We felt like getting away from our boxes, crates and bags for a while, so off we went to Cambridge. Cambridge is a pretty as well as famous town and always worth a visit. The weather wasn’t as good as one might have hoped. We had sun at times but also rain, sleet and snow. Rather than give you a blow-by-blow account of our wanderings, I will show you some of the photos I took.
Walking down from the station, we passed in front of the Open University building pictured above left. Here is a detail of the façade. For anyone who may not know, Cambridge is the city where resides one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious universities. It is particularly renowned for science and many famous scientists have studied or worked there.
As befits an ancient and prestigious city, Cambridge boasts many ancient and prestigious buildings. Many of these are decorated with towers and turrets. If I win the lottery, I will buy a house with at least one turret. Even this pub has one.
Foreign visitors are often mystified by their inability to find “the university”. This is because “the university” is everywhere and nowhere. Cambridge University, like its rival Oxford University, consists of a collection of “colleges”, each with its own teachers, students and traditions, though increasingly teaching and other activities take place on an inter-collegiate basis. Here is a glimpse of the lawn of one of the colleges.
There are many stories told about the so called “Mathematicians’ Bridge” at Queen’s College but most of them are, alas, myths. The most popular myth is that the bridge was designed by a group of mathematicians and needed no nails or bolts in its construction. When the bridge was taken apart to be cleaned and repaired, the story continues, no one could figure out how to put it together again. It’s a nice story but unfortunately untrue! Following the link for more information.
Cambridge is extremely flat. This explains the amazing profusion of bicycles in the city. Unless you come from the Netherlands, you will probably never have seen so many bicycles together in one place. There are huge bicycle parks and along all the streets bicycles are chained to the railings and other objects. In the car park of any important building you will also see racks for bicycles. This is the porch of one of the colleges.
Cambridge takes its name from the river that runs through it, the Cam. This is a gentle, shallow river, well suited to pleasure boating. The characteristic craft is the punt, a flat boat that is propelled by pushing is along with a pole. Easy as that might sound, many a punter has received a ducking as a result of a clumsy move, especially after a water-borne picnic accompanied by wine.
The picture above right shows one of the punt hire stations. If you look closely at the water just below the projecting row of punts, you will see a duck hurrying towards us. As you see from the photo on the right, the duck had made a good choice as he was rewarded with a biscuit that Tigger just happened to have about her person.
When we thought it was time to go home, we went to the station and settled ourselves on the train ready to depart for King’s Cross. It was not to be. All passengers were ordered to disembark and leave the station because of a “security alert”. We never discovered the cause. The picture shows disgruntled passengers in front of the station prior to being moved away by the police for safety reasons.
After waiting for some time, we decided to take the bus and look for somewhere to have a meal. Quite by chance, we were lucky to happen upon the Rainbow Cafe, a pure vegetarian cafe and restaurant, where we had a very good dinner. Highly recommended.