Punts on the River Cam
Street view of Kings' College
Part of St. John's College
River view of Trinity CollegeYesterday I went to Cambridge with the International School. Cambridge is really the ultimate college city in that it has 31 colleges and some 18,000 students. The University of Cambridge is actually made up of all the independent colleges in Cambridge instead of one massive university. Very interesting concept for someone who is used to campus-colleges. I think every block we walked had at least one building devoted to higher education on it. The first thing we did was go on a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was this batty little old English lady. She was very amusing and knew a lot about the city. She was just a little....odd as well and pretty anti-Oxford (although I guess there's a pretty stiff rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford). She definitely took my tour into the plainly marked "no visitors" section of Trinity College. We weren't complaining but it was a little different than the 'by the book' tours we're used to getting. As we toured the colleges we saw probably half a dozen plaques commemorating breakthrough scientific discoveries. It's easy to forget that all of those discoveries actually had to take place at a place before they could go in a textbook. It was still a little weird to stand next to buildings where J.J. Thompson, Isaac Newton, and some many others worked and sculpted modern science. Cambridge University has some 83 Nobel prizes associated with it; 31 of which are from Trinity College. After the tour, some of the other girls from the September program and myself went to get some lunch. We went to a little cafe with a lunch special to grab something warm to eat. I ordered a chicken and mayo sandwich and the homemade soup. The soup was very good and the sandwich was infinitely better when dunked in the soup. The description said char-grilled chicken so I thought the chicken would at least be hot. No such luck. I'm still adjusting to some of these sandwich ideas.
After lunch we wandered around a couple markets and the University of Cambridge shop. The outdoor markets we wandered through were pretty cool. The first one had a lot of clothes and food and the second one was all handmade crafts. There was one vendor in the craft market who made jewelry out of recycled metal such as spoons, forks, and coins. He was using a coping saw to make new pieces while sitting at his booth. It was very cool.
One of the last things we did in Cambridge was go punting. A punt is a long flat boat that is very close to the water. The punter uses a long pole, gondola-style, to propel and steer the boat. We went of the River Cam and got to see The Backs or the backs of several of the more famous colleges in Cambridge. The Backs are also supposed to be some of the betters views in the city. There are also several moderately famous bridges associated with the colleges that cross the River Cam, so we got to see those too. The sun was just starting to set when we went on our punting tour so we had a beautiful autumn dusk as the backdrop for many of our photos. I've really been lucky as very as weather goes in my travels, and have the pictures to prove. I hope it keeps up. *knocks on wood* After the tour, we had to make a pit stop at Caffe Nero, Tim Horton-esque chain, before going back to the bus to get something to fight off the chill we picked up from being on the water. This trip was really impressive, not because to the arichtecture, or cultural, or food, but because of all the scientific discoveries, which have directly affected my education, that happened in buildings right off the streets we walked on.