United Kingdom

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    • Day 170


      October 26, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      I got to London on the 25th and met sara at the airport and we went and stayed with Geir and Fiona :))
      My first day there we met scout at Borough markets and got some lunch and ate by south bank which had very appetising chocolate coloured water🫡😍
      Then Didi (Geir and Fi’s daughter who is my age) was doing her Wednesday chapel choir service at her uni in Cambridge and so we went to watch. Really good acoustics because of some tall height and structure of something in the church.
      We wandered round Cambridge before that though and tried a funky flavoured ice cream place and got roasted potato which was quite good , miso and white chocolate which was also good and then milk and brownies too which was a bit basic but all up we did like it.
      We went into a record store and the oldest bookstore in Cambridge.
      Anyway chapel service was a very cool. Finally seeing Didi after 10 years was so nice and we went and had dinner in the big Cambridge dining hall with her and her friends ! She showed us around and her room and we weren’t allowed to walk on most of the grass.
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    • Day 12


      September 12, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

      Yesterday, we left London, ready to take things at a slower and more leisurely pace. Little did we know.

      The train trip was only an hour. We could connect with the train at our own home port of Farringdon and we had first class tickets, a bit silly really given that we would only be on the train for just over an hour. FIrst class means you get a small table in front of your seat and an antimacassar behind your head. Not a great deal more of creature comforts I would have thought than the riff raff in the other carriages.

      The trip was uneventful, as you want them to be. We arrived at Cambridge about 11am and well ahead of our official check in time of 3pm. However, the good woman who owns the joint said she would clean it quickly and we could have it as soon as she was finished. She would message us.

      Thus, we hove to, and carted our bags bearing all our worldly goods to a cafe that she had recommended, the Hot Numbers. Fortunately we did not have to wait long for a message and the walk to our apartment was literally around the corner. She arrived as we did and she showed us how the new fangled app works which allows us entry to and from the apartment. We dropped our bags and left her to it.

      The next thing to do was to go and organise the rental car. It is a truth universally acknowledged, or should be, that car rental companies will do you over, in some way. Ethics? Nah. Morality? Absolutely not. Being flexible with the weary traveller? Forget it. This happened last year, and they -ucked us over again here in Cambridge. You can use the m or the f for the elision in that word as you please. I know which one I use.

      By the time we had sorted out the apartment, we got to the car rental at 3pm rather than the agreed time of between 12 and 2pm, a range of time I might add that was always an estimated time of arrival, not a horological moment set in Cambridge stone.

      No, sorry, you are late. You have forfeited the deposit you have paid and the car you asked for is no longer available. Since you booked through a third party and not directly with us, there is nothing we can do for you to amend the booking. All we can do is to upgrade you and you'll need to pay the difference for the cost of the better vehicle. Enter a Mercedes Benz, which was just about the only thing they had left. Needless to say, the upgrade cost us a pretty Cambridge penny.

      If ever you see me contemplating hiring a car in the future, feel free to kick me where it hurts.

      At the end of the day, we found Cambridge's main pool and took ourselves for a much needed swim; this to calm the nerves and wash off the stress of the day as well as the heat and the humidity. The pool was large by any standard and in a dedicated building with lots of facilities. It was most welcome.

      Today, in the early part of the morning, we did our best to outwit, rather unsuccessfully I might add, the need to pay excessive parking fees. Street parking outside our building is only free after 5pm and there is no other parking around. Thus we had to go to a large shopping mall, basically adjacent to the University district, and park the car there for the day. Expensive.

      Accepting the uncontrollable is one well-known way to lower stress. It's good modern psychology and the Stoics believed it too in Ancient Greece. We parked the car, left it to accrue its hours, and headed for the fudge shop where we were to meet up with our tour guide. We had purchased tickets to do a two-hour walking tour of the University ending inside Kings College Chapel. Our tour guide was a Classical scholar, Dr Sonya Nevin, part-time lecturer and published author.

