Cantebrigge! (aka Cambridge)


Yesterday we undertook an expedition up north to see Cambridge, the town famous for its “uni” and for its history. There is evidence of a farmstead in the area that dates back to 3,500 years ago. The Romans valued the area for the crossing of the river Cam, and for the strategic importance of Castle Hill.  During Medieval times, Cambridge flourished by trading with the Danes (sometimes called the vikings, although that is really a verb and not a noun).  William the Conqueror built the famous Round Church, which still stands today. The university was founded in 1209 by students who fled from Oxford (apparently the townsfolk didn’t like them peoples with learnin’). Cambridge University Press was founded in 1539, and the town grew quickly through the Renaissance. Apparently the University wanted to be well away from London proper (it’s about 50 miles into East Anglia) so that students wouldn’t be distracted by the city!

And now that you’ve learned more than you ever wanted to know about Cambridge, here are some snaps.

I made Alex buy this map at the station, but it ended up being useless. There are really good public maps posted through the town that are much better!

Like any good university town, there were bicycles EVERYWHERE! This is just one section of them near the station, there were at least 4 others! And there were bicycles along every single stretch of road. Some looked like they had been there for several years, and were abandoned.

There are 31 different colleges that make up Cambridge University. This is the main grounds of one that was open to the public. Its all marble and arches and mullioned glass. Talk about academic inspiration!

This is a cool architectural arch over a side street in the historic city centre.

This path and pond belongs to St. Emmanuel's College. (I think, it's easy to get them confused).

This is a new (and rather famous already) addition to Cambridge: the grasshopper clock. The grasshopper moves with every second -- he's supposed to represent the voraciousness with which we devour time. Or something.

Punting on the River Cam! It's true!

The Round Church was built around 1130, and was built to be similar to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (as described by returning Crusaders).

This is the chapel at Kings College. We didn't get to go inside, but we'll definitely do the tour when we go back!

Overall I have to say that we really enjoyed our afternoon in East Anglia. It’s so lovely to be able to travel around England and see the historic sights and popular tourist attractions easily and relatively cheaply. The train there was £28 return (which means both ways) for both of us — not a bad deal!

The only drawback to our day was the brutal cold. We walked quite a bit (more than 4 miles in all), and it was all that kept us from freezing our knickers off!  I think a nice leisurely walk in the spring or summer is called for. There are lots of museums in Cambridge also, which we’ve also put on our “next time” list.

The only other funny thing that I want to mention is that when you pull in on the train into the station at Camrbidge, the sign says “Welcome to Cambridge, home to Anglia Ruskin University”.   It’s the other university in the town, and must have quite an inferiority complex. I guess it’s like saying you went to school in New Haven, CT, but you really went to Southern Connecticut University and not Yale!

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Posted on 08/03/2010, in Exploring the UK and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amazing photos! Lots to explore! Have fun! Love, Valerie

  2. The last of These great photos Shows the chapel of St. John’s College, not King’s college.

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