Sunny Autumn Day in Cambridge, England

autumn afternoon in Cambridge

“This place is wretched enough – a villainous chaos of din and drunkenness, nothing but hazard and burgundy, hunting, mathematics and Newmarket, riot and racing.” – which was NOT said by me, rather by Lord Byron, who was admitted to Trinity in October 1805; though during my visit with an ex-Cambridge friend I did hear a lot of drunken stories and wretchedness.

It was a fantastic autumn Saturday, exactly 3 days ago. Cambridge was glowing golden under the sun. The Cam River was full of amateurish punters, knocking each other’s punt. We took the official walking tour to learn about the stories of the city and some of the greatest colleges: Trinity College, King’s College, Queen’s College, and few others.

King's College Chapel

King’s College Chapel, probably the single most impressive building in town. Look at that ceiling!

King's College Chapel

King’s College Chapel, built by Henry VI through VIII (VIII is the one that has 6 wives and beheaded 2 of them)

the 50 million pounds Rubens' Adoration of the Magi at the altar

The 50 million pounds Rubens’ Adoration of the Magi at the altar. Heating at the church is always ensured for the safety of the painting! – and not for the comfort of mere humans

King's College

King’s College and its perfectly trimmed grass. No grass can be stepped on in Cambridge. Get away from the grass!

Some colleges require visitors to pay to get in, but you can get in with a Cambridge alumni. Or if you’re confident enough you can pretend to be a student and barge in – which is what we did since we tagged along an ex-Cambridge. Crashing one college after the other; ignoring one “Private Only” board after another. It’s all about confidence people! – which unfortunately could only be acquired by knowing where everything is. So maybe don’t try it without an alumni next to you. (Though, what’s the worst that could happen really? They’d probably just walk you out of the college.)

Trinity College

Trinity College – the biggest and the richest college in Cambridge. Produces more than a third of Cambridge’s 88 Nobel Prize winners! Founded by Henry VIII (yes the wife killer)

Queen's College Chapel

Queen’s College Chapel – a more modest chapel compared to King’s but more suited as a College chapel

St John's College

St John’s College. Trinity College could be the richest, but St John’s College is the more posh (posher?) according to my trusted source.

St John's College

St John’s College. Trinity and St John’s College don’t like each other and they bicker like siblings, wanting to be the best of them all.

Bridge of Sighs - St John's College

Bridge of Sighs – St John’s College

Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton studied in Cambridge and came up with his gravity theory in Trinity College?

Isaac Newton's apple tree

Lo and behold, Isaac Newton’s apple tree!

Okay so it’s not the actual tree where Isaac Newton sat under and had an apple fall on his head. In fact, it was not at Trinity College that it happened, but at his home backyard about 100 miles from this spot (he spent 30 years at Trinity College studying and teaching). But for ages people have come around and asked for the tree. Where’s the apple tree? So at the end the College grew an apple tree just in front of Trinity College. But it’s not just ANY tree. It is the descendant of the apple tree from Newton’s garden. It’s all tested and stuff (possibly by DNA test – see below). Poor tree however because it stands at what is probably the worst spot to be an apple tree, so it stopped bearing apple ages ago. It is now a tradition for students to sometimes tie apples to the tree. (so cute – we didn’t see any apples that day though)

The Eagle Pub

The Eagle Pub – the oldest pub in town

Another landmark you should not miss is The Eagle Pub – a very historical pub, because it is where Francis Crick and James Watson had discovered “the secret of life” a.k.a. DNA in 1953! Well really they did their research at Corpus Christi College next door, but they did announce the findings here at the pub!

Also they serve possibly the best fish and chips I’ve ever had! Highly recommend you to pop by here when you visit Cambridge. When you do, also check out the bar where US Air Force pilots signed the ceiling while stationed here during World War II – sort of like death messages, knowing that there’s a good chance that they wouldn’t live long after that. Our guide told us that once he met a couple of Americans who came to the pub specially to see the message that their grandfather has left behind on that ceiling.

punting at River Cam

punting at River Cam

What a glorious autumn day! Cambridge just thrived under a sunny day and it was just the perfect day for us to visit.

Talking about University town, I have also visited Oxford just a bit over a month before. Why haven’t I talked about it? Oxford is a bigger city and I found it harder to sum up everything in one post! But worry not, I’ll make it a priority soon.

 

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