Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From Cambridge with love

For our Explorer Day outing to Cambridge, we met Simon near Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station, but we actually took the Muggle 90 minute non-stop train from platform 9. This tour consisted of a 1 hour bus tour round the Backs and to the famous American Cemetery, two two hour walking tours around the center of town, an hour for lunch in between, and a little bit of free time for shopping, drinking, or punting before a quick bus ride back to the Brit Rail terminal.

After touring the Backs by bus and seeing the Science Park and location of the new Cavendish Laboratory, we finished at the famous American Cemetery, where amongst others Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. and Alton "Glenn" Miller are memorialized on the marble wall.

The bus dropped us off for our morning walking tour, which started with a panoramic view from the Tor that once housed Cambridge Castle. That's the multiple spires of King's College famous Chapel in the right middleground.We walked down the hill by Magdalene College (pronounced "Maudlin" just to confuse you), crossed over the River Cam, considered punting from Tyrell's, and then headed on into the main part of town.

Here Simon regales us over his semi-functional loudspeaker system about St. John's College, one of two founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry VII.

Then it was on to Trinity College, the largest and wealthiest of Cambridge's colleges, home of Sir Isaac Newton and also the famous courtyard race depicted in Chariots of Fire (but not shot on location).

Then down a little side street and around a corner to one of the glories of Cambridge, the King's College Chapel, perhaps the greatest Gothic edifice in the UK (well York Minster might have something to say about that). Still this impressive place of worship is world famous for its Christmas Eve Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The roof is 200,000 tonnes of stone without any internal supports giving a huge airy feeling to the interior.

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