A day trip to Cambridge


I never thought I will be disorganized as I grew up.

I went to Cambridge earlier after finding a train ticket which was on sale. I tried to make plans but run out of time so I found myself in a railway station, wondering what to do. I grabbed some guides, looked for way out, searched for bus stops but couldn’t figure out how to start.

I don't have plans in mind, I don't know what bus to take. I didn't know that I'll be this disorganized.
I don’t have plans in mind, I don’t know what bus to take. I didn’t know that I’ll be this disorganized.

I was waiting for a text from a friend who’s living in Cambridge. We met in a review center while I was reviewing for my IELTS and we became friends. Still without a reply, I told myself, “Damn Jay, you shouldn’t stay on this station the whole day.” Then my phone rang, at last a silver lining in this literally gloomy day.

Few minutes later, we met just outside the train station. We decided to walk, she loves walking and so do I. I save some pounds and I believe walking is the best way to feel the vibe of a city.

Back in London, I was on a rush this morning. After months in this lovely city I realized that the buses and the tubes in Docklands are not so frequent at dawn, even on weekdays. So I need to catch a bus to reach Liverpool Station on time or else I have no train to ride. I skipped breakfast. So our first task for today is to find an energy filled meal.

English Breakfast ($5)

It’s been months since I last had an English Breakfast, I like it because it’s packed in protein (CHON) which is good for muscle building and keeps you fueled for the rest of the day, unlike a typical Filipino breakfast which is full in carbohydrates. We chatted over breakfast and I never thought we have same experiences in some aspects of our lives. It was past 0900H, I kept on watching my watch to ensure I’ll have enough time to explore this town. I grabbed a map and another city guide I saw in the resto and left.

I’m supposed to work here last January but encountered delays on my paper, so I ended up in London. Thankful, I love London although I like the laid-back feel in Cambridge. Living for 5 years in a chaotic city like Manila makes me nauseous of urban life, but London is better- walkable, safe and people are polite (on a Filipino standards). I checked my supposed workplace, its equally lovely to the one that I currently have.

Clare College
Clare College

City Centre

After 20-minute walk we passed by a small but architecturally rich Catholic Church and reached St. Andrew’s Street in the City Centre where the city’s Police Station and Magistrate’s Court can be found. Wanting more, I asked if we can go to Fitzwilliam Museum. Surprisingly, my friend didn’t know the place. We opened our mobile apps and the map and find our way to this well recommended place by Lonely Planet. It was Sheila’s first time after living for 6 months here in Cambridge, I can’t imagine myself rejecting such tourist destination on my backyard.

Catholic Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs
Catholic Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs
ST. Andrew's Street
St. Andrew’s Street

Fitzwilliam Museum (Free admissions)

Architecturally, Fitzwilliam Museum is awesome. The main lobby is adorned by marble sculptures, an elegant staircase and an ornate dome which I guess quiet heavy for a roof. We started on the first floor and I allocated a maximum of 2 hours in this museum, I don’t want to spend my day in a single place. LOL

I felt my neck being twisted looking up the designs of the ceiling. I did not expect the builders and patrons of this museum to be so obsessed with ceilings. Countless domes, Greek sculptures and flawless symmetry covers this building from the sun and rain. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The museum’s treasures include paintings of Van Gogh, Monet and 2 Picasso paintings in the Contemporary Gallery- so far these two paintings is one of the best Picasso pieces that I’ve seen (I’ve seen Picasso’s Suite Vollard and his paintings in Tate Modern but not the Guernica). A number of sculptures associated with Rodin and Michelangelo is also present in their collection.

Those amazing pieces took more than an hour of me, we went on the lower ground rushing to keep our pace and schedule then a conservationist catch my attention, we talk about Egyptian mummies- how the 2300 year old wood was preserved and how the Egyptians produce colours from natural minerals. I just love nerds!

Scared that our next stop will close, we ended our visit at Fitzwilliam at the Egyptian exhibits. I will be back, I promise.

One of the most elaborate and sophisticated dome that I've seen so far.
One of the most elaborate and sophisticated dome that I’ve seen so far.
Another jaw dropping ceiling,  is that Medusa's head?
Another jaw dropping ceiling, is that Medusa’s head?
I love the ceilings!
I love the ceilings!
Elegant staircase at the main entrance of Fitzwilliam Museum
Elegant staircase at the main entrance of Fitzwilliam Museum
Rodin
Rodin
Hoping to achieve the visions  of Michelangelo
Hoping to achieve the visions of Michelangelo
Steroids of Whey CHON? Tantalus by Hendrik Goltzius, 16th Century
Steroids of Whey CHON? Tantalus by Hendrik Goltzius, 16th Century
Lovely muscles! I hope it's mine.
Lovely muscles! I hope it’s mine.
Large Clenched Hand by Rodin, 18th century
Large Clenched Hand by Rodin, 18th century
Monet, Monet and Van Vogh. Van Vogh is almost always yellow.
Monet, Monet and Van Vogh. Van Vogh is almost always yellow.
Not a shining armor
Not a shining armor

King’s College

Next stop- King’s College Chapel.

