Monday, February 18, 2013

A Day in Cambridge

Guess what? Only one more post about England after this one! I wish I had spent as much time in England as it's taken me to blog about England. :)

This was our best day weather-wise. Although it was cold (hey, we're used to cold~we live in New England), the sky was bright and sunny and beautiful. We headed out to Cambridge for the day to see where Keaton lives and goes to school. 

I've told you that Keaton is completing a 1-year Master's Degree at Cambridge University. Think Hogwarts (the British school of magic in the Harry Potter series) and its four "houses" or schools (Griffindor,  Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff). Cambridge University is set up a bit like that, though without the wizards and witches, at least as far I know. It comprises 31 colleges, the oldest of which began in 1284. These 31 colleges specialize in different areas and are situated around the center of the city. Each college provides its own housing. Keaton is in Churchill College. Here are some interesting facts about it:


Churchill College, which received its Royal Charter in 1960, is the national and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston Churchill. It is the embodiment of his vision of how higher education can benefit society in the modern age. Like the thirty other colleges in Cambridge University, it is committed to outstanding academic achievement; more than twenty of its members have won the Nobel Prize. While it focuses especially on science, engineering and technology, its teaching and research also reflect the intense interest in the arts and humanities of Sir Winston himself, whose own Nobel Prize was for literature. And it builds bridges from academe to business and the professions.

Open, friendly, progressive and outward-looking, Churchill also builds bridges to the wider community. It pioneered the entry of women to all-male colleges. It seeks and welcomes able students who might not otherwise aspire to come to Cambridge. It gives bursaries to those in need. And it draws a rich variety of scholars from abroad, some through Overseas Fellowships and others through schemes such as the Winston Churchill Scholarships, which enable outstanding graduate students from the USA to study in Cambridge. In short, Churchill College provides a most attractive and inspiring environment, as its founder wished, for new generations keen to learn and to meet the challenges of the future.

Churchill occupies one of the largest sites of any Cambridge college, over forty acres close to the University's expanding science, engineering and mathematics departments. Playing fields adjoin the spacious lawns and quiet courts of the College, whose buildings, faithful to the traditional collegiate pattern, were the first major work of modern architecture in the University — deemed by Pevsner "the best of the new". Churchill has generous facilities for social, cultural and recreational life — a vital part of the educational experience. Among these are a splendid theatre, a superb music centre, elegant halls and galleries, a fitness suite, and tennis and squash courts. Other amenities include the Sheppard and Wolfson Flats for family accommodation and the Møller Centre, which provides first-class residential and conference facilities for academic and business leaders from around the globe. (http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/)

This is Keaton's house. I think he shares it with 20 other men.
   
This is the uber cool Math building.
It's a 20-minute walk from Keaton's house to the center of town. What a charming walk it is!
There are actually quite a few sundials in Cambridge. I cannot remember which one this is, but it's awesome nonetheless.
We were bummed that we couldn't tour any of the churches (there are quite a few). Not sure why they were closed, but they were. These are photos of Great St. Mary's Church. Also known as St. Mary the Great, this church dates back to at least 1200, with the present structures built sometime during the 15th century. Supposedly you can enjoy a spectacular view of Cambridge from the top of the tower. Maybe we'll get a chance see it when we return for Keaton's graduation.
King's College Chapel
I don't remember the precise scoop on most of these photos but they are all part of Cambridge University. Do not fret: I managed to get some branch and steeple photos, ha ha. So here you go:
Keaton tried to convince Emma that this is a pesto pond. She didn't buy it.
She did, however, love her hot chocolate when we detoured into a small cafe.
When we arrived back in London, we found this in the train station.
Yup, it's the platform for the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies. Cool, huh?

Ok, one more post about England and it happens to be one of our trip's highlights: Windsor Castle.

Happy President's Day!

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