Posts Tagged ‘bridge’

Touring Cambridge

King\'s College, Cambridge
King’s College from the River Cam

Yesterday, Evan’s parents and I took the train out to Cambridge. It was only about 45 minutes away from London on the express train, which made for an easy trip, and we took a taxi into town since it was a bit of a walk from the train station.

The first thing we did was take a walking tour offered by the visitor’s center. Our guide, who knew a ton of trivia — much of it likely town lore — showed us around town, took us to a few of the colleges, including Trinity, where we got a nice glimpse of the courtyard, and King’s, where we got a tour of the immense chapel, which is strangely devoid of much religious iconography in favor of having kings’ and queens’ crests, symbols and initials around. It also had some very old graffiti from the English Civil War, which was interesting.

The tour ran a bit long — the guide sure liked to chat! And afterward we took a bit of a break for lunch.

Punting on the River Cam
Punting on the River Cam

After lunch we were on our own. We walked down to the River Cam and hired a friendly punter to take us on a river tour, which was relaxing and a lot of fun. He knew a lot about the city, answered lots of our questions and did a good job of maneuvering around the less experienced punters. We also helped two people get their poles back.

Inexperienced punters
Inexperienced punters who resorted to dragging their boat from the riverbank

And remember the Bridge of Sighs from Oxford that went over the road? Cambridge has another version, though it’s not quite as ornate, doesn’t have glass and actually goes over the river. I’m guessing that it’s a just a common bridge name at this point because though tour guides like to claim they’re replicas of the one in Venice, neither looks anything like it.

Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge
Another Bridge of Sighs — though this time over the river

Unfortunately, we were visiting during exam time and most of the colleges were closed to visitors, so we didn’t get to really spend any time exploring them. We spent a bit more time walking around town, but it was after 5 and most attractions seemed to be shutting down, so we walked to the train station and headed back to London.

See more photos on Flickr.

More London Lights: View from the Golden Jubilee Bridge

We took a different bridge across the Thames home — the Golden Jubilee Bridge — which turned out to be a spectacular choice. Check out the view:

London

Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey

Parliament and Big Ben

ParliamentParliament

¬†We headed over to Parliament, just down the street from Horse Guards Parade, and stopped to take some photos. The building is very ominous and ornate — the kind of thing that makes it unsurprising that Harry Potter came from a Brit’s mind. And it couldn’t be more different from anything you’d ever find in Washington, DC. Big Ben and the Sovereign’s entrance — the other big tower — are the most impressive parts.

Westminster Abbey, which is just across the street, closes pretty early on Saturdays, so we weren’t able to go in, but the outside is a bit confusing. It’s so crowded with architectural supports, additions and multicolored stone bricks that it’s hard to see it as a cohesive building. I imagine I’ll be much more impressed when I get to go inside. We didn’t get any great phots of it, so that’ll have to wait.

After walking down the street side of Parliament we crossed the river and checked it out from its more iconic angle, which was quite nice (see the big photo above). And we braved the crowds of tourists at County Hall on the other side of the Thames and spent some time in The Dali Experience, which was an interesting exhibit, though it seemed a bit underfunded despite its relatively high entry cost and large museum store. The art itself, though, was expectedly surreal and bizarre and sparked lots of questions. There was also a small and less impressive Picasso exhibit in the basement of the museum.

Friday at Borough Market

Friday I went to Borough Market to have some coffee with a new London friend I met on Twitter. It’s finally good to start meeting some people in this city and it was great to explore a new neighborhood.

Borough Market was lots of fun — lots of food, flowers and people — and there are lots of interesting sights nearby that I’ll have to go back to see again, including a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s pirate ship and a nice old church. The market is also right by London Bridge, which is probably the least remarkable bridge in the whole city, but apparently it’s the first site where there was a bridge across the Thames. It also has a view of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is on the list of things to see — especially after Laura told me how scary going up to the top can be!

Friday was just a start to a fun weekend of sightseeing, so lots more posts and pictures to come.