Friday, March 12, 2010

London Day 4-Cambridge

Day 4- The pictures may be a bit out of the order of our day. It was too much work to change them. I had to make sure I got this post done... because I like to do what I say I will do. Yesterday, I said there would be a new post today, so..........

We spent the whole day at Cambridge University on day 4 of our trip. It is one of the world's oldest universities. Cambridge comprises 31 Colleges and over 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions.

Just to be honest with you, I don't get that at all. How can a university have 31 colleges. 31 colleges that all function as their own property with their own income. I'm so confused. We climbed a tower to see the whole area and that didn't help me a bit. It all looked like one big town to me. So, I haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about it since I left. I just know a bunch of smart people attend there and when I was looking at colleges, I didn't apply. (Probably because I'd never even heard of it:-) (at the time of applying for colleges). For real.

I loved spending the day at Cambridge. Crazy that the place is 800 some years old. How cool is that? I think that's why I loved the whole experience. In the U.S. ( I LOVE my country) our oldest buildings can't be much more than 200 years old. It's just amazing to think that buildings can stand that long and that there is so much history there. And, they have done an amazing job of mixing old and new. For instance, they have a mall built in the midst of the old market area, but it works. It didn't feel like it was out of place at all.

The streets and walkways are so cool. Some looked like ceramic tile while others were brick and cobblestone.
I just wanted to remember the streets as I looked down and the roads. I constantly felt like I was on a movie set.

We spent some time walking around the open market in Cambridge. After some time there, we concluded they were trying to kill us.

I mean, seriously... acid drops! What does that even mean?

If the acid didn't kill us, the licorice CABLES would. Cables, yeah... pretty sure they could run some electricity through those cables... geesh!

The white building is Auntie's tea shop where we ate lunch. And, Paul was not one bit happy about it either. I'll get there.

Here we go... out of order.

On the way to Cambridge, we drove through New Castle which is home to millions and millions of dollars of thoroughbred horses. People were riding horses every where.

Our receipt from Auntie's Tea Shop. You probably can't read it, but they called us couverts. Couverts 6. What's up with that? I thought covert meant secret or hidden. I felt like we were some kind of secret agents or something.

Paul and Tom eating scones and putting on their "British" faces.

Paul's best British face... according to him. I thought he looked like a dork, but he didn't care.

One of our coverts, Rich, went out to take a picture of us. He thought they were really cool pictures because the cathedral that was outside the window, could be seen in the window's reflection.
By the way, Paul was mad we were eating there because all 6 of us were trying to squeeze around this little tiny round table. It really was ridiculous. He was squished up against the window and his legs were quickly falling asleep. We did finally get another small round table so it was much better. Paul had a panini and thought it was the best sandwich he had ever eaten. Big baby! Just kidding, no one else knew he was mad... but since I know him so well, as I should, I could read it all over him.
Loved the buildings and loved the cup I was holding in my hand. Yep, Starbucks! Mmmm!

Still got my Starbucks... or was that my 2nd one of the day? Hmm... doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I look like I am about 100 years old. What the heck!!?? I think I was worn out! Whirlwind trip! I lost a night's sleep and then I was on Day #4 of walking for 12 hours per day... in the cold.... and the rain.

BUT, I must not have looked too bad because... oh yeah, here comes a story.:-)

About 4pm, I decided I needed a break from all the people I had been with the last 4 days. I very clearly stated (much to Paul's chagrin) that I wanted to go off by myself so I could run in and out of stores at my leisure. I finally had to pull the age card out, "I am almost 40 years old (OUCH... 38 years old) I think I can go off by myself for a bit!"

They let me go. Don't mess with a woman who has had little sleep, who is PMSing and who wants to shop! Seriously!

I made my way down down the road and as I was about to cross the street, I noticed 2 African American men who looked like they were doing some sort of job on the corner of this crazy busy college community. One said something to me and then the other held out his hand to shake mine. I was in motion to offer my hand when I decided against it. Something just didn't feel right, so I ignored him and kept on walking. He yelled at me and told me he would wait for me. I walked into the store, NEXT, looked around for probably 5 minutes and then walked out the doors.

As I walked out and turned to head down the street, I heard, "I told you I would wait for you." Same man... now following me. I kept walking glancing behind me as I went. It wasn't long until he was gone. Sheww!

I then proceeded to run in and out of stores. I was specifically looking for a pair of boots. I finally found a pair I loved... and guess how much they cost? 327 POUNDS!!! That's approximately $572. Since that was about the amount of my plane ticket, I decided that purchasing those boots would be an unwise decision.

Then I was depressed. I went into an Apple store. Read my email, sent an email and then I decided I could at least afford a decaf Americano from Starbucks. So I headed back to the exact spot where I had bolted from the rest of my travel companions.