      Sonya was fabulous. She started off by explaining the University of Cambridge college system, where the many Colleges are independent autonomous bodies who all teach much the same subjects (courses) with a few exceptions. The University proper handles admissions, enrolments, fees, graduations and the like.

      The University began in the year 1209 with Oxford academics fleeing Oxford due to the riots between locals and the unversity; 'town and gown' riots. Enough of them settled in Cambridge to start the first College.

      We heard so many wonderful stories today. We heard so many famous names. We stopped for a pint after the tour in the Eagle, the pub where Watson and Crick announced their discovery of the workings of DNA. I had an Eagle DNA ale.

      We leaned against the wall where Christopher Marlowe had his digs and saw many of the famous Colleges, many in their medieval glory. It was a fabulous tour and Chris and I both felt we had very good fortune indeed to be led by such an intelligent and informative scholar.

      Of course, the famous Kings College Chapel is very special in this place. It is beautiful beyond ordinary architecture, its vaulted ceiling both geometrically perfect, aesthetically gentle and architecturally marvellous. The dark panelling of the choir stalls where the boys sing their Palestrina and their Allegri all have candle holders and must look a sight. A Rubens painting as an altar piece stands wonderfully at the front of the chapel.

      There is way too much to see here in Cambridge, especially in the limited time we have left to us. There are galleries and museums attached to most of the Colleges so you'd really need a considerable time to see it all.

      The weather has started to break today. Only about 20° today, ominous black clouds, but still high humidity. England's heat wave is just about over. As is our time in Cambridge. We are very glad we came.
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    • Day 27

      Cambridge z grenkim priokusom

      August 10, 2022 in England ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      So napisali; Cambridge is bike friendly town, pa sva res parkirala ca 5km iz centra in z bajki v mesto! Kolesarske steze so! Univerzitetno mesto sva si predstavljala kot sprehod po zelenicah med mogočnimi stavbami collegov, naletela pa na posušeno travo (heat wave dela Angliji resne probleme), univerzitetne stavbe pa večinoma za verigami, mimo katerih te spustijo redkokje, pa še to, če plačaš vstopnino.
      Pa sva jo za uvod mahnila na reko, da probava "pooling". Čoln z v ravnim dnom potiskaš naprej s ca. 3m drogom 💪, enemu je šlo težje 🙈, eni pa lažje 🤣
      Potem čas za street lunch, preden greva v King's College. Itak da parkneva, prikleneva... Pojeva in ko se vrneva... Andrejevega bicikla ni! Gone! Stolen. V pol ure... Policajem izpred nosu 😭😡😈😱
      Sledi pogovor s policaji, pa izpolnjevanje formularjev... Jaz si vmes vseeno ogledam King's chapel.. Nora stvaritev! Strop kapele umetelno izklesan iz kamna, vitraži, dimenzije... Uau... Kaj več kot kapele nismo smeli obiskati...
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    • Day 23


      April 19, 2023 in England ⋅ ☁️ 55 °F

      I should've gone to college here, this place is neat and apparently the students of this university are very well set up during their time here. Their housing is even subsidized! The city itself is very picturesque.Read more

    • Day 4

      Cambridge, a dream for every student

      June 7, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      The famous university of Cambridge and its multiple colleges shape the city centre. Wherever you go, you find churches, huge memorial and assembly halls, libraries, dining halls and student dorms. Just sometimes you find shady tunnels that turn into a sauna in summer...
      If you want to spend a fortune, you can also take a boat ride throughout the city (it is called punting).
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    • Day 5

      Cambridge Colleges Walk

      July 15, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      Ausgiebige Sightseeingtour durchs College Quartier.. wir wissen jetzt: Es gibt unglaublich viele davon und sie sind fast Mauer an Mauer, eins eindrücklicher als das nächste… Wow! Zum Abschluss geniessen wir einen Afternoon Tea im Fitzbillies 😋😋😍😍Read more