I was on a hurry because it’s already past 1400H, King’s College Chapel will be closing by 1530H. I want to make the most of my money just like others and as a fan of architecture I couldn’t miss this opportunity #YOLO. I’m a student, so for students bring your ID for we have discounts.

I really hadn’t had time to do some readings about King’s College Chapel- one thing I expect was the breathtaking fan-vaulted ceiling. Stunned, the chapel does not only symbolize beauty but also history.

The church was built at the time of the War of Roses, the war that inspired G.R.R. Martin to write Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, watched BBC’s White Queen and Showtime’s The Tudors, you should visit this chapel.

The chapel was initially built under Henry VI but he hasn’t seen its completion when he was executed at the Tower of London (I guess Henry VI was associated to Aerys II of House Targaryen in Game of Thrones). Works continued under Richard III of House of York but when he died in the last battle of the War of Roses at Bosworth (see BBC’s White Queen) construction was again halted until Henry VIII of House Tudor ascend the throne (I believe G.R.R. Martin’s Robert Baratheon was inspired by Henry VIII character).

The walls of the chapel were adorned by emblems of the English Houses. Notably, the number of Portcullis and Greyhound depicts the weight of Lady Margaret Beaufort’s (Philipa Gregory’s Red Queen) influence in the House Tudor. As I look at the walls, I saw the struggle of influence among personalities that existed in the War of Roses and the Tudor reign. It’s like a time capsule bringing me back 500 years ago to witness the history and power struggle that shaped this nation.

Enough about history, we decided to look for something to eat. After all, it already past 1500H and I’m starving and craving for some Asian dish.

Breathtaking fan-vaulted ceilings.
Breathtaking fan-vaulted ceilings.
This view is breathtaking, the largest fan-vaulted ceiling in the world. The English are serious with their ceilings. Sophistication at its best.
This view is breathtaking, the largest fan-vaulted ceiling in the world. The English are serious with their ceilings. Sophistication at its best.
The greyhound is associated with Lady Margaret Beaufort while the Dragon of Cadwallader symbolizes Wales where the Tudors came.
The greyhound is associated with Lady Margaret Beaufort while the Dragon of Cadwallader symbolizes Wales where the Tudors came.
Front Court at King's College, with the Gate House and Wilkins Building at the background.
Front Court at King’s College, with the Gate House and Wilkins Building at the background.

Punting by River Cam

After a quick meal, we decided to go punting. I can’t leave Cambridge without trying punting by River Cam. Tour operators are everywhere, on the net I saw discounted punting activities but it’s good I didn’t book one for we found a good bargain after a good haggle.

The crazy weather just cooperated, after a taste of sunlight we now have a cool wind blowing while we sat on a boat. That made me want to sleep, I’ve been walking the whole day and tired.

Punting is cool though, I managed to be awake. The sights are relaxing and our guide has a good sense of humour. I learned the story behind the Bridge of Sigh, the myth about the Mathematical Bridge (associated with Sir Isaac Newton), the school that Margaret of Anjou founded and the Titanic. I won’t tell, you should ask your guides.

Punting at River Cam
Punting at River Cam
It is believe that theoretically, even if your removed the bolts in this bridge, this will remain as it is...
It is believe that theoretically, even if your removed the bolts in this bridge, this will remain as it is…
In Venice, prisoners walk across the bridge before they are executed thus they have
In Venice, prisoners walk across the bridge before they are executed thus they have “The Bridge of Sigh.” Here in Cambridge, student walk on this bridge from their dormitory to their classroom before taking their exams. If you’ve been studying, you know what to do…
Geometry
Geometry
If you are a fan of Showtime's The Tudors, you should recognize this man on the streets of Cambridge
If you are a fan of Showtime’s The Tudors, you should recognize this man on the streets of Cambridge
Roses at Pembroke College
Roses at Pembroke College

Capping off my trip, I had a more relaxed walk dropping at Pembroke College and Peterhouse towards the train station where my day trip ends.

I’m happy and will be back in Cambridge…

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