that may have been slightly more appropriate.

we also spent quite a while at trinity college, former home to isaac newton, prince charles and john harvard (and probably a few others). the wren library (also soon to be in the photo gallery) is apparently the location of newton’s speed of sound experiements, in which he shot a pistol through one of the corridors.

i can’t quite figure out why you can’t walk on the grass pretty much anywhere at cambridge, but this led to another highlight – watching an odd american father and son pair (who resembled penguins in both their shape and walking style) walk on the grass while the tour guide yelled at them to get off before security came over (they responded by running towards us – on the grass).

one final note about cambridge: it’s possible to pay to take a “punt” (a small boat piloted with a large rod – also soon to be in the image gallery) down the cam river behind trinity college. apparently this works because there’s an actual road beneath the water to push off from…kinda cool.

anyway, after the tour wrapped up, jo and i wandered around town a little more to try to see a couple more colleges that our guide skipped over, and then headed back to the train station with very sore feet. we got lucky throughout most of the day and the weather was pretty nice overal – a few spots of drizzle interspersed with sun. on our walk back though, it started to pour rain and hail, and jo forgot her umbrella this morning. we got pretty wet, but were luckily safely in the station by the time the insane rain and thunder started.

it’s now arond 8 pm and i’m at home trying to stretch out my legs. i’m supposed to be hearing from andrea in the near future about going out for dinner and drinks, so that’s what my evening has in store.

update: it’s now almost midnight and i’m rushing to finish this post (and i apologize for the typos – i’m having to retype it very very hurriedly). i had a lovely dinner at a chinese/japanese place with andrea and jo, after some communication problems. jo called me and asked for room 12A, so they connected her to 21A. she then called back and asked for me and they said i wasn’t registered. nice. when i asked, he of course denied it (“she asked me for a different name” “well, she DOES know my name…”) anyway, it worked out. on my way back i met a girl in the tube from vancouver who just finished working as an au pair in germany. apparently she hated every minute.

and now i’m getting kicked out of here, and i’m exhausted anyway. until tomorrow (or soon thereafter)…

One Response to “day 4: cambridge”

  1. 1
    wendy Says:

    good times Rob…great photos and I’m enjoying your tales!

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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