    • Day 23

      Day 7 Cambridge

      May 8 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      We finally had our trip to Ely. It’s only about fifteen minutes away on the train, and is a pretty little town. It has an interesting history, having been an island, with marshes separating it from the sea. There was a thriving fishing industry, eels being the predominant catch, hence the name. Over the years numerous attempts were made to drain the marshes, and at times Dutch designers were employed. However, even windmills didn’t manage to keep the sea away permanently, until power was added in the 1860s. Now there is fertile farmland separating the town from the sea.

      There’s a huge cathedral which predominates the view as you approach the town, and which dates from 1081. We didn’t go inside, as we’ve seen quite a few churches, but it is certainly a beautiful building. In the grounds was a cannon that was captured from the Russians in the Crimean War. Queen Victoria gave it to Ely to honour their contribution in the conflict.

      The other place of interest is a house where Oliver Cromwell lived for ten years, after it was bequeathed to him by his uncle. This was before he led the movement to execute Charles I and became Lord Protector of England.

      Ely is built on the Great Ouse River. The riverside near the town has been developed to make a lovely parkland, and there are quite a few canal boats, some of which obviously have permanent residents. We also saw some school kids practising their rowing. As you can see it was a lovely day again weather wise,so we were able to enjoy our day to the full.

      Tomorrow to London.
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    • Day 22

      Day 6 Cambridge

      May 7 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Today we had a slower start, so we postponed our trip to Ely till tomorrow. We had tickets to go back to King’s College, which I mentioned earlier was the only one of the 31 colleges which is open. The rest are closed because it is exam time. This time we were able to take photos in the chapel, and also to walk around the grounds. Of course anyone who’s watched Lewis or Morse or other similar shows knows that at Oxford there are lots of “Keep off the Grass” signs, and of course Cambridge is no different. However, we could walk in the grounds that were between the buildings and the river. It was good to see the punts and canoeists from a different perspective, and there was not quite as much traffic on the river today.

      One thing we’ve been surprised about is how these huge buildings are fronting the narrow streets. Even if you aren’t looking for a particular college you suddenly come upon an amazing, imposing edifice, and you see that it’s one of the colleges which has been part of the University since the fourteenth century. Our last photo shows Trinity College, which was founded in 1546 by HenryVIII. There’s an apple tree growing in the front garden, reminding visitors that Sir Isaac Newton was a student there. Nobody pretends that it’s THE apple tree which helped him to discover the law of gravity, but it’s a fun reminder. Incidentally, over the years 32 Trinity men have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

      We also saw the Round Church. It was built around 1130. There is a really strong Christian presence in the city. Many of the university colleges were founded by different church organisations. Also many had the patronage of royalty. But not all are hundreds of years old. A number were founded in the nineteenth century and quite a few since the 1950s. The student population is 24,000 in a city of 140,000, and it has a really young feel, despite the age of so many of the buildings.

      So, tomorrow it’s Ely here we come.
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    • Day 13

      Last Day in Cambridge

      September 13, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      A really lovely day. It started with coffee on Mill Road over the bridge, followed by a quick walk down the opposite direction, to the laundrette to drop off two loads of washing. A good start, don't you think?

      The rest of the day ws given over to leisure. A quick conversation and we decied to head back over to the University district and to go to the Fitzwilliam Museum.

      The Fitzwilliam Museum is the lead partner of the spectacular collections of the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) and Botanic Garden.

      From antiquity to the present day, the Fitzwilliam houses a world-renowned collection of over half a million beautiful works of art, masterpiece paintings and historical artefacts.

      Here's the blurb from the Museum website about its origins.

      In 1816, the University of Cambridge acquired an extensive collection of artworks and objects as well as a library which had been left to them by Richard Fitzwilliam (1745–1816), the 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion. As a former student of Cambridge’s Trinity Hall College, Fitzwilliam believed that the University should have its own museum and made provisions in his will to donate his collection as well as an enormous sum of money, £100,000, to build an impressive new museum building to house it.