As I was approaching Starbucks, I saw the 3 guys I was with (including Paul) hiding their faces so I would not notice them. They were not about to mess with me after my rant about needing to shop by myself. I told them I was getting coffee and they told me they'd be back to get me soon.

I got my coffee and sat outside to drink it. That's the interesting thing about England. It's a weird cold there and it's rainy, but people still hang outside.

As I was enjoying my drink, a very "Cambridge" looking young man approached me. He was wearing a long navy coat complete with a stripped scarf, presumably from his college. He had round, wire-rimmed glasses on and he was holding an umbrella. I knew he was approaching me, so I began talking to myself, "Oh great! Here we go! This guy is probably going to give me some kind of religious talk and I am really not in the mood. I already love Jesus! He should be able to tell by looking at me."

As he got closer, this is what I heard him say, "Are you an unhappy girl?"

To myself, "I knew it. He thinks I am not happy and he's going to let me know he has the answer."

My actual reply was, "No, I am not an unhappy girl. I am tired; I have been walking a lot."

He gave me a bit on an interesting look and then he said some other things. I can not for the life of me recall what in the world he said because I had no context for the information he was spouting. It was as if I should already know exactly what he was saying. After a few seconds, probably because of the confused stare I was giving this young man, he said, " Are you not Abby from Mexico?"


Seriously, aside from my dark hair, there's not a hint of Mexican in me.

Poor fellow, red faced and all, apologized and excused himself. He turned around and ran right into a girl. They said a few words and then he turned back around to me and pointing to her he said, "Abby. From Mexico."

Abby too looked like she belonged in Cambridge. A far cry from the 38 year old with the mom jeans. (KIDDING!!! I do not wear mom jeans!)

But, seriously, do these things happen to anyone else.

I did walk around the rest of the night with a bit more confidence. After all, a smart young Cambridge man thought I was his blind date. I must have not looked 100 years old after all.

(For the record, I think his first question to me was: "Are you Abby girl?" NOT "Are you an unhappy girl?")

SO... since my day in pictures is way out of whack... let's go back to lunchtime. After lunch at the Tea Shop, we walked across the street to a cathedral. In the cathedral, we paid a small fee to climb their tower so we could get a bird's eye view of this old university.
There was a wire gate surrounding the platform right in the way of all my pictures. I took a lot of pictures, like the one above.... until I noticed all the rectangles, (more than one... lots more than one) cut in the wire so that people could take pictures. I would have never got into any one of those 31 Cambridge colleges. Dang it!!
There's a view of the Open Market. Somewhere down there someone could be buying acid drops.
Look at the buildings... they are so beautiful! And, old!
I'm so glad he looks like a dork standing there.
And, there's dorky me. With my Starbucks.
Kings College

Entrance to another college... I just forget which one.
The detail on these buildings was just crazy!

"I'll take one of everything!"

Paul made us go to a service in that cathedral at Kings College. He wanted to hear the King's College Men's Choir. When it was over, he said something like, "Wasn't that powerful?" The 5 of us looked at each other like, "Were we all just in the same place? Cause having shards of glass in our eyeballs would have been equally as painful?"

Glad he enjoyed it. 3 minutes of it and I would have been good to go for the rest of my life. 45 minutes.... I'll refrain from further comments.

The tower we climbed.

Jesus Lane... see the teeny sign on the wall?
After that enlightening service, Paul said, "We're going to go to a pub that's a little less established for dinner. This pub has only been around since the 1500's." Haha!

I opted for the fish and chips... one more time... along with the mushy peas, which I did not touch. When my meal came, Paul said, "Is that fish or is that a WHALE?"

Still makes me crack up!

Us... at the less "established" pub.
An explanation of their unique ceiling... uh, which you can't really see. It had a bunch of writing on it.

So, don't you people have any comments anymore? I tell you all these embarrassing things... I take you all on my trip to England and I get nothing in return?


Stacey said...

i'll make a comment....i love you, and you still flipping crack me up :) brightens up my day!

Jenney said...

I'm always up for a comment...when my blog actually tells me your blog updated...which doesn't EVER happen on time. Oh well.
Thanks for the tour of London/England/Great Britian...whatever. Ok, I think London is the city and England/Great Britian are the choices of country names? I'd love to go there someday when I find out the true name of it. Something tells me they don't let people in countries that don't know their names.
Oh, and you NEED a new blog header picture. I know this one is different...but it is still Christmassy! Think spring :o)

Tony and Rett said...

Um, blog more often and you'll get more comments sister!

There, how's that for a comment. I typed it in my very best British accent, just so you know!

LOVE the pics! keep 'em coming!

Mama 2 Ladybug said...

I always enjoy reading your blog. And I would LOVE to go to England some day, and see London and all the sights you saw. I'm one of those people that likes watching the Brit Sits (British sitcoms) on PBS on Saturday night...and Masterpiece Theater Classics like Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Oliver Twist, etc... Maybe I've got an obsession with all that is English :) Anyway thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and great stories about your trip!!