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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Discovering Cambridge's Charms and Secrets by Punting

Before coming to the United Kingdom, I threw all my expectations and plans up in the air. If there was one thing I was certain about, it was the predictably unpredictable British weather. Its daftness has the power to make me unusually lazy. Photography can also be a bit of a challenge.

For those of you who don't know, I've been going around UK for almost 2 weeks now (More than a month in Schengen states though). It's not exactly the cheapest place for a vacation for any Filipino but that's the price you pay for experiencing life in UK. Paying in pounds can be a pain. So far, I've seen most of London and Cardiff but Ill be writing about them separately. Bath was also a lovely place to visit. This post, however, will solely be about Cambridge, a famous university town in United Kingdom. Im fairly sure most of you have heard about the prestigious University of Cambridge. If not, OUR question for you would naturally be: Where have you been hiding all this time?

I figured Cambridge might be an interesting place to blog about. Aside from the University of Cambridge, you ask: What else is there in Cambridge? When we went there, we found out that the best way to see and learn about Cambridge's history is by leisurely punting along the river Cam. Yes, punting. This town has a unique waterscape that can be best enjoyed riding Cambridge's most famous form of transportation.

A punt is basically Cambridge's own version of a gondola.  It is a flat bottomed wooden boat with no keel and it is propelled by the chauffeur by means of a long pole. During the Edwardian times, these punts served as pleasure crafts.

Booking this tour will be easy as you can find most of the "punting" agents near the river or in King's college.

Cambridge has a couple of beautiful bridges with popular myths about them. 
I love these vines that change colors every season. They add life to the buildings.
Behind us is the Bridge of Sighs, which is said to be based on the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. This is the only covered bridge on the River Cam. People also claim that its name originates from sounds of sighs from students crossing the bridge as soon as they have finished their exams. 'Sigh'. I remember those days.

Our 21-year old chauffeur who seemed to be doing an excellent job maneuvering the punt. We were the only ones paying attention to the history lesson. The other tourists were too cam-trigger happy.
(My apologies) I have forgotten which college this is. Ill have to research again. FYI, Prince Charles got into Trinity College because the Queen gave a generous donation. It was said that the bodyguard would study with Prince Charles during his college years here. Here's the twist: They took the same exam and the bodyguard even got a higher mark.

The famous King's College. It was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. The Chapel is the most popular landmark in Cambridge. It has the world's largest fan vault and the painting "The Adoration of Magi" by Rubens.

GT on the King's College Bridge. This was built during the 15th century. 
Mathematical bridge, the only wooden bridge on the river Cam. The first design was built in 1749. Myth says that Sir Isaac Newton designed the bridge but Newton's student, William Etheridge was the actual designer. 
Don't you just love silent rivers? 

After 40 minutes of punting, you can discover more of Cambridge on foot. 
Most students here in UK ride bicycles and you will find them everywhere in most university towns!
Students can get more creative. They stack them on top of each other!
Christ College, another constituent college of the University of Cambridge.

All these courtyards are divine. I can imagine myself waking up to this when I retire.
A 3D map of the City. You'll find a couple of these scattered in the city. 

King's College  Chapel (Again. Front side) shows the best of English Gothic architecture.

Who doesn't like markets? The Cambridge Market is open 6 days a week.

If you are looking for some art, drop by the Fitzwilliam Museum to see some works from Renoir, Matisse, Monet, Cezannae and Degas. Best thing about this place (like most museums here in UK), admission is free!
For some tasty vegetarian food, try the Rainbow Cafe.  It is a winner of Vegetarian society's "Best Vegetarian Cafe Award". It has a small sign across King's college. You enter it through a narrow street.

Cambridge is absolutely splendid for a day trip here in the United Kingdom. Its charm, history and youthful atmosphere will make you wish that you can go back to college so you can actually study here. Can we still turn back time, please?

And if you are lucky enough, you might see this guy singing while he is inside a trash bin. People do crazy things to earn these days. Genius though.

Till my next post! (About Bath, England).


Anonymous said...

i suggest a change in the title, maybe like "cambridge by punt"?? -B

but otherwise a very nice post, as usual. :p

deobaraanmd said...

hehe I know. I was too lazy to think of a good title.

Gladys | ByahengBarok.com said...

love the photos. wish i could turn back time and attend college there... wish!

deobaraanmd said...

Hi Gladys!I wish I could too. Beautiful place.

Jane said...

ka inggit naman! hehehe :)

deobaraanmd said...

hi jane! :) wait for my other posts.

Anonymous said...

I just visited Cambridge and I think the one you forgot was St John's. I sure had fun as much as you had too :) i will post photos soon.

deobaraanmd said...

I think I have a picture of that. Just forgot to take note of it. Thanks. Who is this, btw?