Cambridge is only about 30min drive from here, so we decided to take a day trip. After a bit of pamphlet reading I found out there was a "Park'n'Ride" place on the outskirts where we could leave the car (for free) and take a bus into the city itself. This seemed a lot easier than trying to navigate, and so it proved.
For those of little or no knowledge of Cambridge, it is a town on the river Cam (hence Cam-bridge) in an area that has been populated since at least the Iron Age, before becoming a Roman settlement, then the Saxons, then the Normans and so on until the present day. Nowadays it is most famous for being a University town - no prizes for guessing the University of Cambridge as being located there! There are a number of Colleges (colleges being sort of subsets of the University these days, a bit hard to explain.......basically a student selects a College they would like to attend - many have specialty subjects - and if accepted then they are accepted by the University of Cambridge as a whole). The first College was founded in the 1290s, many more in the 1300s, and the most recent in 1977. Many of them were founded by famous figures in history - Queens' College, for example, was founded (twice!) by Margaret d'Anjou (Queen Margaret, married to Henry VI) then again in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville (Queen Elizabeth, married to Edward IV). Just one example :)
On with the pictures - some taken from an open-topped double-decker bus we toured on, and others as we wandered the streets.
Our view from the bus - and an excellent view it was. Good for looking, not so good for pictures as the jerky movement made for a lot of wonky shots!
One of the first things Jason suffered from was "Lawn Envy". 99/100 bits of grass were like this - perfect!
One of the stops on the bus circuit is the American Military Cemetery at Madingley, which was created at the end of WWII. It looked in a lovely location, and we intend to go back there on a different day to view the whole site.
Ponies at one of the bus stops, this one at a famous garden centre. Just out of shot are the "go near these ponies at your own risk!!" signs. Anyone who's ever read the Thelwell cartoons will know how vicious small hairy ponies can be ;)
Also on this section of the trip was a crossing over the M11. This is the major road in the area that leads to London (about 60 miles away). As you can see it's a bit busy.
Even the plainest buildings in Cambridge seem to have lovely stonework - this was on a rather nondescript office/shop building.
Other structures are very recognisable...... the famous British red telephone box! (Note also the preponderance of bicycles apparent in English University towns) ;)
We departed the bus in Silver Street, just where it crosses the Cam. We did not, however, try punting!! (The aquatic kind, not the gambling kind - the latter would have been much more my style). This wooden bridge is a footbridge for Queens' College, which is on both sides of the bank just here.
Just around the corner is one of the big entrances into Queens' College. They wanted an entry fee of a few pounds to go into the main courtyard, so we didn't do that.
Although I did sneak this one through the door in the gate pictured earlier ;)
On, via the "back" roads to King's College (founded in 1441 by Henry VI but subsequently patronised by other monarchs) - the arch pictured here is one of the lesser entrances into King's, located in the rather predictably named King's Lane.
Another sneaky shot through a hole in the wall into one of the courtyards at King's.
Yet another sly shot through a gap......I think it's a big urn ;)
The main entry to King's. Somehow I seem to have had one foot in a hole for this picture so it's a bit crooked - sorry about that ;)
Another King in the stonework near the King's College entrance - most of you will recognise him! Apparently I was standing in another hole at this point.
We had seen the rear of King's from the bus, and since the Chapel was open to visitors we thought we'd go and have a look.
Visitors not being allowed to go through the main entrance at King's, we had to travel the side roads via Senate House road to get there. This lovely little corner garden was on the way.
As was this odd little sundial (chapel?) that seemed to have it's heart in Italy. Apparently there was another crooked-picture producing hole here.
This is the remnants of a pump just outside the main doors to the King's Chapel.....don't know how old it is, since there was no sign or anything, but it looked attractive!
**insert pictures of King's College Chapel interior here**
Did I forget to fix my HTML? No. There ARE no pictures of the interior for me to insert at this point. All photography was banned, even digital non-flash photography. I've been to the King's official webpage, and even THEY don't have any proper photos of the interior. There are a few internet sites around with pictures that are evidently taken secretly, but they don't really do it justice. It's an incredible place. Simply incredible! It was begun in 1441 and finished (several Kings later) in 1547.
That is about the best I could find online. The picture, Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, is well worth a closer look - if you can wade through all the OTHER "Adoration of the Magi"s that Rubens apparently did! He seems to have painted the same scene a number of times. Not ever having done art history, I don't know if this is unusual or not - but it makes for a nuisance of a web search ;)
This is the "right" one ;)
Emerging from the other side of the Chapel, the main courtyard of King's is breathtaking.
Only "senior fellows" are allowed to walk on the lawn!
As we walked toward the main gate (the exit) this is the view looking back at one part of the Chapel.
A built-in sundial (slightly off due to the fact that Daylight Savings Time hadn't been introduced in 1441!)
From the main gate, looking out across the lawn (Chapel is out of shot to the right). Our last view before departure.
And that's it for Cambridge, at least this time. There was SO much to see (bear in mind most of these pictures are just from one of the colleges!) that it was more of a reconnaissance trip. I'm sure we will have to take several other day journeys just to see more of the major sights - I didn't even go in a library, and you just KNOW that some of the libraries there will have to be seen to be believed ;) (I know the main University library has over 100 miles of shelving, for example).
Sooner or later :)