The day started with a historical science based walking tour. We learned that the college is where the students live and the university is where they are taught and laboratories held. Cambridge now has 31 colleges that are a part of the University of Cambridge and Cambridge has been the fuel behind 32 Nobel Peace Prizes. The tour started with interesting information on Darwin, the well know biologist and author of The Origin of Species; 1) science was only a hobby and he went to Christ’s College to become a priest, 2) he was the third choice for a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. Christ’s College has tributes to him that we will visit later. We then saw the Cavendish Laboratory which is the home to the Department of Physics, known for where the parts of the atom were discovered, Rutherford’s work on nuclear fission, strangely the invention of the web cam, but most importantly where Waston and Crick did their work on the structure of DNA in 1953. We then went back to where they announced their discovery, after a long day of work and in need of a beer, at the Eagle Pub where they ate 6 days a week.
From there we went to the beautiful and most prestigious King’s College, where it is pretty much a sin to walk on their perfect grass (they are not in a drought.) The college was founded by King Henry VI in 1441 and was gradually expanded to include the land beyond the River Cam which is now Clare College and the University Library. The King’s College Chapel was completed in 1544 and was divided into several periods of construction. The stained glass windows were paid for by the King himself and depict controversial pictures such as the Snake in Adam and Eve’s story being shown as another woman. A dark oak screen separates the choir with a large organ and is decorated with initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boelyn. At the East end of the church, is a very large painting called ‘the Adoration of the Magi,’ a simply beautiful piece that put a finishing touch on the church.
In the town center of Cambridge, there is the Corpus Clock that belongs to the Corpus Christi College. It represents the Big Bang as the pure gold spirals swirl from the center into chaos with monster on top of it eating time. I posted a picture of it because it is pretty unique.
We proceeded to pass by our Clare College that was founded by Elizabeth de Clare, whose family coat of arms is now the logo of the school. Next, was Gonville and Caius College that was where the ever famous and brilliant Stephen Hawking studied. Finally, the tour concluded at Trinity College, the school of Isaac Newton. A descendant of the apple tree, who inspired him about gravity, stands outside the college. However, apples don’t grow too well in Cambridge and it only produced two apples last year; I did manage to see a green apple hanging off of this one.
The tour dispersed and we settled down on the Cam banks to enjoy our sandwiches and giggle at the newbie punters; however, we would soon be the ones getting laughed at trying to punt. We sat at the perfect spot where people who visit can punt themselves rather than on a tour and the river soon became a game of bumper boats. Dads tried to maneuver the boats like pros for their family, but to no prevail. A lady managed to hit a man on the dock with the pole, knocking out his tooth. The poor guy didn’t even want to punt anymore, as the lady quickly punted down the river. I saw him later, sitting under a tree, with ice on his face. :(
After lunch we walked down the Cam River and found a beautiful park where we got a frosty with a chocolate “flake” (a piece of flaky chocolate.) It could not have been a prettier day while we sat on the lawn talking and admiring England’s flat stone barbeques that everyone seemed to be using. I vowed to use one of these low, ground level hot stones one day, just too look like less of a tourist. Our day concluded with cider and fish n’ chips at The Eagle. I ended the day early to get ready for the first day of class at Clare College.
Bye for now,