On Saturday, we boarded a train and headed off to Cambridge.
I was fairly certain I would like Cambridge. The streets gave me this sense of impending excellent photography.
Actually, the streets were excellent photography all on their own.
The details in the architecture were amazing, and we hadn’t even reached the first of our tourist points: King’s Chapel.
I like this tower. I like it very much.
King’s Chapel is undoubtedly the most impressive of Cambridge’s buildings and the tallest chapel in the city.
I loved the windows already and hadn’t even been inside yet.
Did I mention that it was a gloriously beautiful day with barely a cloud in the sky?
Photography cannot capture the grandeur of this interior. The height, echo-y quiet, and beautiful windows were stunning.
This is the best I can do for showing how tall the ceiling was.
The sun was shining through the glass opposite this side, so you can see the dappled, coloured light from the opposite windows reflecting on the wall.
More epic high ceiling.
This is from the centre of the hall, not the front. It’s quite large.
The King’s College Choir is famous and has a lot of music out that you can buy, but we were told that the acoustics in this building are actually not very good and it doesn’t sound that great when you’re listening to the choir from in there. Kind of sad.
The organ is most excellent, though. I still have trouble believing that it could sound bad in here. It has to be impressive.
A piece by Rubens donated to the chapel for the altarpiece.
We proceeded through the square toward the back of the buildings. I was even more camera-crazy than usual. Believe me, you’re getting a fraction of the shots I actually took.
King’s College: protecting grass in six languages.
I couldn’t believe what glorious weather we had. And it lasted all day.
Me and ginormous chapel.
I love lamp posts…
From far away, you can see how much bigger it is than the buildings around it, which are your average large college buildings.
Incredibly idyllic. You could even rent a boat if you were so inclined and punt yourself down the river.
The sky might have been blue and the sun may have been shining. But it was still December and really, really cold.
This was as close to the water as I planned to get. Taking pictures of the intrepid tourists in the boats was good enough for me.
A beautiful walk through the back of campus.
Tiny King’s Chapel still looks huge!
Confucius say: “There is no reason for my statue to be here.”
Supposedly this statue really does have no place and so the university keeps sticking it in new places trying to figure out where it should be.
Love this gate into a park.
Okay, the one below was a pretty nice gate too.
Napoleon was not terribly impressed with Cambridge until I reminded him that knowledge is power. He proceeded to claim it.
Clare Hall. This is one of the 31 colleges of Cambridge, for graduate students only.
Hello again, King’s Chapel. I like you.
We took a break for lunch and went to a pub in town. It was a really interesting place with some great history.
The ceiling, as you can see below, is covered in writing. This pub was frequented by pilots in the RAF, as well as pilots in the Allied forces from all over. When they came through Cambridge during the second World War, they would sign the ceiling as a squadron.
The walls were covered in old memorabilia as well.
A poem about the ceiling. It’s a little… forced in its rhyme scheme, but still very neat.
The last two lines are very bittersweet:
And here was actually the first place I’ve eaten the iconic fish and chips of Britain. They were yummy.
Except for the mushed peas, which I refused to touch.
Nothing that looks like that should be considered edible.
Just down the road was the place where Crick and Watson discovered the structure of DNA in 1953 (they named a beer after it that you could get at this pub). But here, on this day, Meghan discovered the true purpose of mushy peas. Food sculpting!
If you ever go to Cambridge, try this place out, especially if you have an interest or connection in WWII and the aviators.
Our next destination is called St Benet’s Parish Church. This is the oldest church in the city. It’s built on the land of what was once a monastery called St Peter’s, founded by St Benedict in 675 AD. The foundation is from an old Anglo-Saxon church from 1020.
I love old places!
You might not be able to read the plaque, but I liked it. It’s commemorating men who died in the first World War. At the bottom, it says, “Greater love hath no man than this”.
A beautiful old church yard.
And on to the next church. This one was named after St Edward King & Martyr, whom I was not familiar with. They had a family tree of all the kings of the Anglo-Saxons and there he was in the late 900’s, a few generations before Harry Godwinson, who I guess would be a great great grand nephew.
The sign said that the church has stood for over 800 years and is the ‘cradle of the English Reformation.’ Interesting.
