So glad to see you again. I know I've kept you waiting lately...and I'm sorry. There's really no excuse. But it's not like I've been sitting on my butt watching you-tube videos...oh look a Green Lantern trailer...
...Okay maybe a little bit of procrastination has taken place...
So this outing will be a summary of two trips I made recently. During the week I am left to travel on my own since my lovely host Jessica must nanny her sister-in-law's children 5 days a week. Tyler and Johnathan. Nice kids. I don't like kids. But they're pretty cool. A little loud. But cool.
So since the village of Sutton, in which I have planted my home base, is a mere half hour from Cambridge, I thought it a crime to miss this chance to explore one of the original "college towns."
The weather had been beautiful for the past week. No English rain. No wind. I was really beginning to think my 15 sweaters and poncho should have stayed in Washington. This day made up for it.
Waiting for the bus to take me from Sutton to Cambridge left me pretty damn drenched. Brian didn't plan it out too well either because his sleeping patterns led him to missing the two o'clock bus and having to wait around for an hour until the next one.
So when I finally arrived in this fairly awesome town at around 3:45 I had just a bit of the day left to do my soggy adventuring. It was still raining when I arrived, though the rain did not diminish the excitement I felt wandering these medieval streets.
This was a day of wandering. Wandering because I hadn't thought to do any planning(like a map) for this trip. It work out quite swell though. Nothing like getting lost in a foreign land to familiarize yourself with the landscape. Or get mugged.
Started off exploring the market streets. Lots of cool little antique stores, some fresh produce, and countless student-employed coffee shops. The young gent from whom I procured my caffeinated beverage told me he was working on finishing his third degree. I asked him what he wanted to do. He had no idea, just liked going to school. Fantastic.
The city feels close. You have a few open streets but many that I spent time on felt more like alleys with motor traffic.
|You just missed the semi that drove through here. Had a whole centimeter to spare.|
|Look at the bloody ceilings man!!! It's like a late Gothic spaceship!!!|
Walking outside I swore, then slapped my face for swearing in the archway of a church. The rain was still coming down, and all the extra time I had spent gawking was less time I could spend looking at the other colleges. Most were, unfortunately, shut to through traffic. Though when I put my hood up and acted like I knew where I was going, I was able to check out some pretty scholarly courtyards.
|No sign can hold me!! I shall pass!!|
Really cool construction styling here. I was getting many dirty looks from people in black robes, so I chose to avoid the slythern house and routed to the street. Since I wasn't getting into any more schools, I set myself on exploring the city proper. Saw some cool stuff. Like the Fitzwillian museum, like a shorter, slightly snobbier little brother to the British museum. Many cool old relics held here. No pictures allowed.
So Seven P.M. was rolling around and I was considering taking a bus out of here, when I stumbled across my last chance to tour all the colleges I had missed. By boat. Win.
|It's called punting. Like what I do to small yappy dogs.|
By the time we finished the tour the rain had stopped and the first sunlight we got all day shone forth in a glorious sunset. A nice way to finish off an interesting day. If I had more time, I'd love to further explore this city, but I'm glad I got to see the buildings that made it famous. On my own private boat, I might add.
A day after my moist Cambridge quest, I caught a bus and rode the ten minutes from Sutton to Ely. Ely is a small market town whose minimal fame is due to a couple things. Oliver Cromwell's house(which I didn't have time to see damnit!!) and Ely cathedral. Which is incredible.
alace of public worship was originally built by St. Etheldreda, a queen who turned abbess and then saint not too long after. I visited her first church in London a few blogs back. Her husband was of Egfrith, heir to the Kingdom of Bernicia(not a happy marriage) but eventually she got consent to be come a nun. Soon after she established a monastery where the Cathedral now stands.
It was originally built in the 11th century and has a violent past. The central Norman tower collapsed in the 14th century and one hundred years later it lost it's west transept. This leaves it looking a little lopsided, but gives it a unique shape.
I joined a small tour to learn more. We started on the floor, looked at some tombs and got our basics down. Then we started to climb. Now if you've met me you've probably heard me say how much I loathe heights. Or rather edges. If I'm in a glass bubble I'm fine. It's just when falling becomes a possibility that I get nervous.
So yeah. We climbed onto the roof.
Our journey was completed in stages. First we went up a spiral stair leading to a door about two feet high. It led us outside on the first level of the cathedral roof.
The stone railing was sturdy but I did feel the need to scuffle quickly to the next midget door regardless. The view was quite good, though the nausea took away from it a bit.
The next stair took us up into the support structure of the ceiling. We were over 100 feet above the floor at this point. This space was quite cool; I totally felt like Quasimodo in there. The wind buffeted against the walls outside and I could hear the giant tree trunks holding the ceiling together shift in their settings.
But in there I was fine. No edges. Until I opened a panel in the ceiling and looked down.
But we weren't done yet. Up the stairs again and we were on top of the tower. This made the whole jaunt worth it. Highest point for miles and miles. I could even see Sutton from up there.
|Look it's Cambridge!!! And it's Dry!! Dern it all!!|
Hope you've enjoyed this non-traditional blog. Next I venture southwest, into the Forest of Dean. The dense, mystical wood is used as a location for countless films and was even the place that inspired Tolkien to write about walking trees and the like. After that comes Scotland!! Which is the only place I've visited so far that I could actually live in long term. It's that cool.