This morning the kids learnt about Australia on the TV show Go Jetters. It was then a tightly packed bus ride into Cambridge. The Koala was getting squished but the Gnome was enjoying the space up top.
Today was chilly with light sprinkles throughout the day, nothing too heavy. It was another day of following our noses to see what the UK would throw at us. We thought we would walk about the University of Cambridge Colleges. This proved difficult. It was not possible to walk along the River Cam and all the spectacular looking colleges were not open to visitors. We walked past Jesus College, The Round Church, St John’s College (Frederick Sanger) and Trinity College (Sir Isaac Newton), but frustratingly could not explore inside.
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two English ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions organised into six schools. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. The university does not have a main campus, and its colleges and central facilities are scattered throughout the city.
After disappointingly walking past, we eventually ended up at Newton’s Apple Tree. We walked past King’s College Chapel, Mathematical Bridge, Cambridge SU, Corpus Christi College, King’s College Chapel and Senate House.
On a warm evening in 1666, just after dinner, the soon to be famous Isaac Newton sat down beneath this tree outside of Trinity to mull over his thoughts, when all of a sudden he was struck on the top of his head by a large, red apple. ‘Eureka’, he cried, and Gravity was discovered. As entertaining as this tale is, Newton was not struck on the head by an apple and he was not underneath this tree. In fact, no such tree existed in Cambridge at the time. But in just half a century, this grand myth was woven by his admirers from its original simple story. This tree is a grafted descendant of the original one at the home of Sir Isaac Newton’s mother in Woolsthrope, Lincolnshire. On a visit to his mother’s garden during his Cambridge days in the late 1660s, he observed a green apple fall from a tree and only then began to consider the mechanism that drove what is now termed Gravity.
King’s College Chapel is the chapel of King’s College in the University of Cambridge. It is considered one of the finest examples of late Perpendicular Gothic English architecture and features the world’s largest fan vault. The Chapel was built in phases by a succession of kings of England from 1446 to 1515, a period which spanned the Wars of the Roses and three subsequent decades.
The Mathematical Bridge is the popular name of a wooden footbridge in the southwest of central Cambridge, United Kingdom. It bridges the River Cam about one hundred feet northwest of Silver Street Bridge and connects two parts of Queens’ College. Its official name is simply the Wooden Bridge. It is a Grade II listed building. The bridge was designed by William Etheridge, and built by James Essex in 1749. It has been rebuilt on two occasions, in 1866 and in 1905, but has kept the same overall design. Although it appears to be an arch, it is composed entirely of straight timbers built to an unusually sophisticated engineering design, hence the name.
We arrived at Great St Mary’s to recreate a shot of Grandpa Fensom from 1986. There was a large market behind us in Cambridge Market Square so this was the best we could manage. Finally, there was a building we could look inside. Sophie loved the stained glass windows.
Inside the market, there was a stall that caught our eye. It was called ‘Science of Magic’. We had to have a look for our flat earther, uncle Ben Kochy. We will have to show Kochy around Cambridge when he comes to visit.
As Cambridge was trickier to explore than we expected, we regrouped with a coffee and hot chocolate, to work out plan B.
Still not really sure what we could do, we walked along until we reached Trinity College again. By this time we were fed up with ‘no visitors’ signs. Eloise and “Dadda” thought what would Sir Isaac Newton do, and decided to
harmlessly trespass continue with the educational journey through the historic corridors until they reached the three famous courtyards.
Pushing on with confident faces a young gentleman asked us for directions, Elosie played it cool. There was a spanner in the works when we reached a ‘PRIVATE FELLOWS ONLY’ sign. Eloise had stopped picking her nose by this stage so Liam presented her with an honorary fellowship, allowing them to progress. They reached the Trinity Dining Hall, a perfect spot for tea and “biscs”. As neither of them had founded a branch of mathematics (although, Eloise does have an interesting way of counting) and with zero Nobel Prizes between them, their cover was compromised, they quickly exited stage left.
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII. Trinity is one of the oldest and largest colleges in Cambridge, with the largest financial endowment of any college at either Cambridge or Oxford. Trinity has some of the most distinctive architecture within Cambridge, with its Great Court reputed to be the largest enclosed courtyard in Europe. Members of Trinity have won 34 Nobel Prizes out of the 121 won by members of Cambridge University, the highest number of any college at either Oxford or Cambridge.
Cambridge was pushing the sweet merch just as hard as Oxford was. Although, Sophie decided she was team Oxford, so no merch today.
After an earlier recommendation from “Haz” and “Tm” about Cambridge punting, we figured it was the only way to see the sights. The weather just seemed to be holding off. After some helpful haggling tips from a local, we walked past the £145 punting offers, eventually settling for £35 for the four of us. Not before long, a punting wizard appeared. He was cool, calm, collected and had great control of the punt. He must have seen our Oxford punting masterclass.
We set off south down the River Cam. We passed Magdalene College Chapel and went under the Magdalene Bridge, St John’s College River Court, St John’s second and third court next to the Bridge of Sighs.
The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge, England is a covered bridge at St John’s College, Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college’s Third Court and New Court. The architect was Henry Hutchinson. It is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, although they have little architecturally in common beyond the fact that they are both covered. The bridge, a Grade I listed building, is one of Cambridge’s main tourist attractions and Queen Victoria is said to have loved it more than any other spot in the city.
We then went under St John’s College Kitchen Bridge and had a good view of St John’s College New Court across St John’s Meadow, Clare College (Sir David Attenborough), King’s College Chapel, Kings College (Alan Turing), Kings College Bridge and the Mathematical Bridge between Queens’ College campuses.
Although Hawking famously studied at Trinity Hall, the film, The Theory of Everything, substitutes the photogenically elaborate St John’s College, affectionately dubbed ‘the wedding cake’. It’s in the Tudor Second Court of St John’s College that Hawking loses his balance and falls heavily, leading to the diagnosis of the muscular wasting disease.
We then punted back up River Cam, past some novices. Good to see they had a “just in case” paddle at hand. Liam spoke with punting wizard Ben about his favourite punting techniques and got some advice on efficient running and pricking. Punting wizard Ben mentioned that you can punt all the way down the canal network to London, but it takes about two weeks. We might have to get the band back together, the positivity boat would probably get there in one week. During the summer season punting is so popular and there are that many punts operating it is difficult to even see the River Cam throughout this popular one mile stretch.
It was then time for lunch, today at Middletons. It went down a treat. By the time we left the weather had marginally improved so we walked past Christ’s College (Charles Darwin) through Christ’s Pieces to Primark (Sophie Fensom) where Lachlan scored a few new get-ups.
Eloise was so tired she missed the bus ride home again.
Quick dinner, bath and bed tonight. No funny business, well there is always some funny business with these two.