      The Fitzwilliam has an imposing frontage complete with massive columns and white stone. Two gigantic stone lions sit off to the side as if in guard of the precious repository inside. The foyer is resplendent in fine orante paintwork, a grand stiarcase that goes either side of the room, filled with statues and artworks. It is a VERY imposing entry, I must say.

      Chris and I started in the cafe. Behind the counter was Abraham, as gay and Spanish as you like, and he engaged us in cheerful banter while he made our coffees and fetched our white chocolate chip cookies, one of which was on him. He was fun, and I think he enjoyed talking to us too.

      After morning refreshments, we headed into ancient antiquities rooms to look at Egypt, Greece and Rome, Cyprus, and the Ancient Near East. Way too much to take in. There was a group of Year 4 school boys with their two handsome teachers dong a 'find your information' project as they scooted around the millennia old exhibits with their pads and folders. Walking in front of us, it was always, "excuse me". How polite.

      I loved these rooms, especially Greece and Rome. I've been reading a lot of Rome lately, and last year a lot of Greek mythology, so this room was especially poignant to me. Of some wonder and real appreciation were the two scultptures of Emperor Marcus Aurelius whose meditations I commenced before coming over here to the UK.

      There is an extensive Introduction by a Classical Scholar to the edtion I am reading and having ploughed my way through that fairly slowly so that I took it all in, I am now in the first third of the meditations themselves. So it was with a litle glee and some warmth to see the great man himself, looking for all the world like a handsome ginger, looking down upon me as I gazed at his visage, whose verisimilitude I understand is extremely close, taken as it was from image of the Emperor on coins of the time.

      Another bust of Julius Caesar is also said to be of his likeness. And of course, I couldnlt go past one of the greatest gay love stories in the ancient world, Antinous, the young lover of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE). His large bust is there in the Fitzwilliam looking very lifelike.

      Poor Antinous drowned in the Nile River while accompanying Hadrian to Egypt in 130 CE. After his death, Hadrian had Antinous declared a god. Being declared a deity in Rome after death was a huge deal, so for this to happen to a same-sex partner (not an official wife) would have set tongues awagging for a while.

      After the antiquities rooms, we headed for the gallery where masters from the 15th century all the way to the French impressionists and even modern day artists were exhibited. There were so many and it was an extraordinary collection. Degas, Pizzaro, Monet, Millet, Fra Lippo Lippi, and on. There were so many Virgin and Child and Christ's Crucifixion paintings from previous centuries, they all began to blur for me, but one.

      Luis de Morales c.1510/11 - c.1586 painted a Christ brought down from the cross called The Pieta with the Virgin, Mary Magdalene and St John. This is a sixteenth century painting but it looks modern somehow. Its imagery is powerful. Christ looking lifeless and powerless, the very moment Christian theology tells us that he defeated death itself. A cosmic irony. The anguish on the face of the onlookers.

      The Fitzwilliam is gem of a museum. By then, we had had enough. I coined a new term, museum legs. We both had them. Pained, wobbly, weak. Ready for a sit down. So sit down we did, in a local pub, downed a half pint, and because their kitchen was not open, left quickly for more eat-inger climes, an American diner no less in the mall where hamburgers and specially seasoned fries did the trick. Museum legs cured.

      We had already discussed that we wanted to go inside one of the University Colleges. But which one? There are 31 of them. Ultimately, we decided on Queens' College, actually founded by two queens, hence the positioning of the apostrophe.

      £5 each got us an entry through the medieval door and into the confines of its moastic-like cloisters and courts. Queens' College is around 600 years old. It doesn't look a day older than a 102 in my opinion and shapes up very well.

