Saturday, October 15, 2011


The day after St. Paul's saw us boarding a coach and shipping to Cambridge.  First thing we did on arrival was get lost.  Okay, we were supposed to go to one punting push-off and ended up at the wrong one.

Having hiked across Cambridge to the proper place, we got on our punts.  They're square-bottomed gondolas and the puntier (I mean, it is a gondolier, so it makes sense) stands on the back and pushes with a pole.  Our puntier was David (there are so many Davids in the world, although I may be prejudiced towards one; namely my dad) who was a history major from a different university and punting as a summer job.  As such, he was well prepared to tell us the history of various places.  For example, the Bridge of Sighs (see?  We were in Venice!), or rather, one of the four.  The original one in Venice was copied in Cambridge, Oxford, and...guess where!  Las Vegas!  (Go figure.)  Or the chapel in Kings College, which was built slowly as construction was interrupted by lack of money due to the War of the Roses.  It was also amusing to hear him tell us "This is the new part of the university.  It was built in [don't know precise year but it was early 1800s]."  Yeaaah...our school wasn't founded yet...  Not the newest buildings, I'll grant, but I guess it was the newest college.  The first woman's college was in Cambridge, also--one of the rich nobility folks decided she wanted an education and since that generally wasn't done, she bought one.  Bought a college, had personal professors, all that good stuff.  Of course, with a student body of 18,396 and a student-faculty ratio of 6:1 with no more than 15 people per class, it wasn't so extraordinarily different from modern Cambridge.  The punting tour was wonderful (although I felt kind of bad for David when all the BYU girls in two boats started asking him about his dating life, including why he hadn't proposed yet...poor guy) and I think having a university on a river is kind of an excellent idea.

From there we went to the Fitzwilliam art museum.  It was a smaller museum than we've been going to but it was still quite nice.  They had a lot of pottery, some glass, Italian and Dutch Ren galleries, and...I may have spent most of my time in the armory... But they had swords and armor and swords and all sorts of cool stuff!  And swords.  Apparently, there were a few centuries where the making of artificial limbs was relegated to blacksmiths and other armor makers because they'd had the experience with reticulated limb-shaped pieces of metal.  The example in the museum had an arm with a button on the palm area which, when pushed, closed the fingers around whatever was in the hand.  Oh, also, some people got kicked out/not let in because the museum staff was shocked at the number of people coming in and decided they weren't letting the group in anymore--the curates apparently got peeved on learning this, but we now caution people about going places in large groups so people don't "pull a Cambridge" on us.

After that, we were released to wander.  I did my group-hopping number, following one group until I couldn't/didn't want to/they started spending money (I was in one of my NOT SPENDING ANYTHING days that day--rather, I'd brought 10 pounds and used it for a cd of the Kings College Choir because we didn't get to hear their Evensong and besides I wanted a cd of theirs) so I wandered around Kings College, down the street for a while, helped a lady (Lili from New York) unload her books, that kind of stuff.  Also, there's a store there that sells ice cream that they make there--I've heard good things about the flavor and got a sample of the blood orange sorbet that was pretty much amazing.

That's about that; again, ask questions and more information will be dispensed.  But no one asks questions, so I don't know why I say this.

1 comment:

  1. We don't ask questions because you explain everything!