Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day Trip: Cambridge

Hey there...haven't felt much like writing but I figured I'm starting to fall behind in my blogging, so here I am.
On Friday I signed up for a quick day trip to Cambridge with a bunch of other study abroad students and I hung out with the Argentinians all day: they've quickly become my favorites. (I try not to hang out with other Americans, as all the Americans I have seen at Essex are the stereotypical, "Like...Oh. My. God. They want me to eat Fish and Chips? Are they serious? That's so gross. British people are so stupid" Americans. When one asked if I was American today all optimistically, I told her I was Canadian. Eh.)

But yes....Cambridge with the Argentinians was a blast. It rained all day and was a whole new kind of wet cold which made us very uncomfortable and wish we were better equiped for a British day by being....I don't know....a penguin. But we did some really cool stuff. We went on a tour of King's college (which is NOT a University) I'm not entirely sure how the system works between the colleges and universities in the UK, but I can tell you it's very different from the US system. Not worse, not better, just different. We toured King's Cross cathedral, which was beautiful. Unfortunately, there was no flash photography allowed and the only decent pictures I got were of the stained glass. So here they are!
Turns out the stained glass is some of the only original stained glass in a church in England...period. During the Protestant reformation, the Protestants smashed all the stained glass because it was seen as idolatry. Since King Henry the 8th (not the one with all the wives) had JUST finished the church that was started by Henry the 6th (which it turns out is a whole other blood line and a hundred years earlier, thanks to the War of the Roses) and nobody wanted to piss off Henry the 8th, the glass stayed. It was ordered to be taken down during another war (I can't remember which) and since soldiers were using the church as stables and dormatories (it splits in two with a large wooden gate designed for Anne Bolyn....very scandalous) the windows were kept in to keep the soldiers warm. There was actually graffiti left from the soldiers that was never removed showing scratchings and drawings of soldiers on horses. Anyhoo, the soldiers were supposed to destroy the glass as they were leaving but they never got around to it.
During World War 2, the stained glass was taken down bit by bit so that it wasn't blown down, and it took three years to put it all back in, finishing in 1950.

They also talked on the tour about how Cambridge was the second oldest University in the UK, and it was started after Oxford locals began killing Oxford students (my Midieval History prof that looked like Mad-Eye Moody called this the Townies vs. the Gownies) and the King ordered that they shut down Oxford until the conflicts had settled. So the teachers crossed over the Cam Bridge (eh- get it?) and started Cambridge University. For the next 600 years, there were only Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the UK.
We also went to a pub while we were there (there's historical significance- I promise!) called the Eagle. This is where the discovery of DNA was first announced oddly, proving that if it's going to happen in England, it's going to happen with a pint in a pub. They had delicious pies of all sorts, including a vegetable pie which excited me to no end.

Here are a couple more pictures including my new favorite Argentinians, Ricardo (taller one) and Agus. Serenella was taking the pictures.
This picture is the view from the Cam Bridge... it's really very beautiful. I'd like to take another trip there on a slightly warmer and less wet day. Plus I really want another bright green Cambridge hoodie. The one I got is a whole new kind of awesome.
Knitting Content:
The second Picadilly Circus sock is coming along at normal sock pace and it looks exactly like the first one, so no new pictures. Reader Janet was right about the new Trafaglar Squares project being Posey from Knitty, but since my last knitting-related post, Posey has been torn apart (way too big for my itty bitty feet) and had turned into the first square of a Mitered Square blanket, making J.B. right. You'll both be getting terribly British prizes over Christmas break!
Keep the comments coming! I love them!


jaclynbailey said...

Yay! I assume JB is me... (for the record, if it is.... I dont mind you using my whole name!)

Looks like you are having a great time so far. I agree with your choice to not hang out with the other Americans. If you wanted to hang out with a bunch of Americans all day you could have just stayed here in the states to go to school! I am so jealous of all the fun you are having! Please keep those pictures coming!

Anonymous said...

Loved the history lesson.. You do write well. Also a nice tribute to Toffee.. I sure miss her.
Love you and have fun..

ShereeHedrick said...

Looks as though you are having a GREAT time and some awesome pictures! Aunt Sheree is impressed!

dave said...

Enjoyed the tour of Cambridge. Great shots of the glass. Keep the English histroy lessons coming!