Another plaque you can barely read, but I thought was cool. It names Edward Lively and Richard Thompson and commemorates them for being ‘of the company of the Forty-Seven who in the reign of King James the 1st gave the English speaking peoples the Authorised Version of the Bible.’
This one is actually readable. I guess this is why the church calls itself the ‘cradle of the English Reformation.’ If you look these men up, you can find out more about what they did. It’s amazing to walk around this campus and then to realize that people such as these did the same.
Random, I know, but I used to play with Playmobile toys all the time with my brothers and this made me smile.
And now back to the cool buildings. Westcott House is one of the theological colleges of Cambridge. The courtyard was pretty, including a large apple tree that still had a few apples clinging to the branches.
And now for a mystery. I know this church is close to Jesus College because we went there next. It is very distinctive with its painted walls.
But for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was called.
This is why I take pictures of the signs.
Amazing walls, though, aren’t they?
Here it is from the outside. I will figure it out…
Approaching Jesus College, we passed by the gate to the resident Master’s Lodge.
I would want this job, just to have a gate like this.
Wait… I have a master’s degree. So technically speaking, if I was so inclined, I could put just such a sign on my door.
Note to self…
Beautiful horse statue in the middle of a grassy square. Now, there was no multi-lingual sign forbidding you to walk on this grass, but its pristine green perfection made me wonder…
If I put a toe on the grass, would I be taken out by the Maintenance Ninjas?
It was almost worth testing…
The Jesus College Chapel was beautiful and someone was playing the organ when we came in, which set the mood perfection.
Mysterious dark hallway that leads… somewhere…
As we left, we discovered that the symbol for Jesus College was three chickens on a shield.
Clearly, the students were not fond of this, because the student I saw meandering down the path had a sweatshirt with a silhouette of the awesome horse statue. Much more impressive emblem for the college.
The mystery church. Must discover its identity!
The lamps glowed as it began to grow dark (it wasn’t even four yet, but that’s England for you. Silly sun).
Now, I am probably the only person who thinks this, but when I walked down this street, all I could think of was Busch Gardens. You know the thematic sections that are Little Germany and Little England and whatnot?
This was like that. Except for real.
And a significant lack of roller coasters, people in funny costumes, funnel cake, and ostentatious gift shops. But, you know, other than that, very similar.
On to St John’s College and another chapel.
The setting sun (which had no business setting before four o’clock) makes everything prettier.
I believe that many photographers do their work at dawn and dusk if they can, because the light is just better.
Why must they always squish the dragons?
Obviously, none of the other chapels was nearly as large as King’s, but each of the chapels was beautiful and unique. I really liked this one a lot.
The Bible was opened, most appropriately, to the Book of John.
The man in the creepy crypt is Hugh Ashton, who died in 1522. He was an archdeacon and a fellow of St John’s College.
And William Wilberforce had a statue in here as well!
The final college we visited was Magdalene College, and the chapel there came with a delightful little surprise.
Take a look at the plaque that we saw on the wall.
A very modest little chapel when compared to King’s or St John’s, but there is something to be said for the churches that are a little less alarmingly grand. You can worship without the distractions of epic awesome all around you.
Not that I don’t like the epic awesome. I got to go to Westminster for church on Sunday! But it is distracting.
Someone was playing the organ in this one as well. I feel like they should have organists playing at all times in these churches, just for the ambiance it creates.
We ended the day with hot chocolate at a little cafe and then wandered through a market set up in the centre of town.
I love this city at night. The lights in the windows of the buildings, plus the added bonus of Christmas lights, make these streets enchanting.
One of my favorite night shots.
We passed by a bookshop and they had those beautiful creations in the window which involve cutting up a book (I know – horrific!) into a sort of paper sculpture. I forgive them the book defacing because the results are really neat.
Follow the stars…
We couldn’t really linger, because we had other places to be later that evening and had to make it to the train station, catch an hour long train ride, and then get back to our hotel and change for our final activity for the day.
But I couldn’t help pausing (sometimes in the middle of the street) to capture these streets at night.
I love this building so very much. I want the tower.
And to top it all off, we got to walk through a real mall before heading to the train station. I miss malls. This one felt almost American!
The funny thing was that one of the small shops along the side specialized in American products. You know, the important stuff like Lucky Charms, marshmallow fluff, and Skippy peanut butter.
No time to shop. Must catch our train!
More amazing night shots coming soon!