      It is stunningly beautiful. The courts (quads) are surrounded by lush and verdant gardens and these in turn are surounded by cloisters around which students, lecturers and Fellows walk to and from their rooms. It would be an easy place to lose yourself in learning. This could be full immersion in your domain if you wanted it to be. It is no wonder that Cambridge is one of the greatest universities in the world.

      A quick look through the dining room and we spent some time in the Chapel, smaller than King's Chapel that we saw yesterday, and more sombre looking, but just as beautiful in its own way and not at all oppressive. A young man was seated at the pipe organ above us clearly practising a number of very challenging pieces, so we were treated to having the Chapel to ourselves while we walked around its chamber listneing to the power of the organ and feeling the feel. You just could not do otherwise.

      Two really famous alumni of Queens' College are: Desiderius Erasmus (philosopher and theologican) and Stephen Fry (actor, writer). But the list is extensive. I couldn't help but wonder how, if my life had turned out differently, whether I would have enjoyed studying at Cambridge. Who am I kidding? I would have loved it!

      It's been a wonderful day soaking up the antiquities, the arts and the atmosphere. I count myself very lucky to be able to have these wonderful experiences.

      Tomorrow, it's off to Lincoln.
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    • Day 37

      Taking a punt on the gravity of Evensong

      June 2, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      We’ve become evensong junkies. Today we actually organised our afternoon around it so there’s really no denying it.

      After some more calls and messages home this morning, we packed up and emerged into a beautiful morning in York. It was a shame that we would spend the next few hours driving to Cambridge, but that’s just the luck of the draw.
      Arriving at our accommodation around 1.30pm, we filled in half an hour buying some groceries and lunch to return at 2.15 to activate the self checkin process which wasn’t available until then.
      We unpacked, recaffeinated and then caught the bus into the Cambridge university area.
      Once again, our downloaded audio guide allowed us to tour around the points of interest at our own pace.
      Observing the place where Francis Crick is memorialised for solving the mysteries of the DNA double helix and seeing where Sir Isaac Newton lived, worked and wrote his theses on mathematics and philosophy was especially interesting. The apple tree outside his window was not where he had the lightbulb moment about gravity- it was at a country estate. However, some of THAT apple tree has been grafted on to this tree outside his window.
      We continued following the audio guide, until it was time to head back to the Kings College Chapel for 5.30 evensong, which allowed us to see the majestic building and avoided having to pay for a tour tomorrow.
      The organ playing was a little disappointing this time, but the singing by the male Kings Choir - much of it a Cappella - was amazing, as indeed is the architecture of the famed ‘fan’ ceiling.
      As it was such a beautiful evening, we decided we should also do a punt ride on the river which runs through many of the colleges. We sat in the afternoon sun by the riverside and waited for our 6.45pm slot.
      The punting experience was excellent- a far cry from our river cruise last night.
      Our knowledgeable skipper (poler?) Ethan described all the relevant details of the colleges we passed such as where Steven Hawking lived and worked, the rooms where Prince Charles stayed when he studied here etc.

      We walked back to our bus station in the rapidly cooling evening, bought some groceries for dinner at the local supermarket, and got back in the door at 8.45pm. Loss is now cooking up a storm as I finish this…..
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Cambridge, Grantanbrycg, كامبريدج, Kembric, Горад Кембрыдж, Кеймбридж, ক্যামব্রিজ, Caergrawnt, Κέμπριτζ, Kembriĝo, کمبریج, Kiam-khiâu, קיימברידג', Քեմբրիջ, CBG, ケンブリッジ, კემბრიჯი, ಕೇಂಬ್ರಿಜ್, 케임브리지, Cantabrigia, Kembridžas, Kembridža, കേംബ്രിഡ്ജ്, केंब्रिज, ကိန်းဘရစ်ချ်မြို့, کیمبرج, Кембридж, Кембриџ, Кембриҷ, เคมบริดจ์, Kambrij, 劍橋

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