Monday, March 21, 2011

Cambridge Capers

Monday, 21 February, 2011
Cambridge, UK

After arriving back in London from The Netherlands on that dreaded overnight bus, I met the venerable Rish in St. Pancras, (from whence we had to walk to Kings' Cross anyway) to hop on the train to Cambridge. Home of the university, it's about an hour north-eastish of London, and mainly home to a billion uni students. The YHA was full, so unfortunately had to check into the most overpriced, crappy budget hotel ever - don't stay at the one right near the station...

But with bags dropped off (and depressingly before I managed to get in a shower) Rish and I wandered off to find Cambridge Uni. And, more especially, the Engineering, Physics, and Maths buildings so we could get embarrassingly excited in front of them.

As it turned out, the Physics and Maths buildings are waaaaaay on the other side of town, but Guess What we found just down the road?!

The Department of Engineering and a weird sculpture. We literally dodged traffic to get this shot right

There was an old phone box right on the corner, too. You'd think I ought to know by now that they all smell of hobo piss.

Our method of discovery was along the lines of 'Have we walked down this alleyway yet?', but it seemed to work well.

I surprised Rish inside (what I think is) King's College, and he responded by looking bewildered.

As we found our way down to The Backs, we got more and more lost, and spent a heap of the time backtracking. But it was cool, we found a bunch of interesting stuff... Lots of gates saying 'Do Not Enter' and random, colourful sprigs of snowdrops.

Also the River Cam snakes through the Backs down behind the colleges

Clare College also hides down there - old home of Sir David Attenborough

Out the front of Clare College is a huge DNA sculpture-thingy by Charles Jencks (2005)

We were bold enough and stupid enough to masquerade as someone's parents and attempt to attend Parents Day.. Turns out it had been the day before.

I'm not exactly sure why Confucius is hiding in Cambridge Uni

Punting on the Cam

After a few more wrong turns down strange alleyways, we found Trinity College - the old stamping ground of Isaac Newton, Lord Byron, Niels Bohr, Francis Bacon, James Clerk Maxwell, and (no kidding!) thirty-two Nobel prize winners

This is the only fountain in all of Cambridge, apparently. There is a legend that says Lord Byron once jumped in it stark-bullock naked

Shhh... Don't tell anyone, but we went PAST the sign that says you can't go past here. I guess we're pretty convincing students?

Trinity College Chapel is quite pretty...

...and it's got a statue of Sir Isaac Newton himself! We were just pondering some science-y stuff when we were rudely interrupted by opportunistic paparazzi

Staircase E is where Newton actually lived! We were definitely not supposed to be in here

After this, we found some old-fashioned markets and I bought a really underwhelming cheese and onion roll. You'd think they would've at least, like, cooked it? After a bit more wandering, we accidentally found the Cambridge University Publishing bookstore.
Two hours, four New Scientists, some fractals and a few crackpot mathematicians later, we realised we probably ought to stop reading.

We shopped around for a bit and bought matching Cambridge hoodies - to be honest, that's probably the only legit reason we were there. Eventually we meandered back to the craptastic hotel where we found this:

Although I s'pose it's not the real one.

At least the TV worked so we watched a scifi film I wish I remembered the name of, ate Nederlands brioche and drank Panadol flavoured lemsip. Wandered down to the pub for cider and some seriously inappropriate conversation, and made Rish miss his train, oops. He made it back to London before midnight though, thus ending an awesome day in an awesome town.

Next time: Bury St Edmunds and the second smallest pub in the